Over the years I’ve had my fair share of fun Halloween costumes. There’s something exhilarating about putting a lot of time into making a costume and having it turn out great. Plus the opportunity to step aside and take on a whole new persona for a few hours is so much fun.
If you wanna channel your travel vibes into a good Halloween costume, maybe these ideas will help inspire you.
Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s are likely familiar with Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Back in those days, we didn’t have fancy gaming systems and graphics were pretty basic. But it’s easy to recall the iconic symbol of Carmen Sandiego: a sleek-looking lady wearing a long red trench coat, a red hat with a black band, and black gloves. Basically she was a villain and a thief, and game users would enlist themselves as detectives to chase her all over the world. In the process, you’d get a handy history and geography lesson.
The costume is easy to put together, and you’ll likely be able to find most items in regular clothing stores. (And yes, I was Carmen Sandiego for Halloween a few years ago.)
Ah, Where’s Waldo? Chances are you already know a thing or two about the ever-elusive man dressed in red and wipe stripes. His goofy face peeking out behind his glasses and striped hat is as familiar as any beloved childhood character, so this one’s sure to be a hit no matter what.
Sure, Waldo might not exactly be the best world traveller out there. I mean, he’s forever getting lost in crowds, and he seems to migrate solely to over-crowded destinations so he can slip into them without ever actually having to interact with anyone, but he’s sure been to some beautiful places. I remember fawning over those intricate images. He’s good at inspiring wanderlust.
Although Christopher Columbus might be a controversial costume, dressing up as an early world explorer can be a lot of fun. If you’re anything like me and are fascinated by world history and period dress, this is the perfect costume.
Your best option here is to look up some renown world explorers, like Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, or Thomas Cook. Check out what they were wearing back in the day, and try to find various pieces at different shops. And yes, ladies, there have been many wonderful women explorers over the years. Nellie Bly is a great one, having travelled around the world in 72 days in 1889. There’s also Gertrude Bell, who travelled extensively throughout the Middle East in the early 1900s.
Speaking of women explorers, Amelia Earhart is likely the best known of them all. This pilot broke flying records before mysteriously disappearing. She was the first woman in the world to complete a Trans-Atlantic flight and then went missing after attempting a round-the-world trip. Nobody really knows what happened to her, but her legend lives on. Some people think she crashed into a deserted island and lived out the rest of her years there.
For this costume, simply find an old-fashioned pilot’s suit. Most people will know who you are immediately.
This could go either two ways: either you play up the hardcore long-distance hiking backpacker who’s trekked across Nepal, or the grungy hippie granola backpacker who’s been travelling around Southeast Asia for a year, barefoot. (Sometimes I fall into the latter category.)
Dressing as a backpacker is fairly easy to do. Hell, you’ll probably have all the essentials already anyway. Wear your most comfortable (preferably grungy) clothing and hitch a pack to your back, and then show up in style. Extra points if you carry a hitchhiker’s sign made from a piece of wet cardboard.
The best part about this costume is that you can load up your backpack with drinks. Win, win!
Here’s a cute idea: the travel bug takes on a literal meaning. “Bitten by the travel bug” is such a common expression, why not dress it up into something cute? Get creative with this one – however you want to do it is totally up to you. One suggestion is to pin photos or postcards all over your clothes, or make a dress out of a large map. Carry a globe under your arm. Then you can find some bug-like features: antennas, wings, etc.
Sure, people might not get this one straight away…but leaving them guessing is part of the fun.
This one might be my favourite – dress up as the stereotypical, obnoxious tourist we all love to hate. I’m even guilty of being one! You might as well embrace the tourist stigma and have a laugh at yourself in the process.
You can go the route of the vacationer, and show up at your Halloween party wearing a Hawaiian shirt, lei, and short shorts. Dab some sunscreen on your nose for a little something extra. Or take on the more modern-day approach: drape a massive camera around your neck, dress like a hipster, wear a fannypack, and above all…bring your selfie stick! You can’t forget the selfie stick. You can even run around taking photos of yourself with strangers. Or step in front of people admiring something and block their view entirely, taking photos as if nobody else is around.
I can’t be the only one who has looked at a flight attendant’s uniform and thought, gee, I’d love to wear that sometime! I love how every airline has a unique style and colour. Sometimes they’ll have quirky dresses with matching hats and ties, and other times they’ll have full-on traditional garb, as they do on Singapore Airlines with their beautiful colourful dresses.
Nothing is more recognizable than the PAN AM uniform, however. While you probably will have to purchase this outfit at a shop somewhere, the get-up is super cute and will be sure to turn some heads.
You’ve seen the image – tourists on safari in Africa, leaning out of a topless Jeep with binoculars pressed against their faces, trying to catch a glimpse of a lion or elephant or some other spectacular beast. What is with those hats anyway? This costume might be a little harder to find, because the general trend is to wear something that’s all khaki – maybe a button-down shirt with baggy cargo pants, for example. And of course, you gotta have the wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.
The beige colour is meant to provide camouflage while on safari. Bring a friend along to dress up as a lion for good measure.
Astronauts are hands down the greatest explorers, because they get to explore beyond this world. No matter how far we roam on this great and beautiful planet, most of us won’t ever get that stellar full earth shot from outer space. (I mean, how great would that be on Instagram?)
With a little bit of imagination, this costume shouldn’t actually be too hard to put together without having to go to a costume store. To start: a white painter’s suit would work really well, and you can make your own NASA badge. It’ll be a little bit of legwork on your behalf, but totally worth it. The space helmet may be more of a challenge, but you can also just grab a motorcycle helmet and paint it white.
Want to represent your home country? You can have a great deal of fun with flags, face paint, and good ‘ol patriotism. This one is especially useful if you’re on the road during Halloween festivities, and have little time (or resources) to put together a good costume.
If you want to make it REALLY easy, just find a country flag and drape yourself in it. You’ll also find it makes an excellent conversation starter.