Operators love Halloween. You get to dress up and pretend you’re something you’re not and nobody can make fun of you for it. Sure, it might not be as fun as pretending to be DevGru at your local airsoft game, but at least you won’t get heckled.
As an operator, choosing a costume can be tough. Your getup will set the tone for the rest of your evening. Do you choose something scary, and make children cry? Or do you wear a funny outfit, which still somehow inadvertently makes children cry?
Well, wonder no more. Here’s our breakdown of the 5 most dynamic costume ideas for real operators.
1. Instructor Zero
A good Instructor Zero costume is sure to be a hit with the ladies at your coworker Jim’s Halloween party for several reasons. First off, they’ll love your Italian accent. If you can’t do an Italian accent, just mumble something that nobody understands and pretend it’s part of the costume. Nobody knows what Instructor Zero is saying anyway.
Secondly, the ultra-skinny pants enable you to show off your well-toned thighs and calves that you have developed by running after cardboard targets hanging from PVC pipe.
Third, if you bring your own shot timer you can amaze your colleagues with super-fast trick shots inside in Jim’s backyard! Just make sure you run away before the cops show up, then blame it on the real Instructor Zero.
Key Costume Items: Softshell jacket that was cool in 2012, big fake beard, reflective sunglasses, skinny jeans, and some real guns that you pass off as fakes. You’ll be a hit!
2. The Douchebag Who Wears His Own Body Armor From His Time in the Military as a Costume
So it’s 30 minutes prior to the Halloween party. You’ve been drinking all day and forgot about Jim’s party tonight. Not to worry! Just grab that plate carrier out of the closet, throw on some kneepads and Crye pants, and just go as the douchebag who dresses up in his own body armor!
Sure, you don’t really have a response when people ask “so what’s your costume?” To be honest, you’ve been wearing the same thing for three years and you still don’t know what exactly your costume is. But fuck it, at least you’re out of the house.
The drinks are free, you’re wearing UCP, and there’s a woman in the corner making eyes at you. Or did she smell the lingering, 5-year old Afghanistan sweat in your plate carrier? Fuck it, you’re going for it.
Key Costume Items: Old Body Armor, Dogtags, and an underdeveloped sense of shame.
3. The Father You Never Had
Maybe your father was also an operator, away on secret missions (or just the National Training Center) for months at a time, stopping by once in a while with a cigar in his mouth to say “hey kid, get me a beer.”
Or maybe he was a blue-collar guy, working long hours down at the Ford factory before it closed down and he was laid off, and then wasn’t around much because he didn’t like responsibility, and didn’t want to get tied down by your mom, who just complained all the time about his drinking and smoking and peeing with the seat up.
Or maybe he was a big-rig driver, always on the road, going from one town to the next, stopping along the way to arm wrestle, and he didn’t have the time to take you under his wing and teach you how to be a man and sleep in a truck.
By the time you were 17 all you wanted to do was make him proud so you stepped up and joined the military or your local MilSim chapter or started watching YouTube videos and yeah, you became an operator. Was it to impress the father you never had? You’re goddamn right it was.
Key Costume Items: 90’s Clothing, Baseball Cap, Guilt
4. Travis Haley in the Prone
It’s no secret that Travis Haley loves the prone. He likes to get down into it quickly and dynamically. He arguably revolutionized the position and convinced operators everywhere to put their mags on the ground as a stabilizing monopod.
This costume does require some serious commitment, though. On the one hand, you need to have the Travis Haley costume down to a T. That means investing some serious money. Arc’Teryx base layers cost a pretty penny, and shaving your face baby-smooth is going to be a bitch, especially because you have no jawline to speak of.
Then, you’ll have to stay in the prone position with a rifle basically all night long. While you can change poses (say, from laying on your belly to lying on your side) you have to make sure that every time you switch positions you do it dynamically and that it’s an acceptable firing position. If you do that, this costume is sure to be a big hit.
Key Costume Items: Arc’Teryx long-sleeve base layers and pants, hair from 2002, dynamic elbows.
5. Navy SEAL
Navy SEALS are some of the most highly-trained warriors out there. Their reputation as ferocious fighters is well-earned. Some of the most decorated men who have ever fought for our country have been Navy SEALS. Many books have been written about their heroics, and any Barnes and Noble Military section will be filled with hardcovers displaying tridents. You can learn about their warrior ethos, comradery, and read 50 different accounts of the same BUD/S training from those books.
SEALs definitely have a variety of uniform and gear options to choose from. In the early days of Navy Underwater Demolition teams, they went to war wearing nothing but a pair of dive shorts and a knife, which they would use to prep beaches in advance of Allied landings.
Later on, as their mission changed and they began carrying real weapons, the uniform of a Navy SEAL changed to fit their environment. They have some of the most high-tech guns and armor around, specially developed for the Teams for the most top-secret missions in the most non-permissive environments.
From the mountains of Afghanistan (they made a movie about this) to pirate ships off the coast of Somalia (they made a movie about this too) to Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan (they made the best operator movie of all time about this), Navy SEALs get the job done while looking fabulous.
Key Costume Items: Shorts and a Sailor’s Cap. Shirts are optional after you graduate BUD/S, but be warned: if your hair isn’t perfectly groomed, you won’t convince anybody.