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Melody Lu / Columbia Daily Spectator

Just because you can’t go out to Halloween parties this year doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed up. Whether you’re going to an outdoor movie night with friends, a fall activity in your town, or just greeting the trick-or-treaters from a distance, wearing costumes is a Halloween must. This year, take advantage of COVID-19-necessitated face masks to create your own creepy getup.

Surgical mask

Superheroes are always a popular costume choice, so why not dress up as a real-life hero? If you have a surgical mask, pair it with a white or red dress, scrubs, a white lab coat, or anything else that might resemble the clothing of a healthcare worker. Bonus points if you carry around a stethoscope and clipboard!


Wrap a bandana around the bottom of your face to get that mysterious yet gruff look. You could pair it with denim, leather, and hide fabrics topped off with a cowboy hat. Or become a lumberjack with a fake ax and a plaid shirt. If you’re trying to seem a bit edgier, try donning a black leather jacket and cool sunglasses for a motorcyclist costume.

Painted mask

There’s a lot you can do with a plain mask and a bit of fabric paint. Since the cloth covers the mouth area, it’s a great place to put a scary but expressive smile. You can make a large mouth with plenty of sharp teeth, a skeleton grin, a jack-o'-lantern smile, or a bloody set of fangs. Using your face as the focal point of your costume provides the opportunity to play with makeup and face paint, so get creative with it! Just make sure you leave the mask out to dry in a well-ventilated area before use.

Character mask

If you’re a “The Silence of the Lambs” fan, this one might be for you. Hannibal Lecter, the notorious fictional psychiatrist, wears a distinct muzzle of a mask to derail his appetite. Because the gear only uses bars to cover the mouth area, you definitely need a proper personal protective mask underneath it. This costume leaves you free to go outside while still scaring passersby.

Animal mask

Cats might be overdone on Halloween, but face masks can add a new layer to your character. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of animal masks for sale online. Pair it with the right color outfit, a set of ears, and a tail depending on what kind of animal you opt for.

Ghostly mask

Don a plain white mask to become a few classic Halloween monsters. If you’ve heard of the ghost photoshoot challenge raging on TikTok, you may be familiar with this costume. Wear a plain white sheet with the eyes cut out and scream “Boo!” at any onlookers. Alternatively, wrap your face in gauze (to conserve the toilet paper) and become a mummy.

If these options don’t appeal to you, consider wearing a full-face mask. It’s easy to wear a personal protective mask underneath and still keep that Halloween look. Have fun this spooky season, but make sure to stay safe!

Staff writer Ariana Novo is a big fan of Halloween and will be participating in an annual haunted trail with her friends this year (socially distanced and masked up). She can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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