Haulternatives for a Waste-free Halloween

By Fashion Revolution

3 weeks ago

Halloween is just around the corner, and if you aren’t yet feeling spooked, we’d suggest taking a look at some of the waste that’s set to creep into this year’s festivities. New research from Hubbub and The Fairyland Trust is predicting that in the UK alone, the holiday will generate around 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste. 

As global awareness around the environmental cost of single-use plastic becomes mainstream, it’s important to get specific about just how much plastic we wear next to our skin. According to greenpeace, polyester makes up about 60% of clothes produced worldwide, but among Halloween costumes on the high street, that number goes up to 83%. And the issue with these costumes isn’t just in their composition, it’s the single-use culture which suggests that 7 million costumes will be chucked in the bin in the UK this year. 

Last year in the United States, consumers spent £6.9 billion on Halloween. Research also predicts that the vast majority of this money lands on costumes, and the average American will spend £24.10 on their Halloween getup. If you’re struggling to picture just how many plastic costumes we’re talking about here, consider that in 2016, 2.7 million Donald Trump costumes were purchased. 

Let’s Get Solutional

So, if you’re dressing up for Halloween, why not spare landfills from yet another store-bought plastic outfit? Here’s how to make, borrow, thrift, or recycle a waste-free ensemble, from some of our favourite Fashion Revolutionaries: 

Mikaela Loach, Eco Age writer & climate activist – Edinburgh: 

  • Use what you have. “Similar to my principles for any occasions, see what you can do with the clothes and items you already own. Begin there, and find your costume idea in what you have already. Look through your closet to see if anything you already have could be jazzed up with some face-paint or make up to transform yourself into a skeleton or mermaid”
  • Borrow & thrift. “Ask your friends, have a look through their closets. Only once you’ve done both of these, then as a last resort have a search for something second-hand on depop or in a charity shop, but make sure this won’t be a one wear item. Get something you’ll also be able to wear at other occasions. As tempting as it is to buy that outfit or those accessories or that prop – if you’re never going to use it again it’s just a bit wasteful!”

Rosie Niblock, Fashion Revolution’s digital marketing wiz, Brighton: 

  • Swap out plastic. “Instead of plastic fangs, opt for facepaint drawn ones, or instead of plastic ears make your own.”
  • Devils in the details. “Rather than buying new things to transform your look, how about using nails, going for a scary hair do and transforming yourself with make-up?”
  • Don’t panic buy. “Leaving your costume to the last minute means your more likely to panic buy at the last minute, browse what you already have today and enjoy getting creative with your costume. A compliment on something you’ve made yourself will feel so much better.”

Claire Weiss, Coproducer, the drop podcast, London: 

  • Rent. “For a costume party a few months back, I wandered into a costume rental shop in Old Street looking for an Elton John costume and walked out with rented showgirl headpiece – even better.” 
  • Depop. “Just because you don’t want to purchase a cheap costume from a high street store doesn’t mean you can’t buy one from someone who wore it last year – for half the price, and from an app on your phone”

Kristen Leo, vlogger and influencer – Athens:

  • Go retro. “Go through your parents or grandparents old clothes, you might find a few pieces from previous decades that can really jazz up your costume!”
  • Think simple. “Costumes inspired by a movie or TV show character can be very iconic and also need little to no effort in putting them together with only items from your closet”
  • Accessorise. “A total black outfit with emphasis on spooky makeup or accessories is a great way to dress up without buying new clothes”

If you need some more inspiration, check out Kristen’s vlog with even more DIY and thrifted Halloween ideas. And, if you’re getting crafty this Halloween, share your masterpiece with us and tag it #LovedClothesLast