Your Guide to Creating Zero Waste Halloween Costumes

I am going to be upfront and honest right now. As a busy mom, I really struggle to honor my sustainability values when going costume shopping. It is not my shining moment of glory, but like all of us, I AM trying . .

Halloween has always been a favorite of mine. It’s that itchy creative streak in me. I get an idea in my head, and I don’t really want to hit up 20 thrift shops in search of that one article of clothing that I need to pull it off.

So I end up on Amazon again, wading through all the flimsy vinyl monstrosities that won’t make it intact into 2020.

But I think I was a lot better at zero waste costuming prior to having kids, so I know I can do better. Even as a busy mom, this can be done. And I am finding that the best way for me to improve upon an area of my life is to research and write about it. So here I am.

So let me analyze my costumes over the years, to see what I did right, and in what ways I could have gone more zero waste.

My Zero Waste 4H Clowning Costume

My zero waste clown costume

So this one wasn’t actually for Halloween, but a mighty fine costume created by my 4H clowning instructor way back in the day.

This one was very zero waste because pretty much all of it was pulled out of my instructor’s supply closet. Well, we made the oversized flower out of tissue paper.

The dress was an old fashioned polyester number hemmed up short and detailed with pinned on artificial flowers. Bright red tights and a straw hat with an assortment of more flowers, along with an old yellow pair of Keds with more flowers pinned on, and you have an outfit. I learned how to create my own face, too. Pretty cute, huh?

My Zero Waste Flapper Costume


My zero waste 20s flapper costume

This may be my favorite costume of all time.

I happened to already have the absolute perfect modern version of a flapper dress in my closet, so I started from there. I used my winter hat as my cloche hat, and some of my kitten heel dress shoes that can’t be seen, but worked well.

I may have purchase the heels and knee high nylons, I can’t recall. But I made a glitzy cigarette holder (not shown) out of construction paper and pink sequin strands. The pink feather boa and white gloves (not shown), I definitely did purchase.

My hair happened to be perfect for the 20’s flapper look, and the makeup isn’t hard to do. I probably could have looked a little harder at thrift stores for the items I bought, but for the most part this is pretty darn zero waste.

My Zero Waste Betty Boop Costume


My Zero Waste Betty Boop Costume

I would actually give myself an A for zero waste with this costume.

Pretty much everything you see, I already had on hand, other than the dog. The gloves, pink boa and homemade “bling” cigarette holder (rolled construction paper with strands of sequins glued on) were all leftover from the previous year’s flapper costume.

The only thing I would have done differently was to find some kind of stuffed poodle at a thrift store instead of purchasing it new. Not bad at all.

My Store bought Saloon Girl Costume

My saloon girl costume

This ensemble was assembled for a murder mystery party I had been invited to. I think I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of trying to weed through all those thrift stores in search of such a specific type of costume, so I did surrender to the Amazon monster that year.

If I were to do it now, I would probably seek out my local costume rental shop. Some of this costume was sourced from my own belongings, though. The boots and the tights were indeed already mine. So not a complete zero waste fail.

Our Store bought “Lions, Tigers & Bears, Oh my!” Costumes

This was the year that I wanted to start doing costumes together as a family. So I brainstormed up this idea with a little help from Pinterest.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!!

With two kids now, I didn’t really feel like I had the time to figure out what I would need and then hunt down all the pieces . . . so I cheated. Kohls was having a sale and I just couldn’t pass up these little warm, fuzzy animal costumes that were just sweetness.

Today, my toxin wary brain wouldn’t cope well with these new materials surrounding my babies’ skin, but it was only for a few hours and totally worth it. I would recommend instead finding a kids’ consignment sale since I see so many costumes like these at those sales every year. That way you also know that the costumes have had time to offgas.

For my lion costume, I purchased that online; but in my defense I did later reuse it for a onesie bar crawl . .

The black long sleeved tee on my husband came from his closet, and I already had the puffy paints in my craft supplies. So this idea turned out to be implemented at least partially in zero waste fashion.

My Daughters’ Store bought Pirate Costumes

My little girl’s miniature pirate costume

Oh. my. god. Are you kidding me right now? This little pirate is pure perfection.

Both my daughters went as pirates that year. I think my older daughter was a wench. The costumes were purchased online, and I was too tired from moving to manage a family theme that year.

If I had the chance to redo these costumes, there are so many ideas out there for recreating it through thrift store finds.

My Daughters’ Store bought Witch Costumes

Another busy fall, moving into a new home and mama was again too tired to stir up a creative secondhand costume . . . so I committed the wasteful, toxic act of storebought costuming once again. That said, I did later donate them to a school costume swap for reuse.

If you are looking to dress up your kids in witch attire this Halloween, I would recommend either hitting up some kids consignment sales/stores or coming up with them through thrift store finds.

Here are some awesome thrifted (or crafted) witch costume ideas for kids.

Don’t Knock Yourself, Mama

We are all trying to do better for this planet. Sometimes you have it all together and sometimes you have to cut yourself a break. Just like your green mama blogger, here.

Happy Halloween!!!

If you feel you benefited from the information in this article, please share on social media!

Also, I have just released my new, improved version of my green lodging list; as well as a new “How to Reuse Practically Everything” List.

Sign up here for your free access to all of this information and more!!

Sign up here for your free access to all of this information and more!!

Please follow and like us:
error

10 comments

  1. I loved all the pictures and examples of costumes you have worn – it’s a great reminder to be thoughtful of what we’re buying. Growing up, whatever costumes we bought we played with year-round in our dressup box so that’s also something I’m going to remember.

  2. Such great ideas for zero waste costumes and a great reminder to keep minimizing waste and minimize consumption.
    I always get carried away during the holidays and don’t do as well with Minimalism and less waste.
    My favorite is the Lions tigers and bears oh my, so cute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *