Some Climate-Change-Inspired Halloween Costumes

Environmental destruction is scary—and makes for a really frightening costume

By Casey O'Brien

October 29, 2018


Photo courtesy of Sam Murphy

Wondering how to craft the cleverest, scariest costume at the Halloween party this year? Since we’re of the mind that there’s nothing scarier than environmental destruction, we gathered a few ideas for ways to give your costume some eco-flair. Because if there’s anything scarier than mummies and witches, it’s climate change.

1)  Climate Change Scientist

Put on a lab coat and grab copies of the IPCC study that came out a few weeks ago saying we are likely to see major crises from climate change as early as 2040 (or just write “IPCC Study” in big letters on a piece of recycled paper). Hand it to anyone who will take it. Give it to children (or their parents!) instead of candy. To get into character, say, “We’ve been trying to tell you this for years!”

2)  (Extreme) Weatherperson

You’ll need shorts and a T-shirt, a microphone, and a parka. Dress as a weatherperson trying to report on weather patterns made more extreme by climate change. Take your layers on and off throughout the night to adjust to “changing weather.”

3) Sea Level Rise

Dress yourself as a city skyline or a skyscraper, and then put on a life jacket. Craft wearable waves out of recycled cardboard. Voila—you’re a sinking city. Bonus points if you manage to dress like an at-risk city such as Miami or New York.

4) Wildfire

First, the bad news: Wildfire season is lengthening as global temperatures rise. The good news: It’s not too hard to dress as a wildfire. You’ll just need red and orange clothing and maybe some strips of fabric to fashion into flames.

5) Glider Truck Transformer

Use old pillow stuffing or grayish cotton to add a diesel exhaust cloud to a Transformers costume and call yourself Super Polluting Optimus Prime.

6) Natural Gas Pipeline

Wear an all-black costume and use white tape to mark the path of your “pipeline.” Parallel to the white, add some blue painter’s tape to represent the water supply you’re ready to threaten. Add some red fabric to mark areas of explosions. If anyone asks what you are, insist that you are a perfectly safe transitional fuel.

7) Public Lands “Ghost”

Wear a park ranger costume, then add spooky white-and-black face makeup. You’re the ghost of America’s public lands, which the Trump administration is assaulting relentlessly.

8) Clean Coal Miner

Of course, this costume is ironic. You will need clean overalls (white would be best) and a white hard hat with a bike light. Make yourself a “Clean Coal Company” name tag.

9) Plastic Ocean Pollution

Don a blue shirt and pants, then gather random plastic trash and tape it to your body. If you really want to scare people, get a toy turtle and put a straw in its nose. To enhance this ever-evolving costume, you can collect children’s discarded candy wrappers throughout the evening and add to your ensemble.