TSA Issues New Alert on What You Can't Take Through Security
Keep these tips in mind this week especially, the agency warned in a new press release.
The holiday season is fast approaching, with Thanksgiving and December celebrations right around the corner. But before we prep our turkeys and trim the tree, we need to round out spooky season—and you may be traveling for a Halloween bash or a festive fall getaway. If you plan to don a costume during your travels, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a few tips to share with you. Read on to find out which costume components and Halloween staples can't come with you through security.
The agency wants to keep the holiday fun and safe.
In an Oct. 27 pun-filled press release, TSA shared a few key warnings ahead of Halloween, but also noted they're not looking to spoil your fun.
"Despite TSA's no-pranking security practices, costumed passengers don't need to worry about stifling their holiday spirit," the release reads. "TSA Officers will screen all boo-tifully dressed travelers, but keep in mind we are still haunting down any prohibited items."
To save you and your fellow travelers time at the airport, the agency flagged items that can't come through security, as well as what you need to be aware of if you're actually traveling in costume.
Stow certain props in checked luggage.
If your costume is particularly spooky, it might include some seemingly sinister accessories. However, anything that looks like a weapon could get you flagged at security—even if it's fake.
"A costume prop is eerie-sistible but fake (or real) knives, hatchets, pitchforks, light sabers, brooms, swords and scythes must be placed in checked baggage," the agency's release states. "Never pack any explosive replicas, including grenades, bombs or rocket launchers, since these are all prohibited items in both carry-on and checked bags."
In the press release, TSA shared photos of recently confiscated items, including sai swords—which are popular with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes—that were removed from a carry-on earlier this year. A replica hand grenade was also removed from a traveler's carry-on, as was a fake bullet-lined belt.
Liquid rules still apply, too.
During the rush and excitement of any holiday, it's easy to forget some of the rules we typically follow. However, TSA stressed that the 3-1-1 rule still applies to "homebrewed potions and lotions."
"This means if traveling with a liquid, gel, cream, paste or lotion (including fake blood) each item can only be 3.4 ounces or less and must fit into a plastic quart-sized bag if being carried through a security checkpoint," the release explains. "If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, the rule applies. Larger quantities of liquids should be packed in a checked bag."
This applies to candy in liquid form too, but if you're traveling with solid, bite-size pieces for trick-or-treaters, you're good to bring that through. TSA just asks that you take any large bags out of your carry-on so that officers "can easily identify it's not something more sinister than sugary sweets."
Capes and masks are OK in your carry-on.
When making your way through the checkpoint, leave any sort of mask in your carry-on so that TSA agents can properly ID you. The agency added that you should wait to apply full face makeup for the same reason.
"If your Halloween garb includes a mask, it's best not to wear it through security," the release reads. "Passengers wearing masks at the checkpoint will be asked to remove it so TSA Officers can properly ID them. Masks are fine when placed in a carry-on bag and can be put back on after going through the checkpoint."
While you're at it, stow any sort of Batman or Dracula-inspired cape in your carry-on as well.
"A super hero without a cape often spells disaster, but when passing through a security checkpoint, please place capes in a carry-on bag or bin until the screening process is complete," the release reads. "A cape could trigger an alarm at the body scanner, resulting in a longer security process."
The policy on jack-o'-lanterns might surprise you.
While TSA doesn't recommend "juggling a jack-o-lantern through security," the agency does allow it. Both decorated and carved pumpkins can come with you through a security checkpoint, as long as they're stowed in a carry-on.
Yet again, it's important to note that other pumpkin products—like liquid pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin butters that are creamy or spreadable—can only be 3.4 ounces in size and must be placed in a resealable liquid bag. Anything bigger than that needs to be in checked luggage.
At the end of the day, if you're not sure what you can take with you, reach out to TSA on X or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. You can also get answers by texting "Travel" to AskTSA (275-872).