Most New York City subway riders — and metro riders in other cities around the world — have been pretty good about complying with face mask mandates, donning properly protective cloth and surgical masks over their mouths and noses.
But a standout few — whether out of necessity or rebellion — have been a bit more creative in their face coverings, resulting in some questionable looks that are not always entirely effective.
The SubwayCreatures Instagram account, which has over two million followers, has documented some of the funniest and most bizarre mask alternatives to make it onto public transportation.
Some interpret the word ‘mask’ a bit too loosely, wearing Halloween masks, batting helmets, and beekeeper hats on their heads.
Others are forgoing actual face masks (and health precautions) altogether, fitting upturned shopping bags, women’s underwear, shorts, plastic lids, and even plastic buckets over their faces.
Raining in here? Most New York City subway riders — and metro riders in other cities around the world — have been pretty good about complying with face mask mandates. But not all
Bottom of the barrel: The SubwayCreatures Instagram account has documented some of the most bizarre mask alternatives, like these shorts-turned-mask
Crazy ideas: This man appears to have put a bucket on his head
Knock knock, anyone there? The woman can’t possible be comfortable with a wooden crate over her head
Paper or plastic? Some people have simply plopped shopping bags over their heads
Creative: This mask alternative took quite a bit of DIYing
On-the-nose: Some people have taken to wearing plague doctor costumes
Not the point: Unfortunately, this mask likely has a hole in the mouth so the person can talk — which renders it ineffective against viruses
Beach-ready! One man appears to have cut a hole in one of his wife’s old swimsuits and pulled it over his face
Hosting a dinner party? Another NYC subway rider tossed a tablecloth over her head, but may have some trouble seeing
Almost there! This mask would actually work, despite the odd design, if it was pulled up over the man’s nose
Sexy! Some wild and crazy guys are wearing women’s underwear over their faces
Glass case of emotion! This could work, we guess, but we don’t see how it’s more comfortable than a mask
Jokester: This clown is having fun with face coverings while playing fast and loose with others’ lives
Masculinity: Interestingly enough, the only people who appear to be wearing women’s underwear on their faces are men
Scientifically unsound: The CDC hasn’t specifically commented on using paper bags instead of masks, but they certainly don’t meant the criteria
Why even bother? A few people have strapped plastic lids to their faces, which does literally nothing for anyone and just makes them look ridiculous
Ouch! This bizarre mask would do more harm than good if the person wearing it is bumping into things
According to the CDC, masks should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
Vroom vroom! While this helmet looks cooler than some of the other items here, the gaps mean it’s not stopping germs from stpreading
Pandemic making him stir-crazy? The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be making some people more secure in looking nuts
Word to the wise: Fastening a tissue over your face isn’t doing anything
Bubble girl: A few people are taking no chances and creating even bigger barriers between themselves and others
Wrap ’em up! Plastic wrap, garbage bags, and other questionable materials have been spotted as mask substitutes
Lookin’ good: This man seems to have thought wearing swim goggles and a funnel were better than just wearing a mask
Well, it is October! Now is the perfect time to wear a Halloween mask — as long as tehre aren’t mouth holes for air to escape and get in
Snap snap! Many of the more bizarre looks have made it to the internet thanks to the stealth photos of social media users
Varying degrees of protection: At first glance, this (on the left) looks like a gas mask — but it’s actually Monster Energy drink cans. The right is a real gas mask
Strike! This man’s batting helmet is totally unnecessary — but at least he is wearing a mask
Buzz-worthy! Some people have been spotted in beekeeper uniforms
One question: How does this woman even see in this?
Strike a pose! Apparently, women aren’t the only ones using masks as a fashion statement
What is he proving? Seems like this man would have been more comfortable and looked less silly in a normal mask
Global problems:While many of the account’s photos are from New York, some have popped up from other cities around the world
Where did this woman get this cute outfit? From Macy’s, probably
It’s a look: The garbage bag may be doing some protecting here, but the rainbow tulle is just style, baby
Creepy! These men both have distinct styles, but appear to have gravitated toward the same type of metallic grille
Creative! This woman didn’t just pull a garbage bag over her head — she fashioned it to stay in place and leave her eyes exposed
Busting out: This man’s wife may be wondering where one of her bras went
Forgetting something? These superhero wannabees are super missing the point of wearing a mask
How to select and wear a mask
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear masks in public settings with people who don’t live in their household.
Masks should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. Fabrics that are hard to breathe through, like vinyl, are not recommended.
Masks should completely cover the nose and mouth, and fit snugly against the sides of the face and under the chin, without any gaps.
Exhalation valves or vents, which can allow virus particles to escape, are not recommended.
Gaiters and face shields may be worn in addition to masks, but their effectiveness as the only form of protection are not known at this time.
People should wash their hands before putting on their masks, and should not touch the mask while wearing it.
Masks are ineffective when worn under the nose and/or mouth, along the neck, or across the forehead.