BY: THIEN-LOC MIMI NGUYEN
Let’s go back to a more traditional Halloween.
There was a time when Halloween was more organic. Children used materials and objects around the house to make their own costumes. Parents spent hours making their own treats to give out to their visitors and pumpkins were sometimes even grown at home. This is all a thing of the past, but it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
Today, Americans spend about 12,500 tons of landfill waste a year on Halloween costumes alone according to Real Simplemagazine. So, how much is 12,500 tons of waste? It’s about the weight of two full grown elephants. It’s about 5 miles in length. It’s roughly the size of 104 football fields. In total, it’s .00005 percent of the annual American waste, which is 250 million tons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
While it’s a lot of waste to imagine, it is possible to reduce that amount of waste by half if people follow up on more eco-friendly tips and tricks this Halloween season.
Make Your Own Costume
Use materials such as card board, paper and foil. These materials can be reused again and again or just as easily recycled. Many awesome costumes that can be made from these materials are robots, crocodiles, Legos, dice, Rubik’scubes, milk cartons and cereal boxes.
Use old clothing to create era related costumes. This helps recycle old, out-of-style clothing that is probably sitting in your closet, waiting for another chance at life. Some retro costumes that have been brought back to life are ‘80s babies, Grease characters, disco lovers, hippies, and ‘50s rock ’n’ roll lovers.
Use materials around the house like bed sheets, table cloths and pillow cases. This helps re-use old house hold items that are meeting their final days of use. Some of the most classic costumes made from these items are ghosts, Greeks and runaways.
Buy From an Ethical Costume Company
There is Tatterscat, a costume design house that specializes in “onesies, Lolita fashion and custom-made costumes.” Everything is handmade to your satisfaction, leaving the buyer with a waste free conscience.
If you are into heroes and villains there is LittleHeroCapes, a featured Etsy company that sells handmade capes and masks of many colors and sizes. The designer’s inspiration comes from “watching her son fly around the living room with a dishtowel tied around his neck, flapping in the wind...”
Buy a Used Costume
Splurge a little while staying within your eco-friendly boundaries and buy a used costume from a thrift store.There are an abundance of costumes at a low price at places like Good Will, Out Of the Closet, The Eclectic Attic, Treasure Hunt, Thrift Store and Amvet’s Thrift Store.
Have a Costume Swap
Try this new and fun social activity that can help make a difference and save resources. Get together with your friends, neighbors or community and gather a group of people and trade costumes. This will ensure the full life of a costume and continuous use. This event has become so wide spread there is even a National Costume Swap Day on Oct. 12, 2013.