Modern Family costume designers on 10 seasons of Halloween looks
A Modern Halloween
Halloween gives everyone an excuse to dress up, but for costume designers who dress people up for a living, the holiday is an annual chance to really show off some serious sartorial skills. Take a look back through Modern Family's best Halloween costumes, according to the show's head costume designers Alix Friedberg and Pamela Chilton.
Phil and Claire as a zombie bride and groom (season 2)
The first season of Modern Family didn't feature Halloween at the Dunphys, so costume designer Alix Friedberg said she loved the classically spooky getups in season 2, especially Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) as a zombie couple. "Those were pretty fantastic," Friedberg tells EW. "The combination of the two of them going for it. In later seasons, they start to split apart because Phil always wanted a happier Halloween and Claire wanted the scariest haunted house on the block. But this was when Phil was all in. It was great."
Haley as a "sexy" Mother Teresa (season 2)
Claire as Little Bo-Peep (season 4)
The next Halloween episode came in season 4. The episode begins with a flashback of Claire, who uses a seemingly mild '50s housewife costume to take another scare-tactic way too far, so she decides to play it cool as a nursery rhyme character. "It ended up as this very elaborate Bo-Peep costume," explains Freidberg. "I loved making this one. It was so perfect for Julie Bowen. She looked so sweet and angelic. It was the perfect storybook character for her to play." What could go wrong?
Claire as Little Bo-Peep: The Undead version (season 4)
By the end of the same episode in season 4, however, Clarie can't help but turn to the dark side. "We made two versions of the Bo-Peep costume: a zombie version and a clean version," says Freidberg. "It was fun to do both the cute side and the scary side of the same character."
Phil's "Awesomeland" rainbow tuxedo (season 6)
Friedberg's last season as the ABC comedy series' costume designer was season 6, and she says its Halloween episode was her all-time favorite. "Phil's 'Awesomeland' tuxedo began as a white tuxedo that we airbrushed rainbow, all the way from his shoes to his top hat," says Freidberg. "We tried to find a pre-made rainbow suit, we tried to find rainbow fabric, but with the limited time we had to pull it together, it made the most sense to dye it. The end result was really spectacular. It was really, really fun to do."
Manny as Dalton Trumbo (season 8)
Current costume designer Pamela Chilton's first Modern Family Halloween spectacular was in season 8, and her favorite costume was also the most complicated to execute: Manny (Rico Rodriguez) as historic screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. "Dalton Trumbo's famous thing is writing in his bathtub, so we built the bathtub for Manny to walk around in," explains Chilton. "We used clear cellophane paper for the water, and we had to get a typewriter that was vintage but hollow enough so it wouldn't be too heavy. Navigating such a crazy costume was so funny, to make and to watch."
Claire as Wonder Woman — and Phil as her pumpkin-boating partner (season 9)
While season 9 didn't have an episode entirely dedicated to Halloween, Chilton still had a chance to play dress-up with the cast last year. "Claire loves Halloween, but by season 9 the kids were getting older and didn't want to do it," says Chilton. "But she still dressed as Wonder Woman and got Phil to race in a pumpkin with her, and by the end even the kids want to celebrate. So it wasn't a Halloween episode, but it totally was."
Cam as Meghan Markle (season 10)
This year's Modern Family Halloween episode airs next Wednesday, Oct. 31, and the costumes are pretty extraordinary. Chilton says her favorite, though, has to be the topical Meghan Markle and Prince Harry duo for Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). "Eric as Meghan Markle was absolutely hilarious," says Chilton. "It wasn't even the wedding dress, but we did this very formal, off-the-shoulder look she'd worn in real life. We got her exact hat made and we got a perfect wig, and he looked pretty great. It was just so funny."
Mitch as Prince Harry (season 10)
Chilton also says the costume for Mitch's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) half of the pair was just as elaborate, and the final product was just as perfect. "Mitch is such a Harry look-alike!" says Chilton, referring to both men's red hair. "I thought that was so good."