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Spooky Tips for Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes

Who doesn’t at least partially get a little excited for Halloween? As soon as it turns midnight on October 1st, people are decking out the jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and candy in preparation for a single night of trick-or-treating and fun. I personally think of Halloween as the beginning of the holiday season, because it seems as if October marks the beginning of a nonstop period of celebrating up until New Year’s Day. However, despite its status as one of the most popular holidays of the year, not many people think about the environmental consequences of the last day of October. 

If you think about it, the holiday generates quite a bit of pollution — especially the bedazzled and decked-out costumes that are considered the core aspect of the night. In 2019, Halloween costumes produced 2,000 tons of waste alone. Common materials used to make said costumes, such as polyester, are made with hazardous chemicals often dumped into public waterways, and when these materials are washed, tiny microfibers are drained from the washing machine to the ocean, where they’re consumed by fish and other aquatic animals. Also, costumes are usually a one-year affair, and are, more often than not, discarded and thrown away after a single day of celebrating. 

This isn’t all bad though! We can still have the best costumes at our Zoom Halloween parties while also staying environmentally-conscious. Read on to learn more about how you can be green while still staying frightfully festive.

Rewear and Old Costume

Who said that you had to be something new every year? Consider trying on an old costume or idea that you already carried out in the past. Besides, with everything going on, who has the mental energy to come up with a whole new idea for every single Halloween? If you still have the pieces in your closet, dust them out and wear them with pride. You can also try whipping up a whole new costume using your old one. By wearing certain items differently, and maybe even on different body parts, you can give off a whole other character. Also, by choosing something that you already possess, you save the planet and money by wearing your costume more than once and not purchasing a whole new set of clothes.

Reuse Your Wardrobe
Melanie Haid

Another idea you can do is to look through what you might wear on occasions other than Halloween, and use them for your Halloween look! Rummage through your go-to outfits for various scenarios you’d be in if we weren’t in a global pandemic, and see if you can dress up as someone else using them. Did you wear a certain uniform or abide by a dress code before the lockdown? Try to think of some other careers that use similar clothing styles to your workplace, and see if you can adjust your old outfit to turn into this new persona. This idea also lets you save money on purchasing a new costume by looking through what you already have and reusing them, which is one of the greenest things you can do. In fact, contrary to what was most emphasized in elementary school, reusing is a more effective way to reduce waste than recycling

Hold a Costume Swap

If you read through those top two options and are still rolling your eyes at the thought of wearing something from last year, or you just really want to be something new this autumn, consider organizing a costume swap with your family and/or friends. Make a group chat with everyone involved to start discussing the details. Then have everyone send over photos of their costumes, with at least one from the last time the person wore it as a reference. You can then all figure out who wants which costume, then have each sender and receiver organize pick up or drop off times and addresses. Or, you can add a little twist, and have one person randomly choose everyone’s costumes! This adds an element of spooky surprise to the whole swap. Finally, after the costumes get a little quarantine time by themselves, have everyone involved send selfies of them wearing the costumes, or even host a Zoom Halloween party with guests from the costume swap! 

Just because you’re environmentally-conscious, broke, and in a pandemic, doesn’t mean that you can’t look stylishly spooky. With these tips, you’ll still be able to have a memorable Halloween.

Audrey Kim

UC Riverside '24

Audrey is a Computer Engineering major who wants to improve her writing skills. She hopes that readers will be informed, amused, or both, by her content!
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