Uniform-flag

Wearing the Scout uniform as a Halloween costume

Halloween is here again, and the search for costumes inevitably leads you to the staples of the season: witch, ghost, zombie, or vampire. But each season, some people consider dressing themselves as Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. And apparently it’s enough of a problem that at least one Scout Shop has chosen to address the issue head-on.

At the excellent (and massive) Scout Shop located in the National Scouting Museum, there’s a sign at the entrance that reads: “Scout uniforms WILL NOT be sold as Halloween costumes.”

So we want to know your take. Should Scout uniforms be purchased for use as Halloween costumes? Let us know in the comments area below.

80 thoughts on “Wearing the Scout uniform as a Halloween costume

  1. I have seen people wear firefighters uniforms, police uniforms and even our Armed Service Uniform for Halloween. Many people wear these uniforms to so respect to these everyday Heros. I do not feel any different with people wearing Scout uniform for Halloween, as long as it is done with respect for the Scouts. As a paramedic, I am proud to see people dressed up as Paramedics, and as a Scout I am proud to see people dressed as Scout, again as long as it is showing respect.

    • I agree, but I am reminded of the fiasco when the prince of England dressed in a Nazi uniform. He got a lot of bad press for that, but can see on one hand how there are no greater monsters in our nightmares than the Nazis. Sometimes we dress as monsters for Halloween and sometimes we dress as heroes.

  2. I wore my scout uniform this Halloween season as a sign of respect, and a contribution to scouting. I am not an adult leader. I do not have children in scouting, but scouting had a HUGE impact on me. Here I am years later remembering what it meant to me to put that uniform on. I never made it to Eagle, or into OA, or anything, but it still meant a lot to me. I miss that feeling, and for me, Halloween gave me the opportunity for a valid reason to not only re-live that feeling again, but to show other people what a scout is.

    I wore the whole uniform properly, with a sense of pride, and respect, and the whole weekend leading up to Halloween, I went about my business constantly mindful of the scout oath and law. I did not set out to make a mockery. I set out to do something positive with a commercialized holiday that often carries so many negative images, and acts as a manner of “fun” or ” entertainment”

    I initially just intended on going to one event Friday, but the experience in uniform on Friday was so overwhelmingly positive! people at work, at the party, and even as I traveled to and from work would stop and strike up conversations, we’d share stories of what scouting meant to us. I met leaders new and old, several eagle scouts, and a lot of folks like me, who wished they had stuck through it to Eagle. It was such a great day, that I spent the entire weekend and through Monday Halloween itself, as a scout, exemplifying a scout in every way I could. It was a wonderful experience meeting old scouts, sharing stories, talking to parents who had lots of questions about how to get their boys and girls into scouting. In that 4 days, it became far more than me wearing a uniform, it became an experience, and I found that I really missed those days, and I can’t imagine now, what life would be like without that influence growing up.
    In many ways, for that whole weekend, I was an ambassador, and it felt really good to talk up something that had such a huge impact on me, and it felt like I finally had a chance to give something back.

    Scouting gave me that sense of adventure that now makes me prefer to go out and do all the real world things that kids today only simulate in video games. I’m a firefighter, SCUBA diver, motorcycle rider, camper, hockey player, and many other things. I find it frustrating to see kids simulating things electronically that they can do for real, and scouting gave me the drive to go and do things. For real. Halloween may not make super heroes real, but scouting gave me the drive, pride, and motivation to be my own person, a real life action hero, not some imagined or made-up character in a video game only role played in some unattainable fantasy world.

    Someone said that scouting needs to be made “cool” again , maybe some blockbuster movie that makes it look cool again as said above. I agree. hopefully someone will figure out a way to give it that cool factor, and get kids back into it, so they can live life in the real world, and not behind a computer screen or gaming console. I know that if I had the opportunity to shape scouting’s future, and make it “cool” again, I’d be putting a large emphasis on getting kids out there and doing things that are exciting, building that spirit of adventure, challenge, and excellence that I got out of it nearly 25 years ago.

    I’ll be looking for more of these sorts of opportunities to be in uniform again, and feel that sense of pride and honor more often. I just wish I didn’t have to wait for Halloween to have an “excuse” to do it.

    • Don’t wait for the season. I’m sure that you can obtain an Adult Scout Application to start the process. I have been with Scouting for 60 years and look forward to more years. Go Volunteer and get that great feeling every week for the rest of your life.

  3. No. The uniform is special, sacred, honored & not to be used as a costume. Should be treated with the respect that is earned from it.

    • There is nothing sacred about the scout uniform. Boys can wear it while they do almost anything. They can wear it to school, they can wear it to church, they can wear on camping trips, etc. Sacred clothing includes the vestments of the pope which are occasionally seen out on Halloween, so some might say that on Halloween, nothing is sacred.

  4. I think there is a big difference between dressing up as a Scout and using an official Scout uniform as a costume. I don’t think anyone should wear an official uniform to dress up as a Scout for Halloween, but a non official uniform is all right. I see it like how the military sees the use of the official uniform. Unless you are in the military, you shouldn’t wear the uniform as if you were (name, rank, branch).

  5. All I have to say is the Scout uniform is for Scouts to show ther pride of being a Scout AND here is some words to think about also
    A uniform is a type of clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization’s activity. Modern uniforms are most often worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates in prisons. In some countries, some other officials also wear uniforms in their duties; such is the case of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service or the French prefects. For some public groups, such as police, it is illegal for non members to wear the uniform. Other uniforms are trade dresses (such as the brown uniforms of UPS).

    The Scout uniform is a specific characteristic of the Scouting movement, in the words of Baden-Powell at the 1937 World Jamboree, “it covers the differences of country and race and make all feel that they are members one with another of one World Brotherhood”. The original uniform, which has created a familiar image in the public eye, consisted of a khaki button-up shirt, shorts and a broad-brimmed campaign hat. Baden-Powell himself wore shorts since being dressed like the youth contributed to reducing perceived “distance” between the adult and the young person. Nowadays, uniforms are frequently blue, orange, red, or green, and shorts are replaced by long pants in areas where the culture calls for modesty, and in winter weather.

    • All I have to say is the Native regalia is for Natives to show their pride of being a Native American and to honor OUR ancestors.

  6. I wore my uniform to a party at my sister’s group home. She had never seen me in the uniform. Her housemates were very impressed that I am an Asst. Scoutmaster. I did not mean any disrespect of the uniform and wore it proudly. A few of the men at the home told me stories of when they were young and were scouts! I felt real proud to be involved with the BSA!!!

  7. My son, who is a first-year, First Class Scout, has decided he wants to dress as a Scout for Halloween. We tried to get him to put a twist on it, like a “zombie Scout”, “lost Scout” or somesuch but in the end, he’s doing it (I think) because he doesn’t really like scary things and a Scout isn’t scary. It is his uniform and he earned everything on it, so I don’t see a problem with it from that respect. As an ASM for the last 10+ years, I don’t see that it impacts the program at all except in a positive way. If the kids think its cool and it helps promote Scouting in a positive (or at least, non-negative) way, I think that’s a good thing for the program in general.

  8. I would suggest a Scout could wear an historic uniform, but even then, it would depend on the circumstances (where it would be worn…) so as to maintain proper respect.

  9. I have seen young girls wearing the uniform at a hardware store for Halloween costume and I wanted to say something then but I didnt. I personally think wearing a scout uniform in any way other than at an official scouting event is not acceptable. I read some the other posts talking about police officers, firemen and kind of laugh because those careers dont actually depict a particular department or organization. They just usually have a pretend badge and a coat of some type. And in fact it is against most department policies to have a picture taken that could show the department in a negative way or showing endorsement of some kind (which I know is against BSA policy). In regards to a comment about scouts wearing Native American regallia, I have to respond that we are in NO way degrading those persons, in fact we are honoring them by trying to keep their beliefs and traditions alive.

  10. I disagree. There is nothing sacred about the Scout uniform. It is play clothes. Unless trick-or-treating is an activity inappropriate for scouts, then I don’t see any problem with it. Now if the playmate of the month appears wearing nothing buy his neckerchief, I would take offense.

  11. Dressing up as a scout should be flattering to the BSA. If I see kids dressed as a firefighter, it makes me smile that they want to grow up and be like me. If they want to wear scout uniforms for halloween, maybe they will join scouts and see how much they can get out of it.

  12. I love Scouting and I have for years. I am also in the US Navy and take pride that I serve in many ways. So I understand the importance of a uniform and what it represents. But please … aren’t we taking ourselves a little too seriously if we believe that we cannot “allow” people to wear the Scouting uniform because it dishonors the Scouting tradition.

    Let’s all step back and remember what is important. It’s not the uniform or the organization. It is the boys that fill those outfits and make the organization.

    BTW … our armed services get mocked daily by professionals. We don’t post signs saying you can’t wear our uniforms for Halloween.

  13. Does noone on this forum read or apply official BSA policy in their comments here? The wear of ANY BSA uniform as a “costume” shouldn’t even be a question asked.
    http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066_Section1.pdf

    From pg 6: Article X, Section 4
    General
    Clause 1. The badges and other official insignia and the uniforms of the Boy Scouts
    of America shall be made available only to, and used only by, registered youth members or officials and other members who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements prescribed by the Corporation.

    From pg 5: Neither the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, the policy, nor the program applications may be added to or changed in any way unless approved by the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America through its Program Impact Department.

    Further, if it is NOT a Council sanctioned event: Use of Uniforms Clause 6. The official uniforms are intended primarily for use in connection with Scouting activities as defined by the National Executive Board, and their use may be approved by the
    local council executive board for council events or activities under conditions consistent with the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.

    If it is OUR job to lead these boys in a moral, law and rule abiding direction that teaches them respect for rules and authority, this question should not have even been asked. The answer is most difinitively NO!!

    Once again, I am disappointed by the subject put forward on this forum by someone who should know the BSA regulations before even posting an erroneous question or story.

    • The question included non-scouts. They wouldn’t know about BSA’s official uniform policy. I tend to be bothered by the “uniform” police at events. I had to listen to one guy at an OA event go on and on about the impropriety of wearing a special edition council strip on my field uniform, when the Council Executive, Council President, and Council Commissioner all did. Talk about an “ordeal!”

      Although it never occurred for me or my boys to wear their scout uniform, I can see where people in my neighborhood would love it if we did. I’m a wood badger and Silver Beaver recipient, my two oldest are Eagle Scouts, my third is a Life Scout, and my youngest is a Webelos I. We’d make quite an impressive display if we did.

  14. A registered Scout or Scouter should never wear the uniform as a “costume,” but outside of our Scouting family, there’s really not much we can do about it. It’s a matter of respect, and therefore depends on the person in question. Just like someone saying something disrespectful, our best response is to ignore it or if the opportunity presents itself, educate.

  15. Wear it with a back pack with sleeping attached and a walking staff. Paying homage and respect to the uniform and scouting…….not to mention backpack serves as the candy bag and you won’t have to carry it all night

  16. If people want to spend money in the Scout Store and thereby put money into or program, why would you stop them. Besides, if they come in to buy the uniform, they might get interested in the program and join….not sure what the problem here is….if you think they can’t get the shirt somewhere else you’re disillusioned, scoutstuff.org will send it right to their house.

    • OFFICIAL BSA POLICY
      http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066_Section1.pdf

      Insignia, Uniforms, and Badges
      Article X, Section 4
      General
      Clause 1. The badges and other official insignia and the uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America shall be made available only to, and used only by, registered youth members or officials and other members who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements prescribed by the Corporation.

      That’s why. Some of have respect enough for the organization we are a part of to follow, obey, and respect it’s regulations.

  17. NUNCA! O uniforme deve ser sempre usado de forma garbosa, o seu uso nos identifica como grupo, como entidade, nos diferenciando de outras pessoas “civis” digamos assim.

  18. No uniforms of the BSA should be used as a costume whether the person is part of the scouting organization or not. The uniform is a symbol of our organization and a privilege that is conferred upon only those who are allowed to wear it for all official activities. I won’t even let my son wear his Class – B shirt to school for non affiliated reasons. Use of the uniform as a costume is wholly inappropriate.

  19. The Scout uniform should not be worn as a Halloween costume. I say this because any child or adult who wears it and act inappropriately gives scouting a bad name. We have enough problems with it having a bad rep. Scouts and leaders should only wear the uniform during Scouting events period.

  20. I don’t think it is right for someone to wear the uniform as a halloween costume. The reason for this is because it’s not a costume, it’s a uniform. For all of those who argue that people dress up as heroes such as police or firefighters for halloween then why not a scout? Isn’t a scout a hero? While a scout is a hero, that is only in a certain definition of the word. When most people think of heroes, they envision not just a uniform but a specific purpose, that being to save lives or protect innocent civilians. While a scout may run into the opportunity to be able to save someone it is not in the same way that firefighters, police, soldiers, etc. do. Those heroes constantly put their life on the line, in an organization set up for them to go around all day doing such. Scout does not have a dispatch center, we do not shuffle around all day injuring seriously wounded people. Instead, we live the day to our best and seek to help others when we find a situation that is available, but we would not drive around our city for hours on end to go and assist at car accidents or we wouldn’t go to a foreign country to stop terrorists. Thus, a scout may be considered a hero by some, yet a better term would be that a scout is virtuos and a leader.

  21. No, especially among adults. People do stupid stuff on Halloween. When people do stupid drunken stuff it ends up on the Internet. Scouting does not need to be misrepresented by these bozos. People have tried to borrow my uniform for Halloween and I have shut them down on that nonsense.

  22. I have been talking with our Scouts about this during Halloween for the last five years. I teach school, and five years ago, one of the teachers that isn’t so keen on Scouting wanted me to wear my uniform. I knew it was for his amusement, so he could poke fun.

    I told him, and I tell the boys, “A costume is something that you wear to pretend you are something else. A uniform is what you wear because it is who you are.”

    Scouts should not wear their uniforms on Halloween because they are not a costume.

  23. They’re highly overpriced clothes that are no longer made in America. As long as the people are paying for them, who cares. This country has more pressing matters, like illegals burning the American Flag, but some crack pot judge says that is ok, it’s freedom of speech.

    Ok, I have your attention now? Why is it that Boy Scouts call Native American Indian Regalia a costume, but what Scouts wear is a uniform? My dad taught me, in order to GET respect, you have to GIVE respect. Until the BSA remembers that, people will continue to think of the scout uniform as a costume.

    No, I do not believe it should be used as a costume, and I wouldn’t, BUT, people are raised differently, with different core values and morals. Who are we to judge someone else? Isn’t it more important to bring Scouting back into the spot light of the nation, as an organization that teaches our youth how to be good citizens to build a strong country on a solid foundation?

    The problem isn’t should we or shouldn’t we use the uniform as a costume, it’s How do we fix what we have become, and get ourselves back to being the finest organization for youth in the world??

  24. If someone wants to buy a uniform for Halloween there should be a full press recruitment effort on the spot. They can be a member for life and dress up as something else. Back in 1968 a girl in my class asked me to buy a boy scout uniform shirt for her. She wanted to wear it in school over her T shirt to keep warm. I refused as this is something that was important to me and hard earned. She found a washed out BSA shirt somewhere else. All the scouts in school asked here not to wear the shirt in school and realized that this was not a joke

  25. I am to understand from our district executive, Council executives, and Francisco Europe is their lives, that the Scouting organization cannot afford to pass up paying customers. If they put a sign up saying not for intent of howling costumes all the person has to do say I’m a new leader and they sell to them. Not much of a deterrent for those who want. On top of that… If somebody wants to spend $40-$50 on the Halloween costume and make something, whether is a tattered mess zombie or a “clumsy” kid in bandages out of a scout uniform, either way you look at it they’re putting the image of there for people to look and remember scouting. They are using their money to do advertising for us. It’s been said in the business world that’s “no press is bad press”. As long as people are saying the word Scouting, and as long as they are seeing the imagery, the movement that we all work for is being perpetuated one way or another. If someone wants to spend their money to make a costume that reminds people about scouting, we ought to thank them for helping our movement. But what do I know … I’m just a dad … that is an unpaid volunteer who has been a den leader and Cubmaster for about a decade because of my two sons that are growing and learning through the program (not to mention a business major). As long as it’s not derogatory, I think it’s fine.

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