Go Green this Halloween with DIY Costumes

All Hallows' Eve is quickly approaching, and as we get closer to the spookiest night of the year, talk about Halloween costumes is everywhere. Store-bought costumes may seem like an easy solution if you don't have a lot of extra time on your hands, but they're rarely as interesting as homemade ideas, and they're not so great for the environment.

Many store-bought costumes bear a huge carbon footprint. Not only are most made overseas, but they also get trucked across the country to make it to your local store. But more than that, most costumes are also made with cheap materials made from chemicals or oil. For example, many plastic or leather-look components are made with PVC, which contains carcinogens dioxin and vinyl chloride, and it's an endocrine disruptor, not to mention the fact that chlorine is highly toxic to wildlife.

Read more about banned toxic chemicals

And when you're done with store-bought costumes, they often get tossed out in the trash, or they sit in the back of a closet, never to be used again. Homemade costumes, on the other hand, are made with things we no longer use, things that are destined for the trash, or things that we can use in a new way for Halloween.

So if you need some help with creative, easy, last-minute, and low- or no-waste costume ideas, we have you covered. Some of these ideas are best for adults, but many will also work for your kids if they're stumped for an idea.

The Paper Bag Princess

The beloved title character from Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess is a cinch to pull off. Little kids can use a paper grocery bag, and a yard waste bag is the perfect size for a teenager or adult. Cut holes for the head and arms, and scrunch up the bag for a rumpled look. Top your messed-up hair with a tiara or a crumpled crown made from yellow construction paper. Wear a flesh-colored shirt and leggings under the bag to stay warm. Bonus: You can recycle or compost the costume at the end of the night!

Pirated Music

This concept costume is subtle, so it's best for adults at a party as opposed to kids. Upcycle some old CD-Rs, put on a pirate's hat and go out as "pirated music" this Halloween. Loop thread through the center hole and pin the CD-Rs to your all-black clothes. People might ask you what you are dressed as, but they'll love the cleverness of the costume when you tell them.

Tinker Bell

Get out your green dress, a pair of old pale colored nylons that have a run in them, and a coat hanger. Bend the coat hanger into the shape of wings and stretch one leg of the hose over the frame, tying the hose off with a knot and trimming the excess. If you want extra-special wings, use a clear, non-toxic glue to add some sparkles. Tease your hair into a messy up-do, and presto, you're this year's favorite fairy princess. Hang on to the wings for the kids' dress-up time, or donate them to a friend or relative who has kids if you don't.

Go Country

This one's easy since some of the items you'll need are probably already in your closet. Cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, a plaid shirt, and jeans or a jean skirt will turn you into a cool cowboy or a cute cowgirl. Don't forget to tip your hat to people throughout the evening.

If you don't plan to wear the same costume next year, pass it on. Donate it or take it to a consignment shop.

With your green costume set, all you need to do is have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Reduce Unnecessary Waste this Holiday Season

Photo Credit: Joe Thorn

By Cara Smusiak| October 22, 2013
Categories:  Live
Keywords:  Travel and Holidays

About the Author

Cara Smusiak

Cara Smusiak

Cara believes using natural products and eliminating harsh or synthetic chemicals leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle. She grew up in a family that recycled just about everything, avoided harsh cleaners and heavily-scented products, and often turned to holistic medicine. Cara has degrees in art history and journalism, and has taken classes in environmental toxicology and environmental geology. She is passionate about healthy and natural living, environmental awareness and policy, and holistic health care.

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