A Wild Halloween Costume Guide

Inspirations from Ranger Rick’s Reptiles Book

Halloween is right around the corner, and you might be searching for a deliciously scary costume. A vampire? A zombie? A warty witch? You can’t go wrong with these classic choices. Then again, you could go a different route and choose to turn yourself into a deadly cobra, a drooling Komodo dragon, or a giant saltwater crocodile instead. Your unique trick-or-treating attire could certainly tap into some people’s deepest fears.

RangerRickLogoDefaultIt’s true that the world’s reptiles come with a frightening array of fierce fangs, deadly venom, powerful crushing jaws, and other terrors. But, as long as you give them a little space, they are mostly just fascinating…anytime of the year! Check out a new title in the NWF library, Ranger Rick’s Amazing Animals: Reptiles to learn all about the wild and wonderful world of reptiles.

If you want to use the book for costume inspiration, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Green Anaconda


Paint yourself in green scales and put on green pants and shirt to be this mighty boa from South America. Green anacondas can grow to be over 20 feet long, and the longest ones can be nearly as long as a school bus! They are the heaviest snakes in the world, weighing up to 550 pounds, and they prey on birds, mammals, and other reptiles.

Saltwater Crocodile


Want to dress as the largest reptile on Earth, the saltwater crocodile of Australia? Wear gray-green clothing, draw yourself some scales, and get a nice set of pointed teeth. This fearsome creature, which can weigh up to a ton, uses its massive jaw to eat everything from large birds to monkeys, dingoes, and wallabies.

Common Snapping Turtle


You don’t want to tangle with this tough turtle. It keeps growing its whole life—up to a whopping 75 pounds—and gobbles up fish, ducklings, and other prey with its powerful jaws. To turn yourself into a snapper, start with green or brown pants and shirt. Then make a turtle shell with two large pieces of cardboard and a pair of suspenders. Cut a large oval out of one piece of cardboard and paint it to look like a turtle shell. Pin or tape the cardboard to the suspenders so that the shell will stay on your back. Then cut a smaller oval out of the second cardboard piece, paint it, and pin or tape it to the front of your suspenders.

Horned Lizard

lizardThe horned lizard spends its days waddling around and scarfing up ants. It moves slowly, but sharp horns make it hard for predators to swallow. You can dress as this desert-dweller by wearing tan-colored clothing and creating sharp spikes out of craft foam. Cut the foam into triangles and tape or pin them down your back.

The horned lizard’s best trick is to shoot a stream of icky-tasting blood from its eyes if threatened by a predator. To get this effect with your costume, you could color water red (preferably use a temporary dye) and put it into a squirt gun to spray your “enemies.”

With more than 10,000 species of reptiles in the world, there’s a lot to know about turtles, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and their scaly-skinned kin. Ranger Rick’s Amazing Animals: Reptiles is packed with facts for ages 7 and up. Not only will it help you find new Halloween costume ideas, but you’ll also learn which reptiles move fastest and slowest (hint: they’re both turtles), how a snake swallows its prey whole, and why a croc is like a submarine.

Whether or not you have your costume planned yet, we think you’ll find that reading about reptiles and all their tricks is quite a treat! Plus, you can wow your friends at Halloween parties with facts about how a snake’s forked tongue helps it smell in “stereo” and which lizard can walk on water.

Also check out Ranger Rick’s Family Fun page for Halloween craft activities for the whole family!

Buy NowBuy a copy of Ranger Rick’s Amazing Animals: Reptiles now

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Published: October 21, 2016