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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

Halloween is the spookiest time of the year, but that doesn’t mean your costume has to be scary for the environment. Finding a sustainable costume may seem like it will cost you a daunting amount of time, especially since midterms are plaguing college campuses in October, but it might actually save you time and money.

The first step is checking your closet for any clothing items you might be able to reuse and incorporate into your costume. This could be anything from a mini skirt, a scarf, or that sparkly dress you impulsively bought at the mall but haven’t had the occasion to wear yet. Next, thrift any additional costume pieces to help complete your outfit. Thrifting costume clothing and accessories helps save the environment from bulk single-use clothing purchases, and the carbon emissions from shipping when buying online, while also saving you money!

Assembling a Halloween costume sustainably is easy, all you need is a good idea and a plan on how to make it happen. Here are five ideas to help you have an eco-friendly costume this year!

The Cheetah Girls

It’s no secret that Y2K fashion is currently in style, and what better way to celebrate this by dressing up as the iconic Disney channel group The Cheetah Girls. This singing group celebrated friendships and was emblematic of the “girls supporting girls” mantra, so it would even be a fun group costume idea as well. Also, The Cheetah Girls stand up for diversity and inclusion so it’s truly a costume that would look chic on everyone.

Fortunately for us, thrift stores are full of Y2K reminiscent clothing and accessories. This costume could be as simple or extravagant as you want to make it, as you could wear an all white base with cheetah accents to mimic their performance outfits or even one of their more everyday outfits. For a group version, a The Cheetah Girls tracksuit ensemble would be cool, consisting of blue, pink, purple, and orange outfits. Any matching sweat suit you can find, along with cheetah print accents would complete the look.

Items to look for: bootcut jeans, mini skirt, headband, belt, boots, tracksuit, and anything and everything cheetah print.

That 70s Show’s Jackie

This costume takes decades dressing to the next level by focusing it on a specific character: Jackie from That 70s Show. Jackie was played by Mila Kunis when she was a teenager and the character is known for her love of shopping, lip gloss, and all things pink. 

Retro fashions can be easy to find in thrift stores as they seem to be constantly going in and out of style. Dressing as Jackie has a lot of outfit potential as your outfit could be for a 70s disco, school, or just a hang out in the Forman’s basement. Find a 70s base outfit that you feel confident in, and wear hot pink lip gloss and lots of blush too.

Items to look for: skirts, flared jeans, vests (jean or sweater material), thin-stripes sweaters, pink accents items.

Devil Wears Prada

Halloween costumes are a chance for you to dress up and manifest your dreams—and Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway, is a style queen (pun intended). Working for a fashion magazine and living in New York City is so aspirational and deserves recognition this Halloween season.

An elegant and classy rendition of this costume would be to replicate the fancy black dresses Andy, Emily, and Miranda wear at the Charity Benefit Gala. Thrift stores often have a wide selection of dresses, such as prom, party, and wedding dresses. Find the most high fashion aesthetic dress and a pair of heels to match and you’re ready to take on NYC.

Items to look for: high heels and elegant cocktail or prom dress. Also, DIY red devil ears would help make your costume more obvious and spooky!

Wizards of Waverly Place’s Harper Finkle

Harper Finkle from Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place is known for her unique personal style, the courage to to take risks in fashion, and being a supportive friend. Harper is a role model in fashion, showing how bright and colorful it can be when you’re expressing your true self.

This costume idea allows you to add your own creative flare into it. Browsing your closet (and maybe your mom’s too) and pick out any unique statement pieces that stand out. Thrift stores are also perfect for dressing up as Harper as there are clothes and styles that you may have never seen before. Embracing the quirky items you find in a thrift store will help you explore using fashion as an artform as well as being an easy conversation starter at any party you go to.

Items to look for: statement pieces—the quirkier the better.

Professional Athlete

Whether you have a favorite athlete in mind, old sports equipment sitting in your garage, or a sport you wish you did growing up, this costume will definitely make you feel strong and powerful.

Some cute ideas would be a skier, tennis player, golfer, ballerina, or figure skater. Thrift stores usually have a sports section where you might be able to find some accessories such as ski goggles, a golf club, or a tennis racket. Or you could focus more on the outfit, opting to wear a team jersey or a ballet tutu. You can also complete the athletic look with hair and makeup: eye black for costumes like football or baseball, or a ballet bun and stage makeup for a dancer.

Items to look for: golf polo shirt, tennis skirt, dance recital costume, leotards, ballet flats, ski accessories. 

Grace Wilson

South Carolina '25

Grace is the senior editor for Her Campus at The University of South Carolina. There, she writes and edits articles weekly and enjoys working with the team of creative and empowered women. Beyond Her Campus, she is a junior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in English with mass communications and law studies minors. Grace is passionate about using her writing skills as a tool to make a positive impact and enjoys volunteering in her community. In her free time, Grace enjoys practicing yoga, baking snickerdoodles, and watching figure skating. As an out-of-state student, she has explored SC by going on walks while listening to Taylor Swift.