It’s official. Halloween is right around the corner. This festive Fall holiday is absolutely one of my favorites, despite the fact that it has evolved into a very wasteful event (I’m talking about you, candy wrappers). Now, when it comes to picking out Halloween costumes, there is no shortage of polyester, nylon, and plastic options available. But please keep in mind that these synthetic materials and woven fibers are not only harmful to us, they also pollute our planet and cause harm to sea life too.

Save the sea turtles and skip synthetic fibers or buy secondhand.

Zero Waste Halloween

New studies indicate that synthetic fibers found in cheap clothing (like Halloween costumes) could be poisoning our waterways and food chain on a massive scale. Microfibers are the tiny threads that shed from fabric. These have been found in abundance on shorelines where waste water is released.

“These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans,” according to researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are non-biodegradable. So, that makes them unsustainable on two counts.

Now hear this…

I totally understand the dilemma some parents are facing. I remember when I was growing up, year after year I would declare sometime in August that I was going to be a mermaid (or whatever the case that particular year) for Halloween. Only to see my mom spend the 48 hours before Halloween finding me a new costume because I had changed my mind. Bless her heart!!! One year she made me a Scary Spice costume. Like, custom-made!!!!! AND I CHANGED MY MIND!!!! Though it took at least 20 years to learn, this lesson was not lost on me.

So I wholeheartedly understand if you are not willing to drop a ton of money on a sustainably made Halloween costume (Do those even exist anyway?) for yourself or your kids.

Other more sustainable practices are to buy secondhand, repurpose items, or use items that you already have.

To help us all out, below are some great ideas that really inspired me along with three creative tricks to help you conjure up a greener costume this year.

#1. Raid your closet.

#2. Get thrifty.

#3. DIY

Zero Waste Halloween

Pirate: With a tunic top, skinny jeans or leggings, boots, and a bandana, you could have this one in the bag. For a last-minute costume win, this works for kids and grown-ups. See the original post here from Sarah Forshaw’s blog.

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Mystic or Fortune Teller: This is another great closet or even thrift store find. Add layers, textures and some dangling jewelry.

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Grease: I mean, all black for the win. Am I right?

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Mermaid: Never underestimate what you will find secondhand. Just look at these cool costumes my friend put together.

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Nancy Botwin from Weeds: 100% hand-picked at the thrift store. I even recommend looking for a reusable cup secondhand too.

 

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Luigi: Complete with 1up necklace!

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s: That’s the beauty of dressing up as an icon. Throw on some pearls, a little black dress, long black gloves, and sunglasses or a makeshift cigarette holder and everyone will know who you are. See original costume here.

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Troll: Best idea ever. So stinking creative! See original costume here.

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Rosie the Riveter: I honestly could go into my closet now and find everything that I need for this one. I bet you have a few key items as well. And if not, I know the thrift store does. Original post here.

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Lumberjack: Plaid shirts are an easy find at the thrift store. Suspenders, jeans, and boots finish up this costume. My son already has most of this in his closet now from his Lumberjack Birthday Party.  This one works for dad and the little man too.

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The Adams Family: Here are a few great ones from an amazingly talented friend of mine, Magan. Most of the costumes are a combination of handmade and purchased items.

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Beetle Juice

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Alice in Wonderland

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Ariel

And, don’t be afraid to reuse items like my wonderfully resourceful friend, Stephanie from LuneaMystic Arts & Movement. All of these costumes are made from eco-felt or upcycled materials.

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Little owel

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Custom Couture Fairy: Just kidding, but seriously, this one was drawn and designed by the little one and brought to life by mama. WOW!

 

Here are a few of my own:

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Mother Earth: Looking for an easy and comfortable maternity costume? I dressed up as Mother Earth while pregnant. It’s as easy as a hippy looking dress, flower crown, and crystal jewelry.

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Frankenfamily 2016: My son was The Monster of Frankenstein, I was The Bride, and my husband was the Doctor himself. A simple long sleeve black shirt and brown pants for the little monster. A black and white dress for myself, and all black topped with a lab coat and glasses for my husband. I used arrowroot powder and coconut oil to make white costume make-up and used my regular eyeliner to draw stitches and fill in my lips/eyebrows. Zero Waste HalloweenAlien and Astronauts 2017: All secondhand and easy as can be. We had a great time last year dressing up.

Want to see what my family is going to dress up as this year? Be sure you are following us on Instagram @naturally_modern 

If you have a favorite character that you like to dress up as let me know in the comments. Or, do you like to change it up every year?