How to Create Sustainable Halloween Costumes And Have a Green Halloween

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A Spookingly-Green Halloween & A Guide to Sustainable Costumes

For many, Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year. It's the perfect opportunity to get creative, dress up and eat yummy treats with your friends. That being said, Halloween can be largely wasteful, primarily due to accumulating costumes and disposable decor. In this article, we'll cover how to create sustainable Halloween costumes and have a more green Halloween all around. 

Why is Halloween Unsustainable? 

Halloween is a relatively unsustainable holiday due to the amount of single-use items used in traditional celebrations. Most conventional Halloween decor is made from plastic materials and thrown out immediately after the holiday. 

When it comes to costumes, the traditional norm has been to buy a new costume for each year. People typically buy brand new costumes from chain superstores that aren't made sustainably and that they usually never wear again. 

For Trick or Treaters, most households put out candy unsustainably made by large corporations. These corporations produce large amounts of Halloween branded candy that just goes to waste after October 31st. 

Thankfully, you don't need to forgo Halloween celebrations to be sustainable. There are numerous ways you can celebrate Halloween without having a negative environmental impact. 

How to Have a "Green Halloween" 

Reuse or DIY Decorations 

One of the most unsustainable things about Halloween is disposable decorations. There are a few ways you can get festive while still being eco-friendly. 

A great start is to reuse what you already own. If you already have a collection of Halloween decor, prioritize that and get crafty for any new additions. 

You can easily make your own Halloween decorations, thanks to the endless ideas and tutorials available online today. Try to create decorations from sustainable materials or items you already have lying around. 

This could like like using old stockings or yarn to make spiderwebs. You can paint and cut cardboard boxes to turn them into tombstones. Use old bedsheets or t-shirts to create flying ghosts. Make use of natural items like straw bales, branches, leaves, pumpkins, and gourds to spice up your Halloween decor sustainably. If you have leftover paper or plastic bags, cotton balls, plastic bottles, or black garbage bags, DIY Halloween decorations are a great way to put them to use. 

If you do want or need to buy something new, like a seasonal Pumpkin Spice candle, look for second-hand items or support sustainable brands and makers on platforms like Etsy. Whatever you buy, try to choose items that are reusable and that you will keep for years to come.  

Skip or Utilize the Whole Pumpkin 

Pumpkin carving and displaying your spookiest pumpkin creations is a Halloween highlight for many. Pumpkin carving can be relatively wasteful, however, if the whole pumpkin isn't utilized. 

If you want to carve pumpkins, first choose locally grown pumpkins, ideally from a local pumpkin patch. Then, try to use the pumpkin in its entirety. Save the filling and make a pumpkin pie or mash. Roast the pumpkin seeds for a savory snack. 

Lastly, avoid painting your pumpkin so that you can successfully compost it when you're done with it. 

Give Out Ethically Made Treats 

It can be tempting, and often very affordable, to opt for the super-size bags of Halloween-themed candy from chain grocery stores. These items are not very sustainable, however. 

Most major candy corporations don't produce ethically made or sourced candy - especially when it comes to chocolate. Corporations also overproduce Halloween-themed goodies, which go on discount and end up in the trash right after the holiday. 

If possible, look for ethically made, organic, or sustainable goodies to give out to trick-or-treaters. You can find non-GMO, local candy options at your neighborhood health food store. You can even now find fair-trade chocolate and candy brands at places like Costco and Target, which won't break the bank.

If you're hosting a Halloween party, bake your own themed treats to save money while being sustainable. 

Choose Compostable Cutlery for Halloween Parties 

No one wants to do the dishes after hosting a party, but disposable plates and cutlery are anything but sustainable. Until now, that is. There are several eco-friendly disposable cutlery options that make it convenient and eco-friendly to host a Halloween party. 

One of our favorite sustainable cutlery brands is WoodU Shop. They offer dish and silverware sets that are biodegradable, reusable, and fully compostable. 

If you want to serve food, encourage guests to bring homemade items, potluck style, or choose a local caterer. For leftovers, check out these eco-friendly options to wrap up and store food

Now, Our Top 10 Ways to Create Sustainable Halloween Costumes 

Reuse an Old Costume

Number one on the list for sustainable Halloween costume ideas is reusing what you already own. Chances are, you have several Halloween costumes from the past in a box somewhere. Why not reuse them? 

If you want to spice it up, perhaps there's a way to revamp one of the costumes or add accessories to make it feel new again. 

Consult Your Wardrobe

If you don't have any Halloween costumes lying around, the first step in generating recycled costume ideas is to consult your own wardrobe. This is easiest if you already have a costume idea in mind. 

For example, if you want to be a witch, start by looking at your black clothing. See what you can put together from what you already own. 

Revamp Items You Don't Love or Use

If you're willing to get crafty, see what you can create from clothing items or accessories you don't love, never wear, or no longer fit. If you have kids, this is especially relevant, as you probably have a pile of things they've outgrown. Could something be altered to create a costume?  

Maybe there's an old t-shirt that's falling apart that could be cut up, dyed, or redesigned to create a costume. 

Have a Costume Exchange Party

If you don't own anything you can utilize for this year's Halloween costume, chances are one of your friends does. A fun way to be sustainable together is to host a costume exchange party. 

Everyone can bring old costumes or accessories and take turns swapping. This is a great way to spend $0 on eco-friendly costumes. 

Get Crafty With Accessories 

Accessories like masks, headwear, and even jewelry, can often be made from home. You can find handy craft supplies like outlines, fabric glue, material, etc., at your local craft supply store. 

If you simply need to dye or add embellishments to items you already own, this is an easy thing to do yourself instead of buying new items. Sometimes this works out even better if you're looking to replicate a very specific accessory. 

Make Your Own Body Paint

Instead of purchasing a Halloween paint or makeup set to use for one night, why not make your own? There are numerous recipes available for making Halloween paint using items that are often found in the pantry. 

Consult Youtube or Google for homemade Halloween body paint recipes and see what you can create at home. If you have to buy items to make the paint, try to look for recipes that require ingredients you know you'll find another use for. 

Turn DIY Halloween Costumes into a Group Activity 

If you're struggling to design your own costume, or you lack some crafty skills, why not make DIY Halloween Costumes a group activity? You can get your friends or family together and help each other create Halloween costumes. 

This can help motivate and inspire one another to have a green Halloween. It's also a fun way to pool together supplies, cutting down on the number of new items you'll need to buy this year. 

Opt for Second-Hand or Artisan-Made Items 

If you need to buy a Halloween costume, try to opt for used items first. You can find second-hand costumes and accessories online or in thrift stores. Check out Poshmark, eBay, or any of these second-hand clothing apps. If you'd rather shop in-store, head to your local thrift, vintage or second-hand shop. 

If you can't find what you're looking for used or make it yourself, you can usually find awesome Halloween options made by artisans on Etsy. You can also check out ethical marketplaces like these for accessories. If you are buying new, prioritize items that you can reuse or re-wear. 

Rent Your Costume

If you're still struggling to put together a sustainable Halloween costume, try to rent one. If you or your kids just have to be a certain character this year, or you can't find or make what you want, renting a costume is the next best sustainable thing. This can also be a more budget-friendly option. 

There are numerous choices for costume rentals both online and in-store. Most costume shops now offer rental options, which is awesome for parents whose kids will just outgrow their costumes by the following year. 

You can also check out online costume stores and retailers, even Rent the Runway has options. This makes it easier than ever to find the Halloween costume of your dreams or participate in new costume trends sustainably. 

Choose a Timeless Costume Idea

Overall, when it comes to creating an eco-friendly Halloween costume, what type of costume you choose can also have an impact. While it can be tempting to dress up as your new favorite superhero or TV Character from this year's latest release, these costume trends usually fade by the following season. 

Try to think of "evergreen" costume ideas. This can look like costume ideas that stand the test of time and are relevant year after year (someone is always a witch or a vampire). It can also look like choosing a costume idea that can easily be made from timeless items you will reuse in your everyday life. This will benefit both the planet and your wallet in the long run. 

If you're willing to get creative, you can create most Halloween costumes from items that can be reused and re-worn. Try to do so as much as possible and chances are, your Halloween costume will be sustainable. 

About the Author

Alicia Briggs is a writer & editor specializing in slow travel & sustainable living. She has been a full-time traveler since 2018 and runs her own blog, Learning the Local Way, where she covers responsible travel tips and guides.



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