Your guide to suiting up sustainably this Halloween


Neve Marin Rue Galmarini

Halloween costumes that are thrown away, piling up in a dumpster.

The scariest thing about Halloween is not the haunted houses or creepy masks – it’s the carbon footprint the holiday entails. Billions of candy wrappers and wasteful halloween decorations ending up in the trash are definitely not going to help with our planet’s worsening climate disaster. However, the excess of costumes are even worse for Halloween’s carbon footprint. 

Fast fashion retailers such as Shein, Dollskill, and Pretty Little Thing produce millions of costumes each year for Halloween. This contributes greatly to the estimated 12 million pounds of textile waste in the United States and the 85 percent of Halloween costumes that wind up in the landfill

The expense of Halloween costumes can also add up, as costumes often require many different pieces to perfect a look. On average, Americans spend $3.4 billion dollars on costumes every year. In addition, around 83 percent of the materials that make up these costumes – and their packaging – are plastic. The result of this is the annual thousands of tons of plastic waste from consumers in the United States after Halloween.

So, what is the most sustainable Halloween costume? The answer? Anything that doesn’t require purchasing anything new  ultimately reigns as the most sustainable option for a costume. If you don’t have a costume at home, check out local thrift stores. They usually have a wide selection of inexpensive, pre-owned costumes waiting to be purchased. If thrifting or looking through your closet doesn’t work out, another option is to make your own costume, as there are thousands of easy costume tutorials online.

In the end, a sustainable costume is a win-win. It’s often low-cost or even completely free, and there aren’t excess amounts of plastic waste from costumes only worn once. So, refrain from ordering last minute costumes on Amazon, and instead stop by the local thrift store or take a look in your own closet.