Green Neighbors Program

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Green Blog

News about our community as it relates to the environment

Rethinking Halloween Costumes

What has happened with Halloween costumes? As a kid, I remember when Halloween rolled around, we would scavenge around our home to see what we could piece together to make a costume. It was like a treasure hunt. It required creativity, thoughtfulness, usually no money and a whole lot of fun.

Now, we are inundated with fancy, high dollar costumes. They are everywhere from the local warehouse store to the grocery store. Beautiful, scary, gruesome or corny, but all shiny and new. I have to say I was tempted over the weekend by an amazing multi-tiered cake costume at TJ Maxx. Yes, I said cake costume! Who knew? It was calling my name! I could picture my seven year old daughter looking oh-so cute as a beautiful cake. Something I had never seen before. She would be the talk of the town! It was magical and shiny and glittery and oh so cute...and had gigantic hoops to make the layers of the cake and ...wait a minute! $35? For something she will only wear once? And then have to I store these gigantic hoops, or sell or pass it on to someone else? And continue to cycle of cheap Halloween costumes.

It made me think back to some of my costumes as a kid, teen and young adult. I remember the fun of digging through my mom's old prom dresses, hats or '70s attire. We had some amazing floral bell bottoms. I have no idea where they came from, but they made a few appearances at Halloween. I remember an old handmade and beloved lion costume we bought second hand that got many, many years of wear. And then there was that one time in college where I got the brilliant idea to dress up as a Christmas tree. I dressed all in green, adorned myself with ornaments, had a star atop my head and wrapped myself in lights. And yes, I plugged them in every time I was near an outlet. Hmm, not sure that was the safest of costumes, but it was college…

A few years ago my nephew and his middle school buddies wrapped themselves in mexican blankets they had around their house, donned a sombrero that every home seems to have and poof, they were a Mariachi band. They serenaded the home owners as they trick or treated. They were a hit! Inventive, creative, thrifty. I loved that! I guarantee they had way more fun dreaming up their idea, laughing about it, dressing up, laughing at each other, preparing their song, practicing and then pulling it all together than the other scenario. Beg mom and dad for money to buy a costume. Go to the costume store and pay way too much for something that looks cheap anyway. Wear a costume that scads of others have too. Hmm. Doesn't seem like there is even a comparison.

And what ever happened to wigs? Those are some of my family's favorite costume starters. There is one, that whoever wears it, there are no words. Well, maybe one name comes to mind. “Joe Dirt.” We have had countless memories of laughing our heads off when people drag out our garage sale wig collection. I'm sure that woman paid over a hundred dollars for these “classy” wigs from the 70s and they've had years of usefulness in my home! Well, maybe usefulness isn't the word… maybe they've had many years of creating hilarity, and that's worth just as much.

What are you doing this year to encourage reuse in your home and spark creativity? What could you dig up from the recesses of your home or memory boxes? What are you "preserving" in boxes in the attic that may create new memories if you shared them with your kids for their costumes. What's in your recycling container or headed for the garbage that could be crafted into an amazing one of a kind costume. Let's rethink how we do Halloween this year.

Here are some great ideas people came up with from things they found around their home:

Got bags?
Are you afraid of bats?!