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How To Stay Eco-friendly This Halloween

Spooky season is upon us yet again! The cool fall breeze, carving pumpkins, watching scary movies curled up on the couch, the familiar pumpkin spiced treats. It’s that time of the year where we can dress-up like our favorite characters and go all-out on our favorite sweets. Unfortunately, there’s more to worry about than poorly put-together/last-minute costumes and kids knocking on your door when you forgot to buy candy again this year.

Although COVID-19 restrictions are in-place, we can still have a little fun while staying safe and sustainable this Halloween. Most décor and costumes are single-use items, these have a huge impact on the environment from the many resources it takes to produce them to the harmful materials that aren’t safe to dispose of; only adding to the already overpacked landfills or ending up as litter in our local communities. Now that’s scary! Consider these options to add a little spice this Halloween.


We all know too well the décor at our favorite stores are to die for, but this plastic stuff isn’t cute anymore. When buying decorations, try and find some more sustainable things made from natural cloth, cotton, bamboo, wool, hemp, wood, metal, the list goes on. These materials will last you a lifetime and won’t haunt you if the time comes to dispose of them.

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Your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles – someone has to have some vintage clothes hiding somewhere in their horrifyingly overpacked, probably haven’t been cleaned out in decades, closets. Thrift stores also work for this too. Theres a million gems out there in the old forgotten clothes racks of secondhand stores, you just have to find what jumps out at you (not literally of course). Disco patterned shirts, shoulder-padded blazers, cowboy boots, old work uniforms, all of these are perfect components to put together a show-stopping Halloween costume.

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DIY (or at least try)

Warm-up that hot glue gun, dust-off that old sewing kit, and maybe bring out some of those power tools too. DIY costumes are what makes Halloween so fun! It’s not exciting seeing everyone wear the same outlet store costume that came in a horrifyingly overpriced (non-biodegradable) plastic pack with little-to-no accessories to brighten up the look! With the power of creativity (or YouTube tutorials) you can make a costume to be proud of, and not only because you made it yourself. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll have the most original stand-out costume when strutting your stuff to some Halloween events. Repurposing old Halloween costumes are perfect for DIY projects. Purchasing the infamous Rit clothing dye can be a guilt-free purchase when revamping these old costumes and clothes.

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We can’t forget about the impacts COVID-19 still has across the world, it’s important to incorporate masks into your costume. If you can’t purchase a face covering with designs already printed on, we can use the power of DIY! Our masks can become the perfect add-on to our costumes this year (not to mention it’ll save our faces from the layers of makeup we won’t have to put on too). Paint or hot glue pretty much anything to your mask to make it special and unique from the standard surgical masks seen around town.

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I love seeing the creative side of people shine at this time of year. Even if you think you’re not all that creative just remember – fake it till you make it (through the power of tutorials, we all shine). I hope to see more original, funny, scary, out-of-the-box costumes and decorations this year. Alas, like many horror stories, we must ensure to maintain sustainability and keep ourselves, our neighbors and our planet safe. Following CDC Guidelines and staying mindful of what we choose to purchase, we can live (insert stereotypical horror movie scream here) free far into the future.

Kristen is studying towards a Bachelors Degree in Korean and Second Language Studies/Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. In her free time she enjoys yoga, hiking, playing tennis, reading at local parks, cooking and tending to her ever-expanding houseplant collection.
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