Canadian Musicians' Cute and Creepy Halloween Costumes: Diner-saur, Scarface, La Llorona and More

Show & Tell

Breeze, Keys N Krates, Joey O'Neil and more artists reveal their looks for spooky season

Photo: Cud Eastbound

BY Alex HudsonPublished Oct 13, 2023

Musicians love to dress up, whether that means donning snazzy stage outfits or cosplaying as other artists for the recent tradition of Halloween covers nights.

With spooky season fully in swing — and with today being Friday the 13th of October, perhaps the scariest day of the entire calendar year — we asked some Canadian artists to show off their favourite Halloween costumes they've ever worn.

Artists responded with everything ranging from goofy pun-based gags to genuinely gory get-ups — and, naturally, one example of a contemporary artist dressing up as a favourite '80s musician. See all of the costumes below.

Josh Korody of Breeze as Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan

Photo: Jayme Kieth

Each year, the Death to T.O. concert at Lee's Palace brings together local musicians to perform covers sets in costume; last year, Toronto locals Breeze paid tribute to Depeche Mode, with leader Josh Korody appearing as frontman Dave Gahan. "Fall is my favourite season," Korody tells Exclaim! "I love Halloween more than most holidays and always try to dress up. My partner is super deep into horror and I join in a lot, but I also personally am a huge fan of Cronenberg and some of the big classics." Members of the band will once again be performing covers at this year's Death to T.O., with the label Sour Grapes to follow December 8.

dwi as a bear

Photo: Zachary Vague

Zolas bassist Dwight Abell's latest Britpop-esque album as dwi is titled Zoo Life — and, in keeping with the zoological theme, he sent along this photo of his truly haunting costume, which looks a bit like if Donnie Darko had a bear instead of a bunny. "I love fall," dwi says. "As nature around us struggles to stay alive and loses its fluorescent colours to the seasonal brown and orange pastels, we all start to fantasize about the one night we get to become something different. I become myself."

G.R. Gritt as a beekeeper

Photo courtesy of the artist

G.R. Gritt's new album Prisms comes out today — but, despite displaying this apparent affinity for Friday the 13th, there's nothing at all spooky about this extremely cute family costume, featuring Chesnut the dog and their beekeeper parents. "This is the first time we did a family costume and I love it," enthuses Gritt. "I'm not sure how much Chestnut liked being a part of the costume, but I think we might make this family costume a tradition."

Nora Kelly as La Llorona

Photo courtesy of the artist

We half expected Montreal country singer Nora Kelly to dress up as a clown, or maybe a cowboy, given that her band's new album is called Rodeo Clown. Instead, she donned a classic ghost costume: the Woman in White, a.k.a. La Llorona. "Halloween is my favourite holiday," she explains. "For me, the season starts when Dollarama stocks their Halloween products and continues up until Christmas. This picture was taken last year, a few hours before my roommates and I threw a massive, chaotic house party." Sounds like a fun party; I guess my invite got lost in the mail.

Matisse Francois of Keys N Krates as Scarface

Photo courtesy of the artist

For anyone who happens to be trick-or-treating in Toronto this year, be sure to hit up Matisse Francois's house. "I like to dress up and put Halloween lights and spooky music out front to greet the kids," he says. "I always make sure I get the best chocolate bars I can find, too. I'm a big kid when it comes to Halloween." For those who aren't trick-or-treating, he still has a treat for you: Keys N Krates' new album IN:TENSION, out November 3.

Rosina Kazi of LAL as a black velvet bolete

Photo: Joseph Quezal

That extremely cool-looking costume is LAL's Rosina Kazi as a black velvet bolete mushroom, and it looks every bit as SPECTACULAR as the name of the duo's new album. Kazi enigmatically explains, "I am delicate and rare, can be eaten, but am hard to find in the midst of a world that warns 'don't touch' because I am associated with 'dark beings and omens.' But like most things thought to be evil, I am just very private and I mind my own business, taking cues from the divine…"

Laurence-Anne as a pirate

Photo: Linda Charest

Ahoy there! That fearsome buccaneer is Quebec songwriter Laurence-Anne, along with her landlubber sister. Back when this photo was taken, she was a little young for a bottle of rum — but not too young to wield a fearsome cutlass against any scallywags who got between her and her treasure (a.k.a. candy). "I remember going trick-or-treating with my dad in his car," she tells Exclaim! "Since we lived a bit outside of town, we had to drive from house to house until we got to the more inhabited streets. I always felt I could collect more candies than the other kids because I would bring more than one bag to fill, the car carrying my tons of treats. I never missed a single house, had to knock on all doors. Good memories."

The sleek, synth-y arrangements of new album Oniromancie display a lot more restraint than those candy-plundering days of old. Arrr! 

NYSSA as a doll from hell

Photo: Claire White

Toronto synthpop artist NYSSA just released her very own Halloween anthem, the ominously howling "Werewolf" — and her affinity for spooky season goes all the way back to childhood, as shown by this photo from when she was around eight years old, when she and her friends wore matching "Doll from Hell" costumes. "Other parents complained that we had gone a little too far, but I don't think I ever felt cooler as a kid," she recalls. "Halloween is a threshold. The pagans and the kids celebrate the thinness of the veil that divides the world of the living and the dead, and that divides who we're supposed to be and who we want to be. It's about freedom. And maybe you're only really free if you honour what's come and gone before. And the spookier that honouring, the better."

Joey O'Neil as a diner-saur

Photo: Cud Eastbound

Yukon folksinger Joey O'Neil channels Phantom Vibes on her new album, featuring a single called "Ghost Me." But for her costume, she chose something a little punnier. She explains, "I must admit, I love a costume where people have to ask, 'What are you supposed to be?'"

When she came into possession of a Twin Peaks diner dress, she could have simply worn it as-is — but instead chose to add a new layer of confusing hilarity: "I fashioned a papier-mâché dinosaur head out of cardboard from my fire-starter bin and voilà: this diner-saur was hatched. Thank goodness I keep googly eyes around the cabin, just in case."

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