Halloween is a day to express your creativity, let out your inner self or just parade around in your underwear for all to see.
But the holiday has a terrifying undertone that has nothing to do with the hordes of vampires and half dead roaming the streets. Halloween costumes alone account for 6,250 tons of landfill waste per year according to an article in Real Simple Magazine. That doesn’t include the face paint, makeup, candy wrappers, pumpkins, decorations or any other spooky accoutrements.
This year your duds can help reduce waste and still wow the crowd. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what you will dress up as yet. These tips will make sure your costume isn’t a drain on your celebration, or the environment.
Instead of having to wait in line at a store and come home with something you and 10 other people will be wearing out, make your own costume. You don’t need to know how to sew expertly, or even at all, to make your costume possible. Materials as innocuous as colored paper, cardboard or even tin foil can be shaped and finessed into a one-of-a-kind showstopper.
If you are more adventurous you can use fabric or old bed sheets and turn them into something new. Just be sure to use natural fibers like cotton and avoid polyester and other petroleum based products. Clothing you already have can easily be transformed for a night of mystery.
A thrift store can be full of great costume treasures. They have everything from ugly Christmas sweaters, to fully assembled costumes from Halloweens past, and even a ball gown for your prom from hell.
Better yet, instead of having to pay anything, shop your friends’ closets. Ask for clothes they don’t use anymore, things they hate or something you can trade them for. You can also borrow clothing if your plans do not involve complete destruction. Who knows, your friends may even have a completed costume lying around.
If you are feeling incredibly uninspired this year, consider wearing a costume from a different event. Break out that toga, your neon T-shirts and fanny packs, or your garb from Bay to Breakers. Just about any old costume could easily transform you into a zombie with a little fake blood and paint.
When the jack-o’-lanterns have burned out and the beetle juice has dried up, hang onto your costume. You can give it to a friend for a future costume party if you don’t want to wear it again. Or better yet, create a costume that can be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe — just be sure to leave the beetle juice at home.
This article was originally published in The Santa Clara