Six Outdoorsy and Outdoor-Related Halloween Costume Ideas

"All of your pumpkin seeds are belong to me!!!"
"What am I going to WEAR?!" This phrase escapes my lips more often with respect to Halloween than any dinner party, night out or other associated event in which appearances are important. My costume development process usually goes one of two ways: (1) I come up with an idea, execute it, realize it didn't turn out at all like I was hoping and spend the night stealing ideas from others for next year, vowing to do better, or (2) I troll the internet for creative ideas, only to end up doing something completely uncreative, but easy.

In an effort to take some of the stress out of Halloween, I've come up with a list of six outdoorsy and outdoor-related Halloween costume ideas. I'm hoping they'll inspire me and inspire you. They're all easy to execute, relatively cheap for those of us with a lot of outdoor gear and clothing lying around, and are at least partially creative.

(Update: if this list isn't enough for you, we have five more options here!)

Friend Colin who is, in fact,
an expert birder.
Expert Birder: With the release of The Big Year, it's obvious that birding is cool. Get out in front of the trend and turn yourself into a birder for Halloween. You'll need binoculars, a hat like this or this, a copy of one of Sibley's field guides or the like, and your normal hiking or backpacking outfit. Neutral colors are recommended. Some sort of backpack or satchel, even a vest with a lot of pockets, will complete the look. You'll also need a line or two in your repertoire of birds you've seen recently. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website is an amazing resource, especially if you're interested in birding.

Lost Hiker: Dress like you've just stumbled out of the woods after having lost your way, possibly encountered dangerous wildlife, possibly fallen down a lot, and possibly slept in the dirt for an extended period of time. All you need is a pair of ratty jeans or hiking pants, dirty hiking boots, a tattered shirt, possibly a belt made of rope or similar found materials, and a lot of dirt and/or fake blood. If you really want to take it to the next level, pick a specific lost hiker, even someone like Aron Ralston, to dress as. 

A Rock: Inspired by my wonderful younger brother, who unfortunately chose this costume at age 8 or 9 on the Halloween it poured rain in Ithaca, this one's sure to get some laughs. His costume, in his own words, involved "a sh*t load of gray fabric and newspaper." If you're adept at sewing, you can create a giant pillow of sorts with arm and leg holes out of fabric, add shoulder straps and fill it with newspaper. Wear tight black clothing under the rock suit. If you're less adept at sewing, using a heavy duty garbage bag as your rock suit could work as well. Complete the outfit with a matching gray beanie and pray for good weather.

Zombie Climber/Hiker/Mountaineer/etc.: Zombies are so in right now, it seems silly not to try and apply the zombie theme to an outdoorsy Halloween costume. Based on these guidelines, you'll need white cream makeup, some sort of black eyeliner or makeup, and fake blood to turn yourself into a zombie. Don ripped up clothes along with your climbing gear, hiking gear, mountaineering gear, etc. Come up with a zombie apocalypse storyline, and you're good to go.

My version of the
Forest Floor, complete
with headpiece.
The Forest Floor: If you're into arts and crafts, this is the costume for you. Take a look at some of your favorite fall foliage photos for inspiration. Head to the craft store and pick up a bunch of plastic leaves (real ones work, but they're a lot more fragile and need to be fresh), fake moss and a glue gun. Collect sticks and small pebbles, or find fake versions of the same. I used a black dress for my version of this costume, but a black or brown shirt would work for the men. Plug in the glue gun, turn on "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and get to gluing. Note the garment you're gluing everything to will be heavy, and will likely shrink a bit from the heat of the glue. Add a little glitter paint if you're feeling...glittery.

A Climbing Wall: This will be a challenge unless you have a climbing wall at home, work at a gym willing to loan out a few holds, or happen to have access to a bucket of holds. Dress in gray or neutral colors from head to toe. Buy sticky back velcro, attach one side to your clothing and the other to individual climbing holds, then velcro the holds to yourself. You'll likely be limited to small holds, (try the Metolius Greatest Chips set if you don't have a bunch at your fingertips), and not too many of them, but you should be able to get your point across. Carry a few draws and wipe chalk on your face for the full effect. (Idea courtesy of the brilliant Sarah Feidt.)

Now, go forth and create wonderful costumes! Have a better idea than any of these six? Share it in the comments! The more ideas, the better.


Gear Whores said…
Laurel and I went as a crack climb last year... stood arm to arm, leg to leg, and stitched cams in between. #win
Christine Perez said…
Love these!  Great ideas.  I like having a fun, economical costume.  Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday.  I mean, I dress up for races
nice! I was actually looking for silly costumes I could wear to Crossfit on Friday for our Halloween WOD, and a zombie looks like a great one! hope some of these help you.
You know, even better if you bring a copy of Day Hiking With Zombies with you while being a hiking zombie