Otter 841, the Fattest Bear, and Other Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

This article originally appeared on Ski Mag

Halloween is fast approaching and you still don't know what to dress up as? Have no fear. We came up with a handful of low-lift costumes that are inspired by the stories that have made waves in outdoor media this year.

Skeleton Waiting for Affordable Mountain-Town Housing

We came across a waitlist application for an affordable housing development in Aspen, Colorado this week. The wait time to access housing at a reasonable cost in one of our favorite ski towns? 294 years. A skeleton, patiently waiting for its turn to nab an affordable unit, would be a perfect Halloween costume as you lobby your local town council to do something, anything, to solve the housing crisis. Worst case scenario, you'll get confused for a Phoebe Bridgers fan. --Jake Stern, digital editor, Outside

A Burning Man Mud Zombie

If you've got extra festival wear lying around and don't mind getting messy, you can whip up an easy 2023 Burning Man-attendee costume. Pull together your strappiest, most eclectic Black Rock City-inspired outfit, tie plastic bags around your shoes, and dab a mud mask in strategic places. Optional accessory: CVS bag full of poop. --Maren Larsen, senior podcast producer

A False and Actual Summit

This year, the grandfather of high-altitude climbing Reinhold Messner had his world record for being the first to climb the 8,000-meter peaks revoked by The Guinness Book of World Records. A German researcher examined Messner's photographs from 26,545-foot Annapurna and determined that he hadn't hit the highest point, instead climbing to what was considered the high point at the time. This is a good one for couples with a big height difference. All you have to do is wear white (and maybe some grays and blacks). Bonus points if you paint mountains on cardboard boxes and wear them around like sandwich boards.--Abigail Barronian, senior editor, Outside

The Scariest Thing We Can Imagine

Dress up as a mega-ski pass after the early-bird special. Wear royal blue and yellow for Ikon, or navy and burnt orange for Epic, and layer lanyards and past season passes around your neck. This is a good partner costume for exes, frenemies, and other duos who sort of hate each other. Don't forget to add one of those big faux-gold dollar sign chains to signify how much you're worth.

Scarier still: dress as a single-day, $300-dollar lift ticket. (I have goosebumps just thinking about it). Get creative: maybe you wear a money suit and some ski goggles. Or just wear your ski clothes with all the pockets turned inside out. Carry around a mirror so you can look yourself in the eye, and ask...why? --Jamie Aranoff, digital editor, SKI

Otter 841

Our favorite kleptomaniac is still on the loose. To pay tribute to this "ungovernable" sea otter--who sowed chaos in Santa Cruz last summer by stealing surfboards and upending kayaks--wear all brown, a headband with bear ears (close enough), and a faux fur tail. Draw on a black nose and long white whiskers. Carry around a surfboard--bonus points if it has a chunk bitten out of it. You could also do a "revenge of nature" group costume with a few yacht-sinking orcas and golf course-massacring javelinas. Better yet, dress your little one up as Otter 841's newborn pup, who was spotted by Santa Cruz photographer Mark Woodward earlier this week. --Isabella Rosario, associate editor, Outside

A Cairn, and a National Parks Service-Approved Cairn Kicker

In July, Yosemite National Park provoked a kerfuffle when it posted a video of trail workers knocking down unauthorized cairns built by visitors. While commenters praised their actions, other parks like Canyonlands quickly jumped in to ask visitors to leave cairns--which can be valuable navigational tools on hardpacked, unsigned trails--alone. Which side of the cairn debate do you land on? Let the world know with this partner costume. Dress yourself up as a big ol' stack of paper-mache rocks. Then, have your friend or significant other put on a National Park Service uniform and periodically push you down (or spare you for the night). --Adam Roy, executive editor, Backpacker

The Canadian Wildfire Season

This year, Canada saw a whopping 45.7 million acres catch fire, which is roughly nine times their average. Smoke from the blazes blanketed places as far away as New York City in a Blade Runner-esque orange-brown haze. To put that enormous number into perspective, the Washington Post says that's roughly equivalent to the total acreage burned from 2015 to 2022 combined. Pay an irreverent tribute to a difficult season as it winds down. You'll need a cheap Christmas tree costume and a vape or a pack of cigarettes: Simply remove the tinsel, star and other decorations from the costume until your tree is au naturel, stride into the party, and chain-smoke all night. (Kidding!) --A.R.

A Pit Toilet and a Shit-Covered Hiker

Go for both funny and scary this Halloween and dress as the hiker who followed her cell phone into a pit toilet. (An incident that has happened at least twice in the last two years.) If you have a partner, one of you can dress as the pit toilet, and the other can be the hiker. All the toilet will need is a large cardboard box with a cut-out for their face (can be dressed up with paint or markers to your liking) and their partner's phone to carry around all night. The hiker can wear normal outdoorsy clothes smeared with mud or brown fabric paint. You and your partner will be the shit--pun intended. --Kelly Klein, Associate Gear Editor

The Fattest Bear

This year, consider fishing for treats as the Queen of the Katmai National Park Fat Bears: 128 Grazer. All you'll need is a pair of rounded bear ears (preferably blonde), a salmon cutout or plushie, and a regal paper crown. Make it a couple's costume by having your hibernation mate dress as the salmon, and add cubs if you've got them--Grazer is known for being a particularly ferocious mama. --M.L.

A Yellowstone Touron and a Bison

At Yellowstone National Park, clueless visitors getting too close to wildlife is now as classic a sight as Old Faithful. To dress up as a tourist, gather a handful of slightly dweeby but totally classic outdoor gear items: a broad-brimmed hat, cargo pants (extra points if they zip off into shorts), and a UV-resistant button down shirt. Your partner just needs little horns and a brown fleece top and viola, they're a beleaguered bison. Throughout the night, the tourist should be encroaching on their wildlife companion's personal bubble, taking as many pictures as they can. When the bison's fed up, they can tackle the touron. For inspiration, we recommend this Instagram account. --Miyo McGinn, assistant editor, Outside

A Thru-Hiking Family

If you're looking for an easy group costume that can accommodate any number of people, we'd suggest going as a "trail family," the thru-hiking term for the small band of fellow wayfarers that form while traveling the long trail together. For that genuine eau de backpacker, abstain from showering from now until Halloween. Otherwise, just arrive at the function with your crew wearing your silliest, grimiest clothes, address each other exclusively by nicknames, and eat candy like you're about to hike a couple thousand miles.--M.M.

Two Dead Birds

Hear us out: one person dresses in head-to-toe Arc'teryx, our favorite dead bird (whose price point may strike fear in your heart). The other person dresses as the formerly-known-as-Twitter bird that once kept us informed and entertained. Now known as X, the website is devolving into a Tartarus of extremism and misinformation--very spooky. Bid the platform adieu with a cute couples costume for outdoorsy folks--or make it a troika and have another friend dress as a stone. --J.S.

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.