Flying on Halloween? You Can Wear a Costume!

By: Stephanie Vermillion & Nicole Antonio  | 
Halloween at LAX
Tiffany Butcher is dressed as Wicked Witch of the West with her dog Sergio (dressed as a monkey) at the international departures terminal at Los Angeles International Airport for the Pets Unstressing Passengers PUP Howling Halloween parade in 2016. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Witches have it made when it comes to Halloween travel. Security wait times don't matter when you're zipping around on a broom. But what about us mortals who want to join the festivities in transit, sans frisk?

Air travel in a Halloween costume might seem a little silly, not to mention a complete TSA nightmare, but domestic security regulations for traveling in spooky attire for Halloween are actually pretty simple.


No Full-face Masks

First things first: TSA. Don't try going through security wearing a mask that covers your entire face. Surgical and KN95 masks are A-OK, but the Ghostface and Jason hockey are not. (TSA says you can pack such masks in your carry-on bag.)

After all, the TSA security people still need to make sure you are who you say you are.


Unrealistic Props Only

Sure, a fake chainsaw or plastic scythe would probably be a big hit at the Halloween party and may even help you win a costume contest, but it will exclusively cause you delays at the airport.

According to a 2021 press release, "TSA officers will assume those items are real until they are determined to be props." Do your fellow travelers a favor and leave the weapons — both real and replicas — at home.


Avoid 'Improper Dress'

Now, once you know how to get through security, you need to know how to deal with your airline. Remember in 2017 when United Airlines turned away a group of leggings-clad girls for what was called "improper dress"? Would they really allow a clown-costumed traveler on board? Yes and no.

It turns out United's decision centered on the fact the girls were flying as "pass riders," and therefore representatives of the company. Restrictions for regular customers — including those dressed as ghouls or goblins — are much more lenient, as long as passengers follow the airline's carriage and safety guidelines.


Take Delta, for example. Its contract of carriage states it can "refuse to transport or may remove passengers from its aircraft ... when the passenger's conduct, attire, hygiene, or odor creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers." According to a representative, this includes Halloween costumes.

American Airlines has no specific restrictions when it comes to Halloween costumes, according to a representative; its conditions of carriage requires passengers to "be respectful that [their] odor isn't offensive" (unless caused by a disability), and notes that "bare feet or offensive clothing aren't allowed."

Contracts for United Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines all follow a similar tune. So that means as long as your costume isn't smelly or offensive, and doesn't cause injury to you or other passengers, you can fly in your favorite Halloween costume — although you may have a tougher time in business or first class. Attire rules tend to be more lax in economy.


The Great Pumpkin Carry-On

If flying in a Halloween costume isn't enough, here's another piece of good news: You can also carry on your newly carved jack-o'-lantern!

TSA is up to speed on America's love for all things pumpkin, which is why they dedicate an entire set of rules to this festive fall fruit.


"Pumpkins ... are A-Okay to bring through security," the TSA website says. "Whether they are decorated or not, feel free to bring those fellas along in your carry-on." Carry-on pumpkin puree — just like fake blood — must fit in a 3.4-ounce (100 milliliter) liquid container.