We are getting close to Halloween and even though the pandemic is going make this Halloween a different experience than in years past, kids (and adults) everywhere are still going to dress up and have a great time. Being a karate instructor, every year I get the same question asked: can I wear my karate uniform as a costume? Often, I don’t get asked, I just see kids around the neighborhood wearing their uniforms as the trick or treat. Of course, you can wear your uniform as a costume, but the correct question is, should you? And the answer to that question is no you should not. Martial arts are one of those things that are more than just an activity. The uniform (gi, do bohk, etc) has a traditional and cultural background that should be respected and therefore only be worn for its intended purpose, to wear during martial arts training.
All that being said, there are some great karate related costumes out there and, in this article, I would like to offer my favorites. All of the following are costumes and sold as such.
Definitely a classic and not seen very often anymore. It is also a very easy costume to assemble with the one-piece jump suit. Keep the nunchucks at home though, unless they are plastic, or some kind of replica not intended for actual use (same rule applies as mentioned above, not to mention kids and weapons and candy don’t mix just like adults and beer and weapons don’t mix). It might not be a great kids costume (Bruce Lee who?) unless you are this kid:
Another great costume that has stood the test of time. Many, many different options such as color and style. Same caution as above when it comes to weapons, I would opt for no weapons even if they are fake or plastic. Kids always find a way to use them inappropriately.
This is a very similar costume to the ninja although a bit more intricate. Once again, I would opt for the weaponless version although samurai were known as swordsmen. A flexible or foam sword would be your best option.
Rex Kwon Do Instructor
Not likely any kids will get this Napoleon Dynamite costume but if you are that one kid who pulls it off and gets one adult to get it and crack up claiming you have the best costume ever, it makes it all worth it (you’ll still get the same amount of candy). It’s also a great costume for that dad who gets the honor of chaperoning the kids on Halloween. I actually wore this costume to a Halloween party in 2005. I would lend it to any interested readers, but my wife made me through it out a few years ago. Oh well, forget about it!
With the smash hit of the Netflix series Cobra Kai, there will undoubtedly be many Karate Kid costumes this year. If you are a fan of the original like me, you could not be more thrilled than to see a bunch of cute kids sporting Karate Kid costumes. The Karate Kid was unquestionably of one the reasons I started in martial arts as it inspired kids everywhere to learn karate. When doing Daniel-San costumes be sure to include the head band and myagi-do patch on the back. Better yet, do a throwback to the original movie and be the human shower.
Why be Larusso when you can be Johhny Lawrence of Cobra Kai? Bad guy costumes are always better, right? There are several great Johnny costumes from his Cobra Kai gi, his skeleton costume from the original, or his awesome 80s leather jacket from the beach scene when he first encounters Daniel. The best thing about being Johnny this year is that in the new Cobra Kai show he is somewhat of a good guy and you can kind of relate to him.
If you need any more incentive to be Johnny this year (or next), here is a great video arguing that he was actually the good guy in the original movie and Daniel was the bad guy. Just something to think about…
On a side note, I am such a karate nerd that when people ask if I have seen the new Cobra Kai show on Netflix I say no, I saw both seasons over a year ago when it was originally on YouTube Red. I got the one-month free subscription to YouTube Red just to binge watch the show. Then I canceled the subscription. Sorry YouTube.
Well, regardless of what you decide to wear for Halloween, even if you plan on just dressing up along with your 15 month old for a few hours prior to 7pm bedtime, be safe out there, especially under these unique circumstances.