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Plastic-Free Living

Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes: Precycle, Upcycle, Recycle

October 17, 2020

Updated on 10/27/2020

Written by: Natalie Henderson, Marketing associate @blueland

The afternoons are getting a little cooler, the leaves a little less green, and soon fall will be in full swing. Which of course means Halloween is fast approaching! So as you start planning out decorations and costumes, why not figure out some ways to make your creepy celebrations a little more eco-friendly? After all, you don’t want the spookiest thing about your costume to be what it’s made from. Staying home doesn’t mean Halloween is cancelled! Whether you’re trick-or-treating in your home, or dressing up with family, you can still enjoy Halloween festivities! So here are a few easy suggestions to keep things green this Halloween!

Plastic-Free Costume Tips

Just because you’re staying home, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up! But, store-bought Halloween costumes use a lot of plastic. They are usually packaged in plastic, made from flammable plastics such as vinyl and polyester, shipped all over the country, and they can also be very expensive! It’s best to stay away from these costumes and instead turn to eco-friendly and wallet-friendly costume alternatives. You can save the planet and save money this Halloween by turning to the three eco-friendly cycles: precycling, upcycling, and recycling (bonus point for bicycling to any festivities).

Precycle Halloween Treats

Precycling is avoiding products that need to be recycled or thrown out whenever possible. For example: avoiding large prepackaged amounts of candy to save from using all of that plastic wrapping.

Precycling takes a bit of planning, but it can help reduce a lot of waste. To precycle Halloween costumes, try to find things you’ll use or wear again or use compostable materials to make your costume. Instead of buying a ghoul or ninja costume, see what creative things you can make out of the fabrics at home!

Booland idea: Take a precycled approach to a classic cat costume. Instead of buying a store-bought costume, buy black clothes that you’ll wear again, or use existing items from your closet. Purchase a black headband that you can wear later, and use old fabric or compostable paper to make cat ears. Use makeup you already have to draw on any face accents, and you’ve got a plastic-free cat!

Trick or tree: For plastic-free candy to pass out to ghosts and ghouls, look for paper wrapped goodies like the fruit slices at!

Upcycle Halloween Costumes and Decorations

Upcycling is taking items that you already have and repurposing them for something else. For Halloween, upcycling is a great way to save money and the planet. Check out the items in your closet and get creative! You can also supplement your costumes by shopping at a local thrift store for any additional items you may want to add.

Upcycling is also the most cost effective way to dress up. Sheets are great for funny ghosts, suits and dresses you already own do 95% of the work for fancier characters, old jeans or t-shirts can always be altered or repurposed, and black clothing can be a great base for almost any costume (not just cats)!

Booland idea: Upcycle items in your closet to turn your regular outfits into costumes. Accessorizing is key. Turn to items in the back of your closet and the thrift store to transform your regular outfit into a 1920’s flapper costume! Use an old scarf and cut fringe to attach to the bottom of a dress or skirt. Complete the look with a long strand of thrifted costume pearls and a sparkly headband, and you’ve got an upcycled look that’s a blast from the past!

Trick or tree: When decorating the home, lean towards plastic-free decorations. No house can ever have enough biodegradable pumpkins, and there are tons of awesome ways to use twine, towels, straw, cloths, mason jars, tea lights, and papers signs to spookify your home with witches and other scary fare.

Recycle Your Halloween Costumes And Decorations

If you’re a regular to the Booland blog, then you have read a thing or two about recycling before now. But recycling isn’t just for your plastic bottles and cans. You can recycle any old item by finding a new way to reuse or repurpose it. Recycling costumes is a great way to dress up without spending your money or making more waste.

Trick or tree: Why not save up all the plastic you would usually toss away in the time leading up to Halloween, then use it to make recycled skeletons, ghosts, ghouls, or anything your heart desires. It is an ambitious art project, a great family activity, and an eco-friendly way to make a scary Halloween scene!

If you are still having trouble finding costumes you love, check out DIY ideas from Pinterest for some inspiration. Search for recycled or eco-friendly costumes to get ideas that are fun for you and the planet. If crafting isn’t your thing, check out Etsy for homemade costumes that are made without creating extra waste! You can keep this Halloween eco-friendly by precycling, upcycling, recycling, and getting creative! Happy Halloween!


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