7 Halloween Costumes for Activists

The average American spends $72 on Halloween each year. That’s a lot of money for candy and outfits, but with the right amount of creativity, there’s still plenty of room for the socially conscious to make a political statement with their costumes. Here are seven of the best ideas I’ve seen:

1. Bag Monster

The average American uses 500 single-use plastic bags each year, a needlessly wasteful habit with a deep ecological impact. A Bag Monster is a creature comprised of 500 used bags to visually depict the environmental damage a single individual causes. The costume may not be pretty, but it’s definitely is a wakeup call to consumers who don’t give a second thought to accepting new bags each time they shop.

Learn more about the reusable bag movement and see more Bag Monster photos at BagMonster.com.


2. Wikileaks

BoingBoing found a couple of gentlemen acknowledging Wikileaks, government secrets and whistle blowing by dressing up as Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. It’s a good way to show respect for people who have faced major repercussions in an attempt to promote transparency.

This photo isn’t too recent, however, so credit to the next couple that updates the costume by paying respect to Manning’s transition to Chelsea.


3. Fracking

Fracking has ugly consequences, but this costume looks pretty good. Why not bring attention to a practice that destroys communities and water supplies? After all, there might be nothing more frightening than when a natural gas company comes knocking and offers to pay to frack near your property.


4. Global Warming

Rebeckah submitted this genius idea to Costume Works. Still wanting to dress up for Halloween while pregnant, she decided to turn her belly into the planet earth. Then Rebeckah included some social commentary to the idea by including a cotton ball ozone layer (complete with holes) and fiery hair to signify global warming. Her husband dressed as Al Gore for added measure!

5. Anti-Fur

The folks at PETA have built whole campaigns around sexy individuals dressed as animals and protesting the wearing of fur, as this photo from Denver Westword shows.

Of course, the costumes don’t have to be skimpy to make a point. Just about any animal costume accompanied by an anti-fur sign would do the trick.


6. Sexy Vagina

If you’d rather riff on the “sexy” and often sexist Halloween culture, check out the satirical costume line that occasional Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal introduced to Jon Stewart. Her big showpiece was a costume that is next logical progression in objectification: a sexy vagina.

Better yet, the same vagina costume can be used to advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights. In fact, you can go on eBay to bid for the actual costume featured on the show.


7. Oil Spill

It’s Halloween tradition to drench yourself in fake blood, but a real activist family will coat themselves in fake oil instead. Ghosts and goblins won’t scare people as much as the threat of another oil spill might.


JD She
JD She4 years ago


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

GGmaSheila D.
Sheila D5 years ago

When my boys were growing up we never spent one penny on costumes, everything came from home or relatives. We made it all ourselves from both boys' ideas, or mine. Candy was the only expense on Halloween.

Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman5 years ago

Simon S. wrote
"... Good news:
The Ozone's been healing since we changed from CFC's to HFC's - a rare example of scientists pointing out a problem and industry changing its practices and SOLVING it. That shows it CAN be done, chaps."

I wonder if the relatively fast action on the ozone hole is due to the fact that its presence hurts light skinned, blue eyed, people far more than it hurts people of color.

Arild Warud
Arild Warud5 years ago


Kanako I.
Kanako I5 years ago

loved global warming one

Lynn C.
Past Member 5 years ago


elizabeth longley

Some are great, others less so, but all are fun to look at.

Manuela C.
Manuela C5 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago