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Serial procrastinators and pre-planning pros, rejoice!
We’ve gathered the best DIY Halloween costumes and sustainable Halloween costumes for adults and kids for your spooky-themed convenience.
From entering the Great Gatsby world to unleashing your inner Wednesday Addams energy, there are many low waste & zero waste Halloween costume ideas for every taste!
Best DIY Homemade Halloween Costumes in 2023.
Oh, Halloween – the only night of the year when modern witches, sultry pirates, and Eddie Munson from Stranger Things walking side by side makes perfect sense.
And, frankly, we love it!
But you know the one thing that doesn’t make any logical sense? The fact that for just one day of use, close to 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated.
That’s the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles being thrown away.
Now, if you consider the additional 1B pounds of pumpkins that are sent to landfills each year, which is approximately 360 million portions of pumpkin pie, the word “terrifying” gets a whole new meaning.
So, as much as I adore putting together those incredible head-to-toe looks, low-waste Halloween costumes is the only way to go. But don’t let the idea of putting together homemade Halloween costumes fool you.
These ensembles can be equally as scary, fun, and incredible as their store-bought counterparts. Minus the plastic waste, of course.
We curated the ultimate list of last-minute zero-waste Halloween costume ideas and sustainable DIY Halloween costumes. Spoiler alert: Prepare for a lot of “Omg, I see it now.”
How wasteful are Halloween costumes?
Did you know that 35 million Halloween costumes are thrown away in the U.S. each year? Also, just in the UK, around 2000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated from people throwing away their Halloween costumes.
The spookiest fact of all? 83% of Halloween costumes used non-recyclable oil-based plastics.
This basically means that all these single-use Halloween costumes can take up to 20-200 years to decompose!
Plus, cheap, disposable costumes from fast fashion retailers often produce clothing in ways that have a significant environmental impact. Fast fashion is associated with resource-intensive manufacturing processes and high levels of textile waste as well as terrible working conditions.
Luckily, we have the perfect antidote: Homemade low-waste Halloween costumes!
How do you make a sustainable Halloween costume?
- Reuse and repurpose: Look through your own wardrobe and any old clothing or items you have at home that could be used to create a costume. Consider how you can transform these items into a unique costume idea.
- Thrift shopping: Visit thrift stores or consignment shops to find costume pieces. You might discover clothing or accessories that can be incorporated into your costume. Thrifting reduces the demand for new clothing production and helps extend the life of existing items.
- Avoid plastic props: If your costume requires props or accessories, try to find alternatives that are not made of plastic. Look for items made from wood, metal, or other sustainable materials.
- Donate or share: After Halloween, consider donating your costume to a thrift store, costume drive, or costume swap event. Sharing costumes with friends or family members can also extend their lifespan.
- Rent a costume: Consider renting a costume from a costume shop or using an online costume rental service. This way, you can enjoy a unique costume without contributing to the waste associated with single-use costumes.
- Diy zero waste Halloween costume: Get creative and make your costume from scratch. Choose natural, biodegradable, or recyclable materials whenever possible. We’ll share the best low and zero-waste Halloween costume ideas below!
What are some scary facts about Halloween waste?
Begin with the vibrant, orange focal point of Halloween—pumpkins. According to estimates from the US Department of Energy, an astonishing 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins meet a fate of disposal after the Halloween festivities conclude each year.
Americans consume a staggering 100 billion plastic bags annually, and the inclusion of single-use trick-or-treat bags and the $2.36B on plastic decorations each year that end up in landfills only exacerbates this environmental issue.
Face paints for children contain a small amount of lead, ranging from 0.05 to 0.65 parts per million. Some paints might also include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, or mercury, which can cause skin issues such as sensitization and contact dermatitis.
EPA estimates that 17,030,000 tons of textile waste was generated in a single year, with 11,300,000 tons sent to landfill.
That’s exactly why we love low-waste Halloween costumes so much! Homemade Halloween costumes for adults and kids reduce waste and promote responsible consumption and creativity.
So, let’s get into it!
This blog post is all about the best homemade Halloween Costume Ideas.
Super Simple Sustainable Halloween Costume Ideas:
Rent a Halloween Costume
Honestly, my favorite way to do Halloween is in a rented costume.
I don’t have to deal with keeping the costume in my closet or storage room (because you know I’d save it forever), and I could have fun with new costume ideas that I never would have thought of.
Costume rental shops often offer a wide range of options, including professionally crafted costumes that are more detailed and realistic than store-bought alternatives.
Also, renting helps minimize the carbon footprint associated with costume manufacturing and disposal.
That’s because most store-bought costumes are made of synthetic materials that have a negative impact on the environment.
Secondhand Halloween Costumes
Second hand shopping is our thing! So much so that we even rounded up the best second hand wedding dress shops for your special day!
Seriously, why not give a pre-owned costume a new life?
So many fun options in secondhand shops – Charlie Chaplin is another favorite for secondhand finds.
Also, see our list below for great suggestions for homemade costume ideas that you can 100% find in a secondhand shop.
Homemade Costume Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Halloween:
1. Jet Pack
A freakin DIY Soda Bottle Jet Pack? Yes! That’s right.
With just cardboard, an elastic band, some glue, felt, and paint, you’ll have the ultimate last-minute zero waste Halloween costume for your little one!
2. The Mummy
Spine-tingling mystique of ancient Egypt meets spooky modern world, what’s a better combo? With just a few crepe bandages, you’ll give your friends goosebumps while paying homage to one of the most iconic and hair-raising monsters in cinematic history. It’s a spooky, fun, and historically fascinating choice for Halloween!
Got some pool noodles lying around?
This video shows a slew of zero-waste Halloween costume ideas –from the tooth fairy and campfire to Jack and the Beanstalk, honey bear, equestrian, or even a monster.
These homemade Halloween costumes are not only downright adorable but also very easy to make.
4. Great Gatsby
Low-waste Halloween costumes from another era? No prob!
This flapper girl costume is simply amazing.
Embrace the extravagance and mystique of the era, with an easy costume with DIY accessories and some clothing you already have to transport yourself to the glamorous Jazz Age.
5. Tinker Bell
Sprinkle a little DIY magic and create your own enchanting Tinkerbell costume!
All you’ll need to channel your little one’s inner pixie is a green leotard, white tights, wings, and a pair of shoes!
This sustainable DIY Halloween costume is so easy to make!
Turning egg cartons into zero-waste Halloween costume ideas? It’s possible! Simply cut out a dozen egg cups from an egg carton and paint them as well, before hot gluing them onto the cardboard, and voila! Your own Lego costume. The tutorial also shows an amazing cow costume idea with egg cups from an egg carton – ohh adorable!
Casper the Friendly Ghost in an old sheet! It can’t get any easier than that.
It’s a completely zero-waste Halloween costume idea you can make in under 5 minutes.
Let’s ‘boo-gin’ the fun!
If you’re looking for sustainable DIY Halloween costumes for men, this pirate costume only requires a shirt, a pair of jeans, your favorite plain belt, a red bandana, and some gold bangles plus a sword and an eye patch. That’s it!
Homemade Halloween costumes from on-screen characters are a crowd favorite!
This last-minute zero-waste Halloween costume requires you to put your makeup skills to the test.
You can easily transform your shirt and black dress and a shirt into a full-on lewk and let your spooky and sardonic side shine!
With just a few balloons, you can easily create an array of adorable homemade Halloween costumes for your kiddos!
Circus strongman? Check.
Little grape human? Double check.
Carmen Miranda? You bet!
1 1. Sandy From Grease
Want to bring a 70s vibe to the spooky mix?
Here’s a fantastic low-waste Halloween costume idea that allows you to showcase your dual personality – the good girl and the bad girl.
The tutorial covers hair, makeup, and costume – so, let’s get to work!
For those BBFs or lovebirds who want to really make an entrance, we found 15 DIY Halloween costume ideas for best friends or couples.
Spoiler alert: You should check out the “raining cats and dogs” costume – can’t get any more creative than that!
13. Bat Costume
Do you have a black umbrella? That’s literally all you need to create this low-waste Halloween costume!
Follow the easy tutorial to craft the wings, choose a head-to-toe black look, and voila! No other trick-or-treater will look the same – we guarantee it!
14. David Bowie
No, you don’t need pro-level skills to create this last minute zero waste Halloween costume of David Bowie.
With just a few face crayons and elastic hair ties, you’ll be able to recreate the look in no time!
Love feather boas? Check out these sustainable DIY Halloween costumes for kids.
There’s a cutesy poodle, a fuchsia flamingo, and an adorable skunk – all made with items you already own!
What’s a more classic low-waste Halloween costume idea than a cat? All you’ll need is a dress, a black boa, cat ears (duhh), some felt, and, of course, kids’ makeup! No worries, the tutorial shows you exactly how to create all the above from scratch!
17. Cereal Killer
Prepare for many “ooh, I see it now” moments! This Cereal Killer is a fun and creative idea for every Halloween party.
With just one large packing box or other large box, clear packing tape, paint, and paint brushes, you’ll get an incredibly unique costume for your little trick-or-treater!
Eager to hop on the Barbie frenzy train? This low-waste Halloween costume requires us to go bold or go home!
Find a few clothes that match the skating Barbie aesthetic; follow the tutorial to recreate the cutesy-athletic look; go for a flawless makeup look with pink eyeshadow, long eyelashes, and pink lipstick and you’re ready to go!
19. Greek Goddess
Greek goddesses are often depicted as symbols of timeless beauty and grace. And, let’s face it, so are you *wink*.
For this sustainable DIY Halloween costume, you’ll need to get your hands on some wire, grab a few leaves, spray paint, and a long piece of white fabric. It’s easier than it sounds!
20. Plant Lady
Plant parents, this one is for you! This is not only one of the easiest zero-waste Halloween costume ideas but also very creative!
You’ll need to create your own “plant lady tee” and decorate yourself with a greenery garland. Then, grab a fake plant and a watering can to finish the look. Easy peasy!
This blog post is all about DIY Halloween Costume Ideas.
With a little imagination, resourcefulness, and a sprinkle of DIY magic, you can fashion costumes that not only turn heads but also contribute to a more sustainable celebration with these low-waste Halloween costumes.
So, go forth and craft your homemade Halloween ensemble because being green and ghoul-lishly good-looking never goes out of style!
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