Dressing up for Halloween is almost a rite of passage in the US.
It's right up there now as an event to go all out for alongside Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah. But how do you create sustainable Halloween costumes?
My children were under a year old when we took them out for their first trick or treat. My goodness!!! I’d love to say that I had found them some eco friendly things, but it was impossible. This is what my family looked like at their first Halloween! Yes, they wore 100% polyester bee costumes.
We went house to house cradling them, and we weren't the only ones with our babies in tow!
With 2021 the first year back to 'in-person events' after the start of the pandemic, for this massive dressing-up occasion, it's expected you may want to go all out if COVID allows. However, finding organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly Halloween costumes for your baby or toddler is no mean feat.
Currently, the majority of costumes available are made of synthetic fabrics. Fast fashion is usually the name of the game when it comes to dressing up. It's not easy to come by costumes that are ethically made or second-hand, which is how you can support 'slow fashion.' It's very tempting to go synthetic when it comes to costumes because it's often unlikely your child or infant will be able to fit into it a year on.
But how do you do that when it comes to a Halloween costume? There is a way! In fact, there are some excellent options on the market that you can buy if you want to keep organic and eco-friendly at the forefront when you make your purchases. But what should you look out for?
And what can you do to try and make sure a costumed event doesn't have a significant environmental footprint?
Here at 10 to 12 Baby Lounge, we are all about being as eco-friendly as possible with our fabrics and process. Here are some ways you can create costumes for Halloween without feeling you've ignored sustainability and the environment.
What Are The Benefits Of Sustainable Halloween Costumes?
There are several benefits when it comes to creating sustainable Halloween costumes. One of the most obvious ones is that using things you already have around the house means you are saving yourself money and being eco-friendly. Many costumes are created using petro-chemical based plastics and synthetic fibers that you can't recycle.
DIY and sustainable costumes are also safer for your health. Some costumes are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This soft plastic is known to cause liver cancer, brain and lung cancers, leukemia, and lymphoma.
Try and stay away from costumes that are filled with foam. There is a very high chance the foam is polyurethane foam which has flame retardants. Great for safety, but not so great for the planet.
How To Create Your Sustainable Halloween Costumes
Get Some Wings
Wings can be adapted to many different costumes. You can adjust them to be anything from an angel to a fairy and even a dragon or bird. The best bit? You don't need to worry too much about them not fitting a year down the line.
Reversible Hooded Cloaks
The great thing about cloaks is they can be used for a multitude of costumes. And in several different styles. Wear the hood on or off, or tuck it behind your child's back. Go for witches or wizards. Or you can have the grim reaper or even a knight.
And, of course, several different Harry Potter characters.
The White Dress
White dresses are the base of so many different costumes. Anything from a fairy to an angel, as well as snowflakes and swans. If you want to go for a slow fashion example, hit the charity shops or vintage shops. Or you could go for nightwear made from organic or our favorite, Peruvian cotton. The other great thing? A white dress can be worn after Halloween is over.
Say It With Headwear
You can use sustainable fabrics to make headwear for a costume for your child. A straw hat is an option, or go for a headband which you can dress up and dress down again to use another time. You can use feathers or flowers if you want to use some totally natural items.
Wool felt is an entirely natural product. And compared to other natural or manmade fibers, it has a minimal environmental impact as it's made. Felt lasts a lot longer than other upholstery materials. Even better, because wool felt is made from sheep wool, it can be safely removed after use because it's 100% biodegradable.
You can use felt to make superhero badges and make animal ears that you can sew onto a headband.
Make Your Own Face Paint
Children's face and body paint can be full of toxins. If you don't want to dress your little one in anything nasty, you definitely don't want to put anything directly on their skin.
It's very easy to create face and body paint yourself. And the good thing is you can use items that you have in your kitchen.
For example, a simple body paint can be made using cornstarch, body lotion, water, and food coloring. Then you can go for the Incredible Hulk or witch.
Rent Your Costume
If you rent your Halloween costume, you can guarantee it will be have been and will be worn more than once. So it will use fewer resources. You also know it will be taken care of. If you were to donate the costume, you can't guarantee the customer will find a new home. And then it might end up being trashed or shredded. Or even resold in a developing country.
Use A Onesie
Onesies can be used as pajamas after having been worn as a sustainable Halloween costume. Or just to snuggle up in with your little one. However, we, of course, advocate you use a onesie made from Peruvian cotton or a material that is kind to your little one's skin!
If you REALLY want to buy a costume, check out these super cute pajamas by Burt’s Bees Baby. You can use them as a base, and even get a matching set. Then be mindful of your accessories and create a great look with a clear conscience.
Tips To Have An Eco-Friendly Halloween Party
Now you have the outfits sorted out, you want to make sure your party or gathering is eco-friendly as well. If you keep your Halloween party 'green,' you can ensure you are having fun without causing harmful effects to the environment.
First, you can send electronic invites instead of paper. And forget about recycled paper cups. If you do want to use paper cups, make sure they're compostable. These by Susty Party, which sells compostable party products, are a great option.
You can also use glassware and washable utensils. And when it comes to getting rid of the trash, put out recycling bins for bottles and cans. And, of course, you can buy organic and locally grown party food. Or choose products from your local farmers' market.
And always remember, you can do more with your pumpkins than just have them as scary jack-o-lanterns. You can keep and roast their seeds for a great snack. Or, of course, make pumpkin pie with the flesh you've carved out. And if you want to have another party, bring some more fun to the mix by having a compostable pumpkin get-together.