Halloween can be a really exciting holiday. It’s a chance to celebrate your creativeness and self-expression through a costume. It can also be about honoring that scary spooky side of you that you never get to reveal. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most wasteful holidays other than Christmas.  
The average American will spend about $75 on decor, candy, and a costume for one day, which equates to $7 billion in the US alone. Most of these purchases are made out of impulse and none of the products are of decent quality. Most Halloween costumes these days are laced with harmful chemicals for our skin and also the environment. Some of the worst chemicals, “phthalates, lead, tin and brominated flame retardants, which are linked to everything from asthma to reproductive problems and cancer. A little under a third of the products tested featured components made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a material that, both when manufactured and discarded, leaches dioxins — suspected endocrine disrupters also linked to the aforementioned health problems — into the environment.” (salon.com)

American Dollars spent on Halloween in 2018

So this week, when you hit up for local Target or Party City, just remember that almost everything you pick up for the holiday will be harmful to you and/or the planet. It doesn’t stop there. When Halloween is finished, millions of these costumes, candy wrappers, and decor items, will be disposed of and will sit in a landfill not being able to decompose. This will wreck havoc on the soil, waterways, and ecosystem. All for one day. It just doesn’t seem worth it. 

Some will argue that it’s fun and everyone else is doing it; however, it starts with small changes like what I’m about to share to inspire others to also make a difference. You can still have fun while thinking consciously about your purchases and limiting your waste. 

I wanted to throw out some ideas for some eco-friendly costumes this Halloween. If you’ve already purchased your costume for today, use these tips for next season. Also, don’t throw anything away, reuse them for next year. 

Rent a Costume

We rent beautiful gowns and formal wear for special events like weddings, funerals, and royal balls (lol), why not for holidays? Rent the Runway has become very popular these past few years for saving money on one-time use outfits. There is also a service for renting Halloween costumes! No longer do we have to go to your local Spirit Halloween store and spend upwards of $60 for a cheaply made costume to wear for a couple of hours. I checked out the site and some were around $15 to rent! 

Shop Secondhand
Shopping secondhand is not only good for your wallet, but it’s also good for the planet. There are so many articles of clothing in the world already, why do we need to buy new? There is most likely something you can get that has already been made, barely used, and for a much better price. Shop at your local thrift store like Goodwill. You can also try online sources like Amazon Warehouse, Ebay or Swap.com.
Swap with a friend

Every once in a while I like to declutter my stuff. My first stop when giving my things away are my friends. I would rather have people that I know and trust get use out of my gently used items than some random person. It brings me a sense of joy when I see someone else make use of the things I didn’t. This is something I highly recommend with Halloween costumes. Have a big hotdog costume you bought a couple of years ago and don’t want to repeat the outfit this year? Ask around and see if anyone needs a hotdog costume (lol) or has any extra costumes in their home you can borrow. This is a great way of keeping your Halloween costumes fresh without spending any money. 

Focus on makeup

This can be so easy. When you focus on your face for your costume, you can be as creative as you want. It’s more like an art project and your face is the canvas. Some examples may be drawing wounds for a zombie look, or animal features. You can also use makeup to be a clown, a mime, a scarecrow, a doll, a fairy, a mermaid…the options are endless. By just wearing your own clothes to compliment the look, this option can be very inexpensive. 

Use clothing you already have 

We’ve all been there when we have no plans for dressing up on Halloween, then someone asks us to go to a party with them last minute. You head to your closet to quickly conjure up something that resembles a costume. Some closets are easier to figure out than others, but there are also some simple ideas to get you started. 

  • Striped shirt, black pants- Robber/Mime
  • Flannel shirt, jeans/overalls, floppy hat- Scarecrow/Cowgirl or Cowboy
  • Suit or pencil skirt/blazer, sunglasses- Bodyguard
  • Skirt/dress, cardigan, glasses- Teacher/Librarian
  • Any period costume  (50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s)
  • Workout wear, jersey- Athlete
  • Etc…
Headbands, hats, and masks

If you only get one thing this Halloween, opt for a mask, hat or specific headband. With one of these items you can completely change your look. You can turn your ordinary outfit into something fun. For example, a headband with ears can turn you into an animal. A buret can easily convert you into someone from France. Just by purchasing a mask, you can turn yourself into anything like a clown, zombie or the current president. 

These costume ideas are eco-friendly and can save you money while trying to enjoy this holiday. Halloween can be fun, but when we feel like we’ve spent a fortune on something that won’t be useful that next day, it can leave us feeling disappointed. Choose any of these ideas above to ensure you feel good about your purchases for this holiday. You can also feel awesome knowing you didn’t contribute to all the waste that comes from this day.

Make sure to post your eco-friendly Halloween costume below. I would love see what creative outfits you put together!


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