A special Halloween costume

Published October 21, 2010

Our green sea turtle, Calypso, became costume inspiration for 4-year-old Gabe last Halloween. As three-year members, Gabe’s family visits the Aquarium quite often, making a trip once every five weeks. Through these frequent visits, Gabe has had time to explore many of the underwater creatures at the Aquarium.

Out of all the interesting animals Gabe has encountered, he is most fascinated with Calypso. Calypso is unlike the other aquatic animals because she has only three flippers. Calypso is a rescued turtle that was stranded off the coast of Long Island, New York, in 2000. The female turtle was suffering from a condition called cold stunning, which is similar to hypothermia in humans. Turtle body temperatures normally range from 76° to 80° Fahrenheit, but Calypso’s body was only a frigid 40.7° Fahrenheit. Additionally, one of her flippers was found to have a severe infection, and had to be amputated. Due to the amputation, Calypso had a low chance of surviving in the wild, so the National Aquarium adopted her and made the Wings in the Water habitat her permanent home. Although Calypso has only three flippers now, she is still very active. She leads a healthy life by munching on greens regularly. Gabe likes to watch her eat lettuce during feeding time. He also enjoys watching Calypso glide through the water with the other animals in the exhibit, including rays, sharks and several fish species. Gabe’s costume idea became a reality after his school, and particularly his art teacher, agreed to help with the construction of it. The body of the costume was made out of papier-mâché. A matching camouflage hat and green sweatsuit completed the turtle look. The costume turned out wonderfully, and Gabe loved being his favorite animal for Halloween!

Has an aquatic animal ever been the inspiration for your Halloween costume? If so, send your story and pictures to media@aqua.org and we'll post them on our blog!
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