What to Consider When Choosing, or Making, Your Bike-Friendly Halloween Costumes
by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com
No clowning around! Halloween is just about here…!
But not for another 2 weeks and 4 days (who’s counting, anyway?). That is a blessing to those of us who still need to figure out what our bike-friendly will be for this upcoming Hollow’s Eve. We still have 18 days! (okay, so maybe we’re counting).
That leaves many of us with just enough time to find a costume for you, a friend, child, and even your pet.
This year October 31st lands on a Monday which means that many people will be working. If you work in a place that allows costumes and you bike to work, or plan on biking that evening when trick-or-treating has commenced, then what you need is a bike-friendly Halloween costume.
If children are biking for Hollow’s Eve, then they’ll need bike-friendly Halloween costumes as well.
Want to get your costume ready and start early? Help Anoka, MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World, celebrate its 96th year of fun in their Forever Halloween festivities.
Bike-Friendly Halloween Costumes?
Why bike-friendly Halloween costumes you ask? It’s safer for you and for those near you.
Bike-friendly costumes take some extra creative thinking to put together. With many different considerations to be taken into account, it means some costumes, unfortunately, should not be used while biking. Costumes and clothing can cause problems by getting caught in, or on, different parts of a bike like the wheel spokes or the chain and gears. They can even get caught on the seat or the handlebars when riding.
If a costume fails and gets caught, besides hurting yourself, you might also hurt others who are riding or walking near you. Plus, no one wants to spend their Halloween in the ER.
Allowance for Arm Movement
The costume of your choice should allow for adequate arm movement. Your reaction time determines how well you control your bike. If you aren’t able to move your arms easily before you get on the bike, reconsider your costume design.
Besides, if you can’t move your arms well it will be hard to use them when signaling to other cyclists and auto traffic behind you.
Allowance for Leg Movement
Your legs are the engine you need to get you to wherever you’re headed. If your legs are encumbered in any way it or if there’s excess cloth, it can become entangled in the moving parts of the bike. Excess material can get caught in the spokes, tires, or gears while riding. Even if your able to stop your bike, some parts of a costume can still get caught while getting off your seat!
Let your legs be free and without loose fabric so you can pedal freely and easily without the fear of anything getting into a place it shouldn’t.
Allowance for a Helmet
Helmets tend to fall on the wayside during Halloween, but instead of leaving it at home try to incorporate it somehow – even if it might look a little silly! Being a tad bit silly is better than getting into a crash or falling without a helmet!
Sometimes you can cleverly disguise a helmet within a costume, or decorate the helmet to fit your costume. Once you’re off that bike, you can take off the helmet and resume your character, but until then? Please consider portraying your character as being smart and safe.
Full Face Masks
Full face masks are definitely cool – especially now that there’s Kylo Ren! However, save the face mask for when you’re off your bike. Face masks limit, if not block, your peripheral vision and even some of your vision directly in front of you. Being on wheels, you need to be aware of your surroundings and be able to see people or kids who might just ‘appear’ in front of you.
Because of the lack of peripheral vision, full face masks are a hazard. Plus, if anything knocks the face mask from its optimal position, then your vision is completely blocked – or severely limited at best. Rather than paying attention to riding, you’ll be preoccupied on trying to fix it so you can regain your vision.
If possible, opt to wear face paint or keep your mask in your backpack or carrier pouch until you get to your destination.
We all love the super creative costumes that can definitely fill a room – literally. We’ve seen plenty of people wearing boxes to be a couch, a living room table, a tardis, or any other creative thing you can think of. While this is okay, just make sure that you’re prepared for what comes with it.
Wearing a big, bulky costume, or a costume that has a lot of volume, can be tiring. Sometimes they are heavier, and while wearing them, you’re certainly prone to more wind resistance as you’re pedaling along!
If you’re sure you want to wear those types of costumes then make sure to check the following:
- It has enough room for arm movement. Cut out more of the sides for arm holes if you need to.
- It has enough movement for the legs to go up and down for riding the bike. The costume should stop halfway down the waist so you’re not jostling it while riding – which can be distracting.
- The costume doesn’t limit your head from moving. You need to be able to turn your head to see and limiting your head movement can be dangerous. You wouldn’t be able to see around you and know what’s going on.
Capes or Draping
We won’t lie to you. Capes or cloaks billowing behind you look awesome – you look like you’re flying! A natural superhero, witch/wizard, or whatever you may be! However, while it looks cool and can make you feel invincible, costumes with draping and capes can also get caught in the spokes, tires, gears, and be distracting to you.
As stated above, if these things get caught, it can be dangerous and end up with you on the ground – which is a lot less fun. Let’s fly through the air while staying on our wheels rather than flying over them.
This is commonly overlooked, but important to consider. Halloween weather and temperatures tend to be unpredictable. Some years have been really warm, while other years it’s downright chilly! When choosing your biking costume, make sure that you’re choosing a costume that will work with the temperature and keep you comfortable.
Remember, pedaling will generate heat, and if you’re costume tends to make you warm make sure you’re making that adjustment for when you bike. It isn’t so fun when you’re sweating up a storm in your amazing costume as you travel to your destination. Showcasing sweat stains on your costume at a party is probably not what you have in mind.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be cold either. While riding your bike there will be wind blowing at you. If you’re prone to getting chilled, it might be better to wear a costume with that in mind.
No matter what you decide when dressing up for Halloween or any themed bike parade, dress safe and have fun!
Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.
Editor’s Note: Don’t forget that you can send us your creative and fun bike-friendly Halloween costumes! If you send them in, we can feature your photo as our next bike pic! We’d love to see what you’re wearing. (And perhaps it’ll inspire some of our own costumes for next year’s Hollow’s Eve!) Send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply below! If you’re into Twitter and Facebook, tweet or share it with us @HaveFunBiking.