7 Halloween Costumes You Can Pack in Your Backpack

by Michelle Schusterman Oct 23, 2011
Heading out of town on October 31st? These creative costume ideas are easy to squeeze into a backpack (and aren’t necessarily “slutty”).
Busted eyeball

All you need to pack for this “eye-catching” (sorry) costume is a ping-pong ball attached to a bit of yarn and a bandage.

Paint the ball to look like an eye and dab a bit of glue on the back. Glue on several short pieces of red yarn, then braid the yarn, giving the appearance of an attached optic nerves. Tape the end of the braid into the inside of the bandage, wrap the bandage around your head so that one eye is covered with the fake eye dangling beneath, and voila. Gross.

Jelly beans

A bag of jelly beans, specifically. Here’s what you need to pack:

  • A large, clear plastic bag
  • A sack of colored balloons
  • A long ribbon
  • A few safety pins

Blow up all of the balloons, then cut holes in the bag for your arms and legs and step inside. Stuff the balloons in the bag through the opening at your neck, and pin the bag in place to the top of your shirt, allowing a bit of the edge of the bag to flare up around your neck. Tie the ribbon loosely around your neck below the flare and you’re done.

Body paint

Full body paint costumes take up very little space, although they’re more for adult parties, not so much for taking your nieces trick-or-treating. And all you’ll need to pack is a small liquid latex paint kit – although keep in mind if you’re flying that it won’t be allowed in your carry-on.

Depending on the elaborateness of the costume, you might be able to DIY, or ask a, um, friend, to help you out. For the less daring, wear something tight and in a solid color, then paint up your face, arms, and/or other exposed areas. A few body paint costume ideas:

Clark Kent turned Superman

Guys, it’s likely the only thing you’ll need to buy for this costume is a blue t-shirt with the Superman emblem and (if you don’t wear glasses) a pair of black frames. Gel back your hair, wear a nice pair of slacks and loafers, and tuck in a dress shirt with the buttons undone to your navel. Strike poses in which you’re ripping off your shirt, looking around surreptitiously.

The tourist

This one’s easy to pack since it likely includes a few items you’ll be bringing anyway. (Not to make fun of your wardrobe or anything.) A few key components to bring:

  • A straw hat or baseball cap
  • Hawaiian shirt
  • A fanny pack or money belt

Toss those on along with your khakis or cargo pants. Hang your SLR around your neck. If you’ve got a map, carry it; if you’ve got a tote bag, tote it. Wander around asking everyone where the McDonalds is.


Okay, maybe it’s a little too traditional (read: boring). But a couple rolls of white bandages, a few pins, and snug-fitting white or gray sweats are pretty easy to pack. Just dress, wrap yourself up, pin the bandages into place and you’re good to go. If you want to leave your face unwrapped, toss in a few small bottles of gray, black, and/or red face paint.

The severed hand

This one takes a little extra prep, but all you’ve got to pack is a stuffed glove. Instructables has a detailed set of instructions, but here’s the basic idea: cut the glove open, stuff it with a material like foam so that it appears filled (along with a few pieces of wire in the fingers so they stay wrapped around the arm stump).

Make the stump out of the cut-off end of a shampoo bottle dressed up in fabric shredded on the ends (to look like a torn sleeve). Glue cotton on the end and paint it red until it looks nice and gory, then glue the stump inside the glove with the fingers wrapped around and so that the gory end is sticking out, but ensuring the rip is still open.

Stick your hand in the glove all the way through the hole you cut, and keep your wrist at a right angle so that it looks like the glove is your hand and your actual hand is the severed hand. Wiggle your fingers when people lean closer to inspect what your holding.

No reason you can’t pack this in a carry-on, but it might freak some TSA agents out.

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