Between now and Halloween, we’re doing a series of posts to help you put the “eco” in EEK! Please send ideas for information you’d like us to cover. We’re starting today with a post on Halloween costumes. Come back soon for our tips on non-toxic face paint, organic and natural candy and other treats, plastic-free decorations, and the ten best ways to use a pumpkin after Halloween is over.
Halloween costumes give all of us a chance to be someone or something else. But this spooky holiday leaves its mark on the planet. Most costumes are treated as disposable, which means they end up in the trash when the partying and trick or treating are over. Commercial costumes (and decorations) can be expensive, too. All together, we Americans spend over $5 billion annually for this one-day celebration.
Here are some greener options that will save you money, too.
Thrift Stores – For the smartest, greenest option, go to your local thrift store, where you can find used Halloween costumes at a discount. In fact, thrift store shopping is so popular for Halloween that places sell out their stock long before October 31 rolls around. Even if you don’t find a pre-fab costume, once you’re shopping, look for accessories like hats, coats, scarves, boots, purses, sports equipment, jewelry, gloves and anything else that’s fun, funky, goofy or gory.
Attics and Closets – Find old sheets, clothes that haven’t made it to a yard sale yet, lampshades, purses or briefcases you no longer use, old toys, old scout uniforms …use your imagination!
Make Your Own Out of Organic Fabric – Decorate or dye this organic cotton fleece and hemp to your ghoulish heart’s desire.
Use Recycled Cardboard and Paper – Appliance boxes, like those that a refrigerator or washing machine are delivered in, can be turned into monsters (think Frankenstein), a walking smart phone, a house, a car, a rhinoceros…
National Costume Swap Day offers another money-saving and eco-friendly alternative. Instead of buying something new, swap with someone who has a costume in good shape that they no longer want or need. You can find an “official” costume swap here. Or set up one in your neighborhood yourself. The folks at EcoMom Alliance and Green Halloween have pulled together this How to Host a Costume Swap checklist to make it easy-peasy to swap with neighbors, family and friends.
Green Halloween Costume Swap, powered by TradePal – TradePal is an online marketplace that makes it easy for college students to barter, trade and sell stuff they have for stuff they want. TradePal is partnering with the organizers of Campus Sustainability Day to make it easy for students to swap the masks, costumes, and wigs they already have for the ones they want.
Other ideas? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.
And for more green Halloween ideas, don’t miss:
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