Costume ideas perfect for Tampa Bay Halloween 2020

How to be a rising superhero, the “Bending Arc” at the St. Pete Pier or a Rays “fan.”
Halloween costumes, clockwise from left: Stephanie Hayes as a murder hornet, Christopher Spata as Rays fans and Gabrielle Calise as "Bending Arc."
Halloween costumes, clockwise from left: Stephanie Hayes as a murder hornet, Christopher Spata as Rays fans and Gabrielle Calise as "Bending Arc." [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Published Oct. 7, 2020|Updated Oct. 7, 2020

None of us are planning to go to Halloween parties. Trick-or-treating is up for debate all over the Tampa Bay area. But 2020 has offered up such a bounty of costume ideas that we couldn’t help but get dressed up with nowhere to go.

Here are the six best costume ideas we had time to make along with what you need to do it yourself.

Stephanie Hayes as a murder hornet.
Stephanie Hayes as a murder hornet. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Murder hornet

Materials used and approximate cost: Wear all black and add yellow hornet stripes with duct tape, $4.39 at Publix. Add some costume wings and antennae, $12.99 at Spirit Halloween. Top the whole thing off with the famous movie killer of your choice, such as this Jason mask and machete, $4.99 and $12.99 at Spirit Halloween.

In the wild ride of 2020, let’s not forget about the pestilence. Murder hornets, a.k.a. Asian giant hornets, a.k.a. the world’s largest hornets, have been spotted in the United States multiple times this year. They’ll attack humans if provoked but are really more of a threat to honeybees, which they love to decapitate for food. It’s a real buzzkill. Get it?

Maggie Duffy as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Maggie Duffy as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg/Notorious RBG

Materials used and approximate cost: Judge’s robe, $19.99; plastic judge’s gavel, $5.99; royal crown, $5, all from Halloween City (1900 Tyrone Blvd., St. Petersburg). Find some cheap, black, thick-framed glasses and button earrings. A beaded collar necklace similar to her iconic jabot came from Artpool gallery ($45, I splurged), but many less expensive options can be found at Wear workout clothes with sneakers under the robe as a nod to RBG’s commitment to fitness.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in September was yet another epic letdown that 2020 thrust upon us. In her long career as a justice, she wielded her gavel like a hammer of justice in the fight for equality and feminism. The bold jewelry and accessories that she wore to make statements from the bench have become symbols synonymous with her individuality and tenacity. A 2015 book, The Notorious R.B.G.: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, featured a cover image likening her to the rapper the Notorious B.I.G. The image has become as iconic as Ginsburg herself.

Christopher Spata as Rays fans.
Christopher Spata as Rays fans. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
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Rays fan cutout

Materials used and approximate cost: Any local print shop that does large-format printing can print a custom photo on a fan cutout on cardboard or a more durable plastic for around $25 to $50. Or you can upload a photo to, where they start at $19.99 plus shipping. The less expensive, do-it-yourself route is to bust out some cardboard boxes and markers. A box cutter will serve you better than scissors. We had three printed, and cut the face out of one of them. The baseball was just something we had lying around.

There were no spectators at Tropicana Field when the Rays played this season, but the team allowed fans to “be there” as the Rays played their way to their first AL East division title since 2010 by purchasing flat fan cutouts of themselves to be placed in the seats. What could be more Halloween 2020 than rooting for your own cardboard cutout to be decapitated by a foul ball as you watch on TV from home.

Natalie Weber as Carole Baskin.
Natalie Weber as Carole Baskin. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Carole Baskin

Materials used and approximate cost: Wear a shirt with cheetah print (about $13 at Walmart) and jeans. If blond isn’t your hair color, you can get a wig for about $6 at Walmart. Also, wear a flower crown ($5 at Party City), tiger face mask ($10 at Howl-O-Scream) and carry around a tiger stuffed animal.

As COVID-19 shutdowns began sweeping the country, many turned to Tiger King as a distraction. While the Netflix docuseries focused more broadly on the tensions between zoo owner Joe Exotic and Tampa big cat rescuer Carole Baskin, many left the show with one question: Did Baskin kill her first husband, Don Lewis? In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Baskin said she felt the series' producers misled her. Meanwhile, locals have renewed efforts to solve the mystery of Lewis' death and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister assigned new deputies to the case.

Monique Welch as Shuri.
Monique Welch as Shuri. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Shuri of ‘Black Panther’

Materials used and approximate cost: $30 polyester costume, with versions available at Party City and on Amazon.

Shuri, the fictional superhero and princess of Wakanda from the 2018 film Black Panther, is an especially topical costume in the wake of the death of Chadwick Boseman, who played the title character, and speculation on the franchise. This costume resembles the suit she wore during a battle against Killmonger, the film’s villain. Some speculate that Shuri will inherit the crown — and the power.

Gabrielle Calise as The Bending Arc, for Halloween.
Gabrielle Calise as The Bending Arc, for Halloween. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

The ‘Bending Arc’ sculpture at the new St. Pete Pier

Materials used and approximate cost: Sculpt a foundation for the sculpture by hot gluing floral stem wire ($5.99 at Joann Fabric and Craft Stores) to two foam dowels ($12.99 for a set of three). Add layers of hot pink, orange and red tulle ($1.50 to $3 per yard depending on the thickness) to create the look of the sculpture as it glows against a black night sky. Secure with hot glue and paper clips. (Another set of hands is helpful for this process.) Accessorize with dark clothing, a mask that looks like the St. Pete flag ($10 at Old Southeast Market) and the pink eye shadow you stress-bought during the first week of quarantine.

The St. Pete Pier district opened this summer to much fanfare. But perhaps the most talked-about portion of the new landmark was Bending Arc, an aerial sculpture by Janet Echelman that welcomes visitors at the Pier approach. By day, 180 miles of knotted twine sway in the breeze. By night, colorful LED lights transform the hanging net into a floating, ethereal spectacle. This Halloween, don’t just Instagram the glowing net thing. Become the glowing net thing. Then get ready to hear “You look like 2.8 million bucks!”