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.


  1. Have to agree with the Scout Shop; unless someone thinks of a Scout as a superhero, they wouldn’t buy one as a costume to praise BSA – if they hold it so reverently, they’d already be a Scout.
    So if they’re out to mock Scouting, then it’s just as well they didn’t have an easy opportunity to buy a uniform.

  2. If they are used as Halloween costumes, what is to stop child predators from using them? I am in favor or having to show proof of ID to buy scout uniforms.

    • Scout uniforms can be purchased on Ebay, garage sales, consignment store, etc. An ID to purchase a Scout uniform isn’t going to stop a predator and just means ineffective policing and perhaps stepping some more on our Constitutional rights. On a side note, some of the boys in my Cub Scout Pack Trick or Treat for UNICEF as a Pack “service projecT.” I wouldn’t mind (in fact, I would almost expect them) wearing their uniforms in this endeavor.

      • Asking for donations for their unit or for ANY other cause, whether for UNICEF or ringing bells for the Salvation Army is strictly prohibited by the BSA.

        Download the unit money making application from our national site scouting.org for more details.

        • Nothing was said in the Post about soliciting Donations. Many Scouting Units help put on Safe Halloween Events..Locally our Events are Called “Trunk or Treats” where Families can go and Trick or Treat. At the Different Churches and Organization, whom many sponsor Scouting units, people design Games and Such that fit in a Trunk of a Car or Back of a Pick Up and Have fun and pass out Candy. Many Scouts operating the games wear a Scouting Uniform…It is considered service project hours as it is benefiting the entire Community.

        • What do you think popcorn sales are? They are basically asking for a donation to the council& unit in uniform. Popcorn sales are so overpriced that any person with common sense knows you can walk into any Wal-Mart and buy the same thing for $2.50 versus $25.00 .

      • My oldest, now an Eagle, has dressed as a Scout at Trunk or Treat for several years. He sets up a tent, a small flag, has a sleeping bag, and a fake fire to make a “campsite”. He passes out candy from there and has been asked about Scouting more than once. Some even ask if he is a real Scout. I don’t think they should have to ask.

  3. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone dressed like a Scout for Halloween, and can’t imagine why anyone would except to turn it into a mockery. Besides, at the price of scout uniforms, who can afford it just for Halloween?
    My question is how are they going to enforce their rule?

  4. My daughter and her girlfriend has dressed in my uniforms during HS and college, but they were Venture Crew members and later my daughter, a Philmont Ranger. I had thought about it, but I wear a uniform at least once a week even as a emeritus scouter (my kids are all in their 20’s) and think it would be demeaning of the uniform for an adult scouter to do it.

      • Bob… my daughter was a Venturer. I am not sure what the rules are for the BSA but Scouts Canada has allowed female participants since 1972 in Rovers, 1984 in Vents and all sections since 1992

  5. The uniform guide says in effect that the uniform may be worn at any time, anywhere, except the following, unless authorized by BSA: Fundraising events for non-BSA support; Distinctly political endeavors; Professional stage appearances; Participation in demonstrations; or at bars/taverns/pubs.
    As an adult leader I have worn my uniform to answer the door for trick-or-treaters and have received a very positive response.
    I don’t have issue with Scouts or Scouters wearing the uniform for halloween or harvest-fests provided that they are doing it as a positive display of Scouting.
    I do have issue with non-Scouts and Scouters wearing the uniform at all. I have purchased uniforming from second hand stores to keep it away from such use, and pass on the uniforms to those who really need them.

    • Good for you. They call they that paying it forward these days. My two Eagle Scouts, one still a Venture, and a two time Philmont Ranger have never worn scout uniforms. And thanks for the idea of purchasing uniforms to give to some who would not have one otherwise.

  6. Just as a side note, Cub Scout uniform shirts are quite the trendy piece of clothing among teen Japanese girls (at least here in the Tokyo area). Several of my friends have seen girls wearing the shirts, which they seem to pick up in thrift stores, used patches and all.

    • I was actually in Nagoya, Japan last week and the scout movement is much larger there than in the US. We stumbled upon a parade and there were hundreds of Scouts , make and female , young and old doing crowd control. So I don’t know of trend is the correct word. Pride might be better.

  7. Seems to me wearing the uniform for Haloween is similar to a Professional stage appearance. I remember an older teenage neighbor when I was a kid going as a pregant girl scout, and another doing a zombie boy scout costume, both really confused me as a child, i knew it seemed wrong, but I was too young to know why.

  8. I do not think Scout uniforms should be sold as Halloween costumes. Our kids work hard to be Scouts and invest a lot of time in Scouting, so that kind of commitment demands a certian amount of respect. Now, I would not have a problem with a CURRENT Scout wearing their uniform on Halloween, especially if the family could not afford a costume. I also would not have a problem with somebody buying a VINTAGE Scout uniform on E-bay and wearing that as a costume.

  9. I have a mixed view on this. On one hand it seems weird for an adult to dress-up as a Scout if they are not one. For kids, I think it is ok, as long as they act like a Scout. Also, publicity is publicity, and the more exposure people have to Scouting the better! I would not sell them as costumes, but kids tend to dress up as what they look up to. Police, firefighters and doctors all require extensive training, as do Scout leaders. So, wearing your uniform on Halloween, I think is ok, but buying one just for that seems wrong, unless they donate it to support their local Scouting unit.

  10. Do kids who dress up as a police officer, a doctor, a firefighter, a construction worker, or a cowboy for Halloween do so to “mock” those roles or is it because they are iconic, simple and recognizable outfits. You don’t have to explain what you are. Being a Scout is a simple and effective “costume”. Sure there will be people who wear it to be ironic, to mock Scouting, or be crude…but you can see that with any potential costume idea.
    And how is a non-Scout dressing up as a Scout for Halloween any less respectful than a registered member doing it? If anything, I see a real Scout doign this more disrectful than an outsider who is just pretending to be a Scout for Halloween (as a Scout should know better than to use their uniform as a novelty). And how is a Scout dressing as a Scout even a costume? That would be like me going as myself for Halloween. Halloween is a chance to be something your not – so a Scout going as a Scout isn’t really a costume.
    I don’t see what the big deal is. Scouting is much more than a uniform. We shouldn’t get focused on putting the symbols of Scouting up on a pedestal, and make it sacrelegious to touch them. We should stay focused on the principles and aims of Scouting and put the icons before the things they represent. Loosen up and have fun…that’s what Scoutings about.

  11. It’s interesting that this is an issue when scouts continually dress up as American Indians throughout many of their “ceremonies” and yet very few in the scouting world question how insulting and mocking that can be towards real American Indians.

    • Order of the Arrow origin wikipeadia They used ideals of the Lenape Indians. Don’t think it is mocking them, but, it is realizing they have sacred beliefs too. Remember, no photos, no videos, only in your mind. And there were other groups “borrowed” from to go with their idea of getting youth interested in scouting. And as old as this thread is, maybe it needs to be put away

    • Had a different costume tonight. One teenage girl, dressed all in white with appropriate make up, insignia on top, and name tag on other side. FLO the Progressive insurance lady (Wonder if Flo got her machine $$ for the uniform)

  12. How is a non Scout wearing a Scout uniform any different from a non Native (say a Scout) wearing Native regalia?
    The “we do it to honor you” line doesn’t make it right, does it?

  13. About the American Indian costumes you refer to… if you actually cared about the American Indians like most of us who ‘dress up as American Indians’ then you would know that it is REGALIA and not a COSTUME at all. Many Native Americans support the use of Native American themed ceremonies because we do not mock them or make fun of them. We use them as symbols, we have four principles (not ‘characters’ as some call them). They all have Lenni Lenape names and scripts are all memorized. There is nothing demeaning in the scripts, we look up to Native Americans. Peaceful people who loved the outdoors and nature and treated it with respect as we strive to do.
    I do think people dressing up as scouts for halloween is offensive because a Boy Scout etc. is something most of society mocks. It’s almost to the point where having to wear the uniform in public is embarrassing. Most everyone knows the police, firefighters, etc are public servants and potential heroes when they save lives. Boy Scouts are the same, but not everyone thinks so. In addition, we are talking about ‘dressing up as’ or ‘dressing up like’ not ‘becoming a’. People don’t wear real uniforms for halloween for most professions, if they do its a rare event. So why should our real uniform be displayed publicly in a situation where it could potentially be mocked?

  14. “we look up to Native Americans. Peaceful people who loved the outdoors and nature and treated it with respect as we strive to do.”
    I guess this shows what you know about Native Americans, first of there were hundreds of different tribes and we were all different. Some tribes were peaceful, but some were proud warriors, content at peace but exceptional at war.
    Where do the giant eagle feather war-bonnets you all seem to like to wear come from – not the Lenni Lenape, those are Lakota, and we are not known for our “peacefullness” .
    Glad to see scouts has taught you so much about out culture.

    • The vast majority of the Order of the Arrow lodges do their research carefully, including consulting the local tribes and they respectfully utilize the regalia of that local tribe and not the tribes from the 50’s “Spaghetti Cowboy” movies.

      If a lodge is not doing this, they are doing a disservice to themselves which is a reflection on the rest of us and is definitely not in keeping with the tenets of the Order.

  15. If someone wants to dress up as a scout for Halloween, you can’t stop them. They will find a way whether the actual uniform is available or not. Is it mockery, sure but it’s not meant to belittle the scouts. I don’t think that people take Halloween costumes seriously anyway. They shouldn’t. I mean it is all just in fun.
    In fact when I was in fifth grade, at the suggestion of my mother, I wore my cousin’s little league uniform and went as a baseball player. He in turn wore my junior scout uniform, a wig and carried a box of girl scout cookies for effect. He was hilarious and we got loads of candy.

  16. I am creating a replica cub scout uniform for an adult to be used for adult leader training purposes as well as for halloween to hand out not only treats but recruitment cards as well. As a district trainer and cubmaster, I see no foul here, as everyone involved with the program expects suprises from me. Using this media is exactly what should be expected, if used correctly!

    • I have the same thing (a replica Cub uniform) as an adult leader (Cubmaster) I wear it for my Pack Halloween Party every year… I try to be a “Big Scout” which is the point… right?

      I HAVE noticed in movies and out and about… Cub Scout uniforms used by “nicely figured” teen/ young women as fashion accessories… but never as a Halloween costume by non Scout/Scouter. (I have more of a problem with the use of the uniform to try to be “sexy” than I see the issue of mocking… ) I mean we do skits and things that “mock” many things… but NEVER …EVER is a sexual reference OK…

  17. A former cubmaster let his son wear his uniform shirt, stuffed with a pillow underneath so he could be a “fat cubmaster”. Even let him wear his Woodbadge neckerchief & woggle.

  18. Wow, sexual predators might buy a Scout uniform? Really?
    shaking head in amazement and an added eyeroll
    Get a grip! If you go down that rabbit hole then you should require an ID , letter of reference, verification of employment and a letter from your employer for nurse’s uniforms, priest’s frocks, police and security uniforms, lab coats, etc. — Check on Ebay- you had better outlaw folks from selling uniforms and patches there, too.
    Oh, and you’d better not take your kid to your relative’s house (as +80% of molestation is performed by a relative of the victim.
    If someone wants to buy a uniform (we are talking about over $100 by the time you add in patches) through the Scout Shop, go for it. Scouting gets the $$ and maybe a little face time among people that may (or may not) agree with the program.
    What is the old quote? Print what you want but spell my name right?
    Lighten up, folks, be glad that someone still thinks that Scouting is an icon.
    (I am curious why this blog has links to “Halloween Costumes” that lead to a commercial site – my troop page is not allowed to do that?)

  19. I see no problem with it. You can pick up scout uniforms second hand easily. This morning on our local radio call-in swap/trade program, someone was selling a shirt and pants set. I can see scout shops requiring ID to buy rank patches, etc., but other than that, clothes are clothes. You can get store bought clothes that look similar enough to pass as a scout uniform to non-scouting people. I think it’s way too PC and futile to try to restrict who buys scout shirts and pants.

  20. dressing up as a scout for halloween, i dunno. its a touchy subject. there are really two ways to look at this, one where the person dressing up is admiring scouting and showing scouting in a positive light; the other is that this person is wearing the uniform as a mockery and a joke.
    however, i find an exception in my own rational stated above. wearing an older vintage uniform that is not the current uniform, or even close to the current uniform style I think is okay as halloween costume. There are a great number of people out there who have old uniforms in their attics or closets that their fathers, uncles, grandfathers etc wore as children. With the economy being such as it is, and many people pinching pennies everywhere they can, a great number of costumes this year, especially in the area where i live, will come to children as second hand items.
    So with all that said, I guess you can say I am a bit on the fence on this issue. Being a scouter for over 10 years as a female adult, I dont think I would ever wear my uniform to anywhere except a scouting event or function within the guidelines as laid out by BSA national policy.

  21. Well, I have to admit I wore a Scout uniform as a Halloween costume one year when I was about 23. I coupled it w/ a glow-in-the-dark hockey mask and fake “bloody” machete. While I was not a registered member of the BSA at that time, the uniform, however, was mine. The patches and badges earned by me during my tenure as a youth member and adult leader. I wore it to a private Halloween party where there were less than a dozen or so attendees. I actually got several compliments when I told them it was my actual uniform.
    Now, in regards to others wearing it who are not, nor ever were members of the BSA, I do have an issue, especially if it’s being worn by women who are trying to sex it up. But I don’t have a problem w/ current/former BSA members doing so, especially if money is tight.

  22. I hope the shop that turns people away is doing so in a relational way and not just being watch dogs about it. It sounds like a good opportunity to tell people about what the uniform stands for. If I do see a kid or adult in a uniform that isn’t in scouting. I hope I have the opportunity to tell them how much the program has meant to my son and I. Perhaps the kind words will cause them to think more deeply about their choice.

  23. I don’t think that Boy Scout uniforms should be used as costumes, because if you put the uniform, you are expected to act like a boy scout, and be what a scout is, in the Scout Law…even if the person was a scout, it might not be appropriate, but that isn’t for me to say
    Maybe it would be okay if someone wore it as a costume IF it was altered with fake blood and other things to follow some theme or meaning, which doesn’t represent boy scouts…and if it didn’t have the badges or things on the uniform that means something or that needed to be earned….then it would probably be okay(under circumstances).

  24. I used to be a girl scout and I fully intend on using my old sash for my costume this year. I don’t understand at all how it’s a “mockery” and quite frankly people need to calm down.

  25. OK, from a different point of view, someone comes in, buys the uniform for a costume, goes and wears it, whether for good or bad, that’s publicity BSA couldn’t pay for or get the kids to do.

    Each extra uniform sold is profit in the programs pocket, eventually (I know, I’m really just dreaming) reducing the actual cost of said uniforms for those of us who do buy them.

    When the producers brought “stripes” to the army the army accepted it with a few changes and saw an increase in enrollment. Bill Murray wore a red jac-shirt adorned with extra patches it shouldn’t have as he tried to go AWOL and suddenly my jacket was something people were impressed by (even without the extra patches).

    As it is an adult could go in and purchase a uniform for a kid to wear as a costume and few scout shops would know. And how many units actually hand out membership cards to the kids anymore? What will stop someone who really wants one from finding one at a garage sale, at a thrift shop. Whether their plan is pride or prejudice, they can acquire one of the thousands discarded yearly.

    • We hand out the membership cards. We laminate them for them because most of them keep them in the front pocket of the shirt. I’ve seen the SPL look for them during monthly uniform inspections. We have had spirit awards for patrols who win the uniform inspection challenge and every point counts. Just keep it simple and fun.

      Your council should be providing them to your unit post recharger. If they are not, ask the question. Also for temp cards you can print them from the Scoutnet Internet Advancement site. I even think there is a way in the new my.scouting portal.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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).

  30. 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.

  31. 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!!!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

    • I strongly disagree with you, Erin. The Scouting field uniforms were designed for wear in connection with Scouting activities. They were never designed nor should be used for anything involving “play” even though the actions in Scouting are designed as a “game with a purpose”.

      “Trick or Treating” is not an inappropriate activity for Scouts and Scouters, Erin…I would venture to guess in several communities Pack or Troop activities this evening will involve some sort of “haunted house” or “campsite” and the telling of ghost stories or other assorted activities…if not for the yearly going around “begging for sweets”.

      The issue is whether we in the Scouting program in the United States treat our official uniforms as emblems of service and willingness to serve; or as simple overpriced “gym and activity clothing”. I would say — both as a parent as well as a Scouter — that the for the price of the uniform and accessories, it better be used as a service outfit and not as something I can let my kids go and cut up!!

      Nothing sacred, you’re right there…but something relatively expensive and should be used for what it’s intended, definitely. If you’re looking for something to wear for Trick or Treat, get a tan tee-shirt, draw some buttons and pockets on it, and draw what you think should go on the pockets. Volla!! Instant “Scout shirt”. And that’s perfectly fine with us — after all, everyone seeing it will realize that it’s NOT an official shirt…

      Happy Halloween!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    From pg 6: Article X, Section 4
    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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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.


      Insignia, Uniforms, and Badges
      Article X, Section 4
      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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

    • Joseph…may I please use the following statement in making public speaking engagements this next year, crediting you please. It is so important I wanted to not only ask you, but ask you in an open forum like this….

      You wrote in part: “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.”

      Scouting to me is something I AM: I am a Scouter. What I choose to wear this evening for Halloween and fun is something I am PRETENDING and playing a role.

      Thank you…that goes to the nub of this entire conversation. You can let me know by sending me email to settummanque@yahoo.com or kyblkeagle@aol.com

      Mike Walton

  48. 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??

  49. 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

  50. 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.

  51. Auto Correct correction:

    “Francisco Europe is their lives”
    In first paragraph should read:
    “Friends of Scouting Representatives”

    Please correct in post.

    Thank you.

  52. If, as some people have commented, the wearer is emulating a hero in their life, then I see nothing wrong with it and actually applaud it — the other side of the coin is that too many people look down on Scouts these days for reasons entirely out of their control, sending the image that Scouts and Scout leaders are in the same basket with monsters and deviants. If these people are wearing a uniform to spite the movement, then I abhor it. Unfortunately, no matter what Scouting policy may be, the First Amendment gives these individuals the right to express their misguided opinions.

  53. Not at National’s Prices!!! That’s just crazy… but to your point, I’m not bothered by thrift stores selling boy scout uniforms, nor am i bothered to see them used as costumes for anything from Community Theatre to Trick or Treaters..Its all wholesome publicity, which is FINE by me.

  54. I answer this question EVERY YEAR since 1997… here’s THIS YEAR’S….

    I have answered ELEVEN emails similar to the following yesterday and today (31 Oct 14):

    “I have run out of ideas for a Halloween costume for my son. Can I just dress him in his Cub Scout uniform and have him to go around the neighborhood for Trick or Treat?”

    While as a fellow parent, I have shared your frustrations; and I cannot tell you what to do in your parental role, I can firmly recommend that you DO NOT dress your son (or have him to dress — even with a mask over his face) — as a Cub Scout or Boy Scout to participate in the public display “rite” commonly called “Trick or Treat”.

    The Boy Scouts of America’s uniforms are NOT “costumes” — they serve a purpose and that purpose to outwardly show membership as part of the BSA.

    The BSA has kept rock and R&B stars from wearing Scouting uniforms on stage or during awards shows…and that is to protect the BSA’s “label” from being misaligned or abused. Sorry.

    I also tell parents “yes, they can wear their Scout uniform for the annual school photo op”, but they are not wearing a costume for show; they are wearing the uniform as a self-esteem and pride item. They are not wearing it “for fun” or pieces of candy or other treats. There’s the difference…

    Ufortunately, the BSA cannot and should not do anything about *parodies* of parts or the full uniform. We have had “almost Boy Scouts” and “almost Cub Scouts” for decades….but they did NOT wear the official BSA uniforms or uniform parts.

    To answer comments about the difference between wearing the BSA’s uniform for Halloween and selling Boy Scouting awards — there again is a big difference. The selling of 85 percent of the BSA’s insignia, flags banners and coinage is not only okay…but the BSA’s Supply Group is in on it through open sales of those items in their online and print catalogs.

    It is the selling or trading of *advancement awards* which the BSA (and me) frowns upon and why when I do sell an old Eagle Scout badge or an old WEBELOS Badge colors, that I am selling or trading it with someone entitled to the insignia. Most people who sell Scouting memorabilia are members of national patch trading associations which has a code of ethics dealing with such items…*smiling*

    I was going to post the link here earlier, but our firewall at work is acting up again…there is more discussion about this on the Badge and Uniform Site at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/celebs.htm

  55. It’s a free country. If someone wants to spend the money to dress up like a Cub Scout or Boy Scout, they have the right to do so. I can’t say as though I have ever seen anyone want to do that, but they certainly have the right. I don’t see the military coming down and saying “Don’t dress up like soldiers”. This scout store has over stepped their bounds both legally and ethically.

  56. Our entire Pack dressed up as zombies and wore or scout shirts while we marched in a local parade.. The bits passed out candy while I passed out invitations to visit the Pack and talk to interested parents. It was one of the most successful recruiting events I ever planned. I’d rather a Scout or non scout dress up as a Scout and promote the organization than have Scouts and leaders in our out of uniform acting innapropriatly. Let’s focus on the real problems…recruitment/retention, sustainability etc…

  57. One of our Life Scouts marched in the band’s Halloween performance playing his trumpet while correctly wearing full uniform and carrying a stuffed internal frame pack on his back in the middle of a downpour. This same Scout wears his traditional red jacket to school. He’s just that proud to be a Scout. Can’t imagine why that would be a problem.

  58. I think they shouldn’t sell them, then people will think there in cubscouts. And scouting is an inmportant thing to many child.

  59. Once I saw a 12 yr old older sister of a scout wearing a tan field shirt (ie class A). I was uphauled..ie felt she was not taking the uniform seriously…and it was not hers to wear at all. And did I mention it was not Halloween? She was sporting it to sport it.

  60. If a registered cub scout wears his uniform as a costume for Halloween, do youth protection rules apply? I think so. I don’t know if cubs are more likely to be victumes of bad guys than other Halloween kids but as a registered leader I feel slightly more obligated to protect the youth scout. Thoughts?

  61. First of all consider the reason for the season, Its All Hollows eve(all Saints day), to use the uniform to mock religious beliefs mocks scouting at the same time, however a real live scout wearing one and doing scoutlike activities such as protecting younger children trick or treating would be a good deed hence a valid scouting activity, as for cubs either act like the saint you are wearing the uniforrm of or do the devilish behaviour out of uniform and have a good timeBut a scout shouldleve the bag behind rather than appear to be doing a good geed in return for sweeties!

  62. As a a Scoutmaster and a father of 3 boys that have all been in cub scouts since they were tigers and are all three in boy scouts , I have bought many Cub and Boy Scout uniforms. As we all know they are not cheap, so if someone is stupid enough to buy a scout shirt, neckecheif and a few patches (because without patched noone will believe your a scout), them let them. They might think it’s cool enough to actually join scouts (doubt it but it could happen) or the uniform will end up at a Goodwill and an actual Scout will save a money on a uniform.

  63. The Scout uniform should NEVER be sold for use as a Halloween costume. The Scout uniform, or any part of it, should never be worn by any persons other than current members of the movement and which represent their current status in the Boy Scouts of America. The Scout uniform is an integral element of the Scouting program and should only be worn by current members. I can think of nothing more disrespectful of the BSA or its members than for its uniforms and insignia to be used as a mere “prop” in a movie, play, vignette, or any holiday celebration. For the record, I believe that the position of the BSA is in line with what I just expressed and would never knowingly sell the BSA uniforms for use as a “costume”.

  64. I dress as a scout every Halloween.. My as do the other leaders in the my troop… the boys on the other hand dress in costume, most of them.. We have participated in the church trunk or treat for many years..

  65. There are companies that manufacture military themed costumes and they usually end up looking clearly *not* official. Maybe they should create Scout themed costumes that are clearly *not* official. Problem solved.

  66. I agree with the Scout Shop. Scout uniforms are NEVER considered a costume. If these boys want to wear scout uniforms, it would behoove them to JOIN a scouting unit. I have 4 grandson: 1 Eagle Scout and 3 working on towards their Eagle….. and it is insulting to me to think that ANYONE would dishonor the Scout Uniform in this manner.

  67. I’m not sure why so many posts state that kids dressing up as scouts only do so to mock scouting. What kids are dressing up as things they think are ridiculous?? Kids dress up as the things and people they like and admire and look up to. Maybe a cub scout aspires to be an Eagle scout some day. I would definitely support that costume.

  68. I work for the BSA and my son wore his scout uniform with fake blood all over it 2 years ago bc of the Boy Scout zombie movie that came out. It makes no difference to me if someone wears their uniform or buys one to wear if they’re not a scout.

  69. Can’t imagine spending scout uniform prices for a costume but are we offended by it?? Seriously? We let kids dress as doctors and the AMA hasn’t complained.

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