8 Ways To Make Your Halloween Costume Sustainable

The holidays are one of the most joyful times of the year. For many of us, the prospect of spooky decorations and a six foot tree in our living spaces is a welcome distraction from what can otherwise be a period of rainy, windy, darkness– if you’re British that is.
My family have always taken holidays seriously. My mother has the Halloween decorations up in September, and the Christmas decorations are a well-orchestrated event that cannot go awry.

As much as I adore the holiday season, and my families indulgence in all things Christmas and Halloween related, this year, I’ve become more cautious of the environmental impact our holidays are having.

I want to enjoy the season whilst staying in tune to the horrors that plague our reality; the impact waste, industry, and production is having on our planet and our lifestyles- no matter how scary it may be.

Wear Vintage

Halloween is the perfect time to make use of your vintage gems. Transport yourself back to terrifying time-periods past with one of a kind, bespoke vintage pieces.

Costume ideas:

Seek out the perfect jewelled mini dress and indulge in a taste of the 1920s.

Send shivers down your significant others spine with an old lace dress and your best traumatised corps-bride impression.

Layer up a selection of old mismatched jewellery and a vintage patterned scarf to tell the futures of your fellow party-goers.

Where to source:

There are endless avenues for vintage shopping. Your local town might have its own vintage store. Several high-street charity shops now have a designated vintage section- I highly recommend Sue Ryder for my fellow Brits. If you’re feeling a little COVID cautious, there are superb platforms selling vintage pieces online. Browse Etsy for curated online vintage stores; this might be the easiest method if you have a particular look/costume in mind. Otherwise, eBay can be a goldmine for vintage. People are often selling odd bits and bobs found at the back of the wardrobe, or nicknacks they don’t need.

Halloween is all about legends of the old and unspeakable, embrace this and make sure your costume has a history and a tale of its own.

Thrift Your Costume

In the spirit of vintage, pre-loved clothing is a great way to be sustainable with your Halloween costumes. Vintage pieces can often have a higher price tag, and you also run the risk of investing in an item you’ll only be able to wear a few times of the year. If you thrift your costume, you’re likely going to be getting something at a discounted price and more versatile for everyday wearing.

Costume ideas:

Thrifted outfits are often an easy way to nail your character-inspired outfits. If you’re looking to dress up as an iconic movie or television character, regular second-hand items are the easiest way.

Find an eye-catching red mini dress and a pair of matching strappy heels and embrace your inner nineties queen with a Cher Horowitz inspired outfit.

Where to thrift:

Head to your local thrift store or charity shop to rummage through the rails– remain open-minded and have your creative visionary head on. Something might not seem like it has the potential to be the perfect spooktacular piece for October 31st, but it’s up to you to see the potential.

Around this time of year, loads of people are selling their old Halloween garms and profiting off the season. If you’re looking for the perfect ready-made Halloween look or a one-off piece that fits your costume perfectly, Depop is stocked full of incredible items.

Use Your Wardrobe

Last year, I utilised my purple obsession and dressed up as Daphne from Scooby-Doo. A purple jumper and skirt, paired with my white boots and leftover green fabric from the craft store, meant I’d nailed the iconic mystery gang character only spending a few pennies, and feeling pretty badass in the meantime.

Costume ideas:

Each member of the famous crime-fighting teenage gang has an easy to recreate style. See what items are lurking in your friend’s wardrobes, and style out one of the most iconic group costumes of all time.

Another, more up to date, teenage gang to dress up as is the kids from stranger things. Their eighties inspired ensembles are easy to replicate with a quick riffle through the wardrobe or a trip to the local charity shop.

Where’s Wally is an easy costume to nail; all you need is a red stripey T-shirt, a woolly bobble hat, and a pair of black-rimmed glasses.

Rewear Your Costumes

I adored last years Halloween look, so much so that I’m choosing to wear it again this year. I’m a firm believer that if you love an outfit, you’ll want to wear it more than once, and Halloween is no exception. There’s no shame in wearing the same Halloween costume several years in a row!

You could team up with your friends and do a costume swap; if you went as Daphne, and they Velma last year, swap roles this year. Re-wear your Cher Horowitz red dress with some Depop or eBay sourced devil horns for a restyled version of the same outfit.

Use You Family and Friends Wardrobe

Ask your friends and family if you can have a look through their clothes to see if they have any items that fit your costumes or spark an idea. Inform them of your sustainable intentions, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to help!

Get Creative

Halloween is a time of self-expression and creativity. Sustainability doesn’t take this away; sustainability encourages creativity. Having limited resources means you have to think in unique and unconventional ways. Use this opportunity to be more mindful and interactive– you’ll feel a lot more fulfilled for it.

Costume ideas:

Nothing is more classic than a ghost sheet. Although the childish trope of throwing a sheet over your head with two holes for eyes may seem outdated and humorous, I find it to be nostalgic and heartwarming. Throwing it back to the days of childish innocence
and simplicity can help you reconnect with the joys of the season.

Rent your costume

Despite the increasing popularity of renting clothing for occasions, renting Halloween costumes isn’t a new concept. People have been renting crazy and extreme Halloween costumes for years. It’s a great way to get a detailed and accurate costume without the added price tag or unnecessary waste. Often these outfits are high-quality and an extremely accurate portrayal of the character/ concept you’re looking to go as.

Where to rent:

Mad Hatters Fancy Dress


Complete Costumes

US: HalloweenCostumes.com

One In, One Out

If you’re super keen to try something new this season, adopt the one in one out policy to reduce over-consumption. I use this method as a means to save money, but it also works to reduce waste and continue the slow fashion cycle. If you’re going to purchase a new costume, sell your old one beforehand, use the money, and ensure your wardrobe isn’t howling at the seams with too much polyester terror.

These are a few ways to shop and source sustainable costumes this Halloween. We’d love to know what you’re planning to style up this spooky season and what sustainably steps you’re taking to get there!

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