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Four Last-Minute Costume Hacks for Hikers

Posted by Loren Drummond at Oct 31, 2013 12:25 PM |
If you are still scrambling for a Halloween costume, we put together a few last-minute costume ideas from the gear you probably already have. Find out how to transform into a trailhead, a cocooned butterfly, Cheryl Strayed, or the dudes who mapped Everest and the Grand Canyon for Google.
Four Last-Minute Costume Hacks for Hikers

Krista Dooley, our Youth Programs Manager, modeled one costume idea before promptly getting stuck and needing a zipper assist out of her cocoon. Photo by Rebecca Lavigne.

Some people are planners. Others, not so much. This is just as true for hiking as it is for Halloween costumes.

If you are still scrambling for a Halloween costume, we put together a few last-minute costume hacks from gear you may just have sitting around. If our suggestions don't suit your costume fancy, perhaps they'll spark some inspiration.

Turn your sleeping bag into an oversized bug cocoon

All you need to really pull this off is something buggy on your head to look like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. You can use paper cutouts taped to your glasses or makeup to create big bug eyes. Use a bit of wire (or craft pipe cleaners) to create antenna.

Want to really sell the costume? Attach a stick to your pack or head, where your cocoon is "hanging" from.

A note of caution: field-testing this costume at Washington Trails HQ proved it might be the least practical option of the bunch. Two potential downsides: unless you have a bag that unzips on the bottom, you will do a lot of hopping around tonight. And unless you stay stationary, you will certainly wreck the bottom of your sleeping bag. Also, it's best for outdoors costume parties, where you won't roast inside your 10 degree bag.

Overstuff your pack to 'Monster' proportions and go as Cheryl Strayed

Do this costume now, before Reese Witherspoon steals your thunder.



Have a different hiking hero or heroine? Pick a hiker who has made history and run with it.

Be a trailhead

You can be your favorite trailhead or get creative with a new trail of your own.

What you need to look (at least a little) like a trailhead kiosk:

  • A piece of flat cardboard to hang around your neck.
  • An old map.
  • Some regulations. (Feel free to type these up yourself.)

Want to go all out?

  • Attach a second sheet of cardboard (sandwich board style) and share even more info for the Halloween hiking public (like what to do if you encounter Sasquatch or a Zombie on trail.)
  • Glue a shoe box to the cardboard, cut a hole in the top and make people file a permit before getting past you to the pumpkin juice. You can use a stack of post-its as your permits.
  • Download a photo of your favorite summit, print it in color, and roll it up into a conical hat for your head/summit.
  • Glue a lost car key or pair of sunglasses to your board.

Mailbox Peak trailhead sign
Mailbox Peak trailhead sign. Photo by omar090775

    Be a Google mapper

    The upside of this is that you can just wear your regular hiking clothes. The downside is you have to find something that looks like a blue ball attached to a green metal arm.

    • Step 1. Keep your pack empty, and attach a cardboard box to the outside. It should look like a radio from 1940. (See below.)
    • Step 2. The blue camera ball. Find something that looks like a big blue ball. Maybe your kid's globe or a soccer ball? If you'd rather hike ultralight, a blue balloon with black marker on it would be easier on your shoulders.
    • Step 3. Connect the blue ball to the pack with a green arm. This is the toughest bit, and a trekking pole would probably work in a pinch.

    Have your own hack? Tell us about it

    If you use your boots, poles, pack, compass, maps, tent or other hiking item for a Halloween costume, tell us about it. Or better yet, share a photo with us.


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