Costumes to Avoid This Halloween to Prevent Neck Pain

By Savanna Stone

man holding boombox

Halloween is fun for almost everyone. Whether or not they should, adults get to be kids again and kids get to eat all the candy they want. Everyone can be anything they want: their hero, their enemy, their friend, a joke. Unfortunately, the one thing we aren’t free from on Halloween is the pain of lugging around a bag of candy and dealing with the poor costume choices that made us itch all night or gave us neck pain and back pain. Instead of dealing with the pain this year, prevent it by choosing your costumes wisely. Instead of giving up on childhood this year, learn what is causing your pain. Here are the worst costumes you could wear this Halloween and how to tweak them so you can still be whomever you want to be:


There is nothing wrong with Moana. In fact, I don’t take issue with any of the characters in this post. But if you dress up like Moana, you might think it is a good idea to wear flip-flops1 as a cheap option to sandals. Having to hold flip-flops on with your toes changes the way you walk and the way you hold yourself. Flip-flops alter your posture and cause you to walk with stiff muscles, which can cause you to have pain all the way up your spine. Flip-flops can irritate your spine especially when you’re walking miles on Halloween to get pounds of candy. Instead of flip-flops, consider wearing sandals with backs. You or your child, whoever wants to be Moana, will be happier for the smarter decision. 

Minnie Mouse:

Minnie Mouse wears high heels, and if you’re going all out to dress up like her, so will you. But you shouldn’t. Wearing high heels causes your pelvis to tilt forward, which causes back pain and potentially neck pain as well. Altering your posture like this for a long period of time will hurt you, especially if you spend all night in the wrong position. You can still dress up like Minnie, but try wearing a pair of flats instead, especially if you plan on going trick-or-treating. 


If you decide to be a DJ and carry a boombox on one shoulder, it might hurt your neck after awhile. Having to strain your muscles on one side for too long can change your posture and increase pain. It can also put strain on your neck and upper back muscles when you’re lifting the boombox/stereo and while it’s on your neck. If you can’t go the night without a heavy boombox, make sure you switch shoulders that you carry it on often. 

A Millennial:

If you want to dress up as a millennial and look down at your phone all night to play the part, consider something else. You shouldn’t be a millennial partly because you should be able to pick something a lot more interesting and partly because looking down for long periods of time causes neck strain and pain. This one isn’t worth it.

Harry Potter:

First let me say that you should dress up like Harry Potter or any wizard for that matter because you should take any chance you get to be a witch or wizard. But wearing the necktie2 too tight that goes along with the Hogwarts attire can lead to less range of motion in your neck and can increase tension in your back, neck, and shoulders. If you can’t slip a few fingers between your tie and your neck, you should loosen it a bit. But don’t let a tie stop you from being Harry Potter. Just wear your tie a bit looser so you can be a part of the magic of the night.

A Princess:

If you’re dressing up like a princess or possibly a gangster (both wear heavy necklaces), buy light, cheap necklaces for your costume. Because your neck already has to support the weight of your head, adding a heavy necklace will cause your head to be out of balance and can cause tension, pain, damage, and poor posture.


Catwoman is cool and sexy, but clothes that are too tight make it difficult for you to move naturally. Bending over might cause problems if your pants are so tight that you can’t bend your knees. To compensate for trying to walk normally, your muscles stiffen up and cause you pain. If you want to wear something that is form-fitting, just make sure it isn’t so tight that you can’t move around normally and that it doesn’t cut off your circulation. 

Santa Claus:

Some people think it’s funny to dress up as Santa for Halloween. It’s also convenient because you get to put your candy in your Santa bag. But it’s the Santa bag (or anyone’s candy bag for that matter) that will strain your neck and shoulders. While you’re carrying around your bag of toys, alter your hands as you carry it around so that the extra weight of the bag is evenly distributed.

Have fun this Halloween with these pain prevention tips so that you can still dress up as whoever you want to be, even if it’s a millennial.