The Inspiration

As a kid, my family took a vacation to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Ever the creative (or annoying) kids, my big brother and I made up the running joke that “Smokey Bear doesn’t like chickens” (weird, I know) basically to dare each other to run through that cave or jump off that rock or touch that bug, etc. etc. Now as adults, we still joke that Smokey Bear doesn’t like chickens. It sometimes goes over well, depending on the real-life situation. When he was nervous about asking his future wife to marry him and looking for support, probably not the best time to drop that line. :)

With his first kid on the way, this was the year to throwback to childhood one last time.

The Set-Up

I’m in the camp that comfort is key on Halloween, as well as easy access to any liquids consumed. Hence, no bear mask. I’m also not that crafty with sewing, so finding the right pieces is all the fun!

The main purchased pieces: cheap Ranger Hat, outrageously comfy oversized bear paws, ridiculous yet practical bear feet, and for a very cool touch (and gift from mom) a vintage Smokey Bear belt buckle found on e-bay. Then I added those pieces to stuff in my closet. I pulled a brown shirt, jeans, belt, and fur vest. My last piece of set-up was just cutting out the letters for “Smokey” from brown felt, gluing them on to the hat with fabric glue, and drawing a little black bear nose with cheap Halloween face paint.

Only YOU can prevent forest fires!

People loved this costume. The local establishment named me the winner of their costume contest (glory and gift cards!). A stranger who was smoking outside even said, “I’ll put this out for you, Smokey” and put out the cigarette. This costume helps people quit smoking! :)  And best of all, my brother and I got to have a good laugh about our old vacation game and the heart attacks we likely caused our parents.