Your Guide to a Greener Costume

Written by Lindsay Mensch

Halloween is a beloved holiday for many reasons: candy, haunted attractions, trick-or-treating, etc. I believe that the best part of Halloween, however, is being able to dress up. It is the one time of year when it is socially acceptable to wear the craziest, most creative clothes you can think of. I have always loved to think of unique costume ideas, and then find ways to create the outfit by being thrifty and environmentally conscious. Once you have a great costume idea, it can be hard to find things to pull together to make a cohesive outfit without having to go shopping at a costume store. But I have found that by using elements of my old costumes and my current clothes, I can make something amazing and completely unique.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out a great costume for Halloween this year:

1. So what should I even be for Halloween?

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.03.00 PM
My sister and I made cat costumes for Halloween one year.

Think about what inspires you. What do you love? What are you currently reading, watching on TV or in movies, hearing about, seeing outside, etc.? Pull inspiration from the things around you, whether it’s from your friends, strangers, or pop culture. Don’t be afraid of judgment either; dress as someone or something

that you love! Make a list of your ideas as you think of them.

2. How can I make a costume that I like without spending any money or using any additional resources?

Now that you have your list, start looking through your clothing to see what you could possibly use for any of those costumes. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to improvise. Remember that thin, old cardigan that’s sitting in the bottom of your dresser? Do you think you can turn that into some sort of scarf or headpiece? Don’t be afraid to experiment with different clothing combinations, because something that may look silly on the hanger may be perfect for your costume! Also, go outdoors and

Last year, my friend Grace and I dressed up as characters from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I was Sofia and she was Raskolnikov!
Last year, my friend Grace and I dressed up as characters from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I was Sofia and she was Raskolnikov!

see if you can use anything from there. Additionally, ask your friends if you can borrow their things. If they have something that would perfectly complete an idea you have been formulating, ask away!

3. Why shouldn’t I buy complete costumes from Halloween stores?

One reason is that it limits your creativity. Sure, you can buy a set of accessories and clothing that match perfectly, but does it really showcase your style?  You can make creative choices with your own clothes and occasionally go out and buy an accessory that is versatile. That way, you can use it for various costumes in the future or incorporate it in your outfits from day to day. This is a much more economical and environmentally friendly approach to Halloween costuming. This way, you don’t have to get rid of old costumes that don’t fit or have no further application and you can reuse elements of them again and again!

Good luck, and Happy Halloween!

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