Thursday, February 29, 2024

Avoid delays: A few tips for those flying on or before Halloween

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of TSA)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of TSA)

Halloween is Saturday so if you’re planning on flying before or on that day, you might want to pay attention to these tips from the Transportation Security Administration.


The TSA hopes that everyone will be wearing a mask at the checkpoint this Halloween, but by that the agency is referring to masks designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks can be as colorful as you like—featuring pumpkins, candy corn, superheroes, scary witches or something spookier. Note that TSA officers will ask you to remove all masks momentarily—costume masks or pandemic masks—to help verify your identity when you arrive at the travel document checking podium. Since your Halloween mask may trigger an alarm, it’s best to slip that mask on after you finish going through checkpoint screening.


TSA officers enjoy the creativity of a good Halloween costume as much as anyone, but please keep in mind that a costume may trigger an alarm at the checkpoint body scanner, which could result in the need for a pat-down, so our recommendation is to consider putting on your costume after you pass through a security checkpoint.

Halloween props add to costumes, but about that pitchfork, witch’s broom and chainsaw…

It’s important to remember that realistic replica props that enhance a Halloween costume definitely add to the spirit of the holiday, but realistic replica weapons are not permitted through a checkpoint. Best to pack your replica scythes, pitch forks, chainsaws, brooms, butcher knives, axes, swords and the like in your checked bags. If you’re planning to bring replica explosives such as bombs or grenades in your checked or carry-on bag, the TSA will need to treat them like they are real until it can be determined otherwise. So do keep in mind that bringing along these weapon-like props are likely to slow you down at the checkpoint. Plus, you’re introducing the added risk that your checked bag may not make it on the flight.

It’s okay to feed your sweet tooth

There’s no limit to how much candy you can bring in either carry-on or checked baggage. However, if you were planning to wash it down with a pumpkin spiced latte, buy the latte after you finish going through security.

No need to travel in a fog

If you’re unsure whether an item should go in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither, no need to be foggy about the answer. Download the free myTSA app to access the “Can I bring?” feature. Type in the item to find out where you should pack it. Or, send the TSA your question via Twitter at @AskTSA.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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