Spooks, scares and some truly inexplicable costume decisions were the trend of the night.
Last night, the long-awaited SM Halloween Party, finally took place. With the theme SM Halloween House, the event was less of a party than a major company photoshoot: we are, after all, still amid the pandemic, and even if South Korea has gotten the situation slightly under control (with a slower vaccine rollout to reflect that), SM Entertainment as always is conscious of the optics.
As a result, there were fewer people than expected (some are working, some are on military service, some just don’t like Halloween), but the resulting photos were still great (even if we don’t have moments like Sadness from Inside Out falling to the floor). This is, after all, known as the Met Gala of K-Pop. The parade of costumes varied from amazingly scary, creative, to “Mark Lee, what are you doing.”
Here’s a selection of costumes grouped by theme.
As usual, NCT Dream’s Chenle brought his A-game with this look from the 2018 horror movie, The Nun. Dressed as Valak, Chenle was truly scary. When he was planning his look, he shared that his mom was shocked, and asked him to “wear something pretty” instead. WayV’s Yangyang said when he saw Chenle’s look; he was “scared to death.”
For his first SM Halloween Party, NCT’s Shotaro came as Jigsaw, the main villain in the Saw franchise, most recently seen in 2017’s Jigsaw.
As expected, there were a lot of vampire costumes from the NCT 127 contingent. NCT 127 are method acting at this point. Leader Taeyong decided to go as everyone’s favorite horny, sparkly virginal vampire Edward Cullen, while Jungwoo continued on his grand tradition of dressing up as a beautiful girl: this time, he was the Bella Swan to Taeyong’s Edward. We can’t wait to see which girl he’ll be next year and which Neo gets to be his requisite male accessory.
Less creatively, fellow NCT 127 members Jaehyun and Haechan went as random vampires, because it really is quite easy for them at this point. They still looked very cute though! Even if Jaehyun is giving off hotel bellhop vibes, but maybe he works at Hotel Transylvania.
My costume prediction was that Squid Game costumes would be out in full force. The idols of SM Entertainment did not disappoint. NCT Dream’s Jaemin and Jeno arrived as the Square and Triangle guards respectively. In the show, the Square guards have the highest authority among the guards, while the Triangles occupy the middle rank.
Another first-time attendee is Aespa’s Winter, who went as Younghee, the giant doll in the show’s Red Light, Green Light game. The jury’s out as to whether or not anyone died from her steely gaze.
Super Junior’s Siwon went as Batman, which if you think about it, is a perfect pairing. Rich, good-looking, morally ambiguous…it fits Siwon to a tee. Just as well because a couple of Batman’s biggest villains turned up, but thankfully everyone avoided a brawl.
Representing the group who started this whole dressing up for Halloween thing in the first place, SHINee’s Onew was in top form as The Penguin.
The other Batman villain was ably represented by NCT’s Sungchan, dressed as The Joker. One of the viral tweets of the night from fans expressed no surprise at this, implying that Sungchan’s wait to be put into an official NCT subgroup turned him into The Joker.
Aespa’s Giselle went as Harley Quinn, accomplice to and occasional lover of The Joker. There are no pictures of Giselle and Sungchan, however, probably to avoid the angry keyboard smashing of fans. We could have had it all.
WayV’s Xiaojun went as Venom, everyone’s favorite sentient alien symbiote. Hilariously, Xiaojun could barely see anything, due to his eyes being covered. If you’re reading this article and wondering why a certain other Marvel superhero is not included…wait for it.
Pop Culture References
Yeri from Red Velvet was dressed as Shin Chae-kyeong from the beloved 2006 Korean Drama Princess Hours, which depicts the lives and loves of a modern Korean Royal family. Played by Yoon Eun-hye in the original, Chae-kyeong starts the show as an immature girl, forcibly engaged to Crown Prince Lee Shin (Ju Ji-hoon). In the end, they fall in love. As the only member of Red Velvet present, Yeri made sure to represent her group, and represent she did. The other Red Velvet girls were probably off practicing the occult.
Surprisingly, actual vampire NCT 127’s Doyoung did not dress up as a vampire (or a lovesick Swedish count in love with a doomed French queen). Instead, he went as One Piece character Shanks. Doyoung does not actually watch One Piece. This was performance art: he was portraying a viral Korean meme that shows that day of the vaccine is fellow member Mark Lee, the second day is Shanks. He almost wanted to turn up as Mark but common sense prevailed and he decided to go as Shanks instead. It is highly possible that dressing up as Mark would have been better than what actual Mark ended up looking like, but we’ll get to that later.
In the SM Entertainment Halloween parties that NCT Dream’s Renjun has been around for, he has dressed up as Smurfette, and then Peter Pan. In keeping with his aesthetically cute look, this time, he went as Pinocchio.
The Black Swan from Swan Lake (or more likely, the 2010 Natalie Portman movie) is always a great choice. Attending her first company Halloween party, Aespa’s Ningning‘s look was equal to 32 perfectly executed fouettés.
Off with their heads! Aespa’s Karina gets to keep hers, because she looked great as The Queen of Hearts.
Son, did you even try?
Ironically, this question really could be asked of NCT Dream’s Jisung: he dressed up as Tottenham Hotspurs’ and Team South Korea’s Son Heung-Min (Tottenham just lost 0-3 to Manchester United the day before the party, which had an intersection of K-Pop and football fans laughing). Jisung’s could have gone as Park Jisung, the first Korean player to ever play in the Premier League, being that they share the same name, but he says he didn’t think of the idea on time. Hilariously, his costume was the safest of the night so he had the responsibility of promoting SM’s charitable advocacy for foster care youth since you can’t promote a charity dressed as the Joker or Edward Cullen.
Now, nothing NCT 127/Dream/SuperM’s Mark can do can be called a disappointment, so instead of calling this choice a big disappointment, I’ll just say this is the funniest one. Fans have long noted that he could be Spiderman: he and Tom Holland share the same awkward charm, we’ve never seen them in the same room, and he’s able to juggle so many subgroups together, just like Peter Parker can juggle being a high school student and an Avenger.
It’s such a big fandom joke that even Mark and NCT 127 know about it, and that’s why he went as Spiderman. However, the costume leaves a lot to be desired: that tweet at the beginning about some costumes coming from the Party City clearance rack? That’s Mark’s costume. It’s Ill-fitting, it has inexplicable holes in the face, you can see the outline of his shorts, he’s wearing socks…Mark, please.