Fashion and Retail Association
How to Combat Post-Halloween Waste
By: Erica Schwartz
In the world of fashion, Halloween is arguably one of the most important holidays of the year. Every year millions of people all around the world dress up to celebrate. Most of the costumes people wear are purchased from fast fashion retailers like Shein, Dolls Kill, and Amazon. These costume pieces are worn once and then sent to landfills, contributing to a pre-existing textile waste problem. According to a study conducted by Fairyland trust, over 2,000 tons of textile waste is generated annually in the UK alone. If this is the waste output of one country, imagine the waste output globally!
Even with growing public awareness about the problematic nature of fast fashion, it’s still super easy to think of Halloween costumes as a “use once and destroy” type of thing. However, this attitude can have drastic impacts on the environment. Each of us can play a role in reducing the waste generated from Halloween each year. Continue reading to find out how YOU can help reduce waste and shift the narrative around Halloween costumes.
Most thrift and consignment stores accept Halloween costumes, especially if they are lightly worn. Additionally, there are numerous charities like the Ronald McDonald House which accept both Halloween costumes and monetary donations for annual Halloween drives.
Who says you can only wear costume pieces on Halloween? Put your styling skills to the test by finding ways to repurpose and restyle Halloween costume pieces into everyday looks. Whether you pair a corset with blue jeans or wear those knee socks under a pair of boots, the possibilities are endless!
If you don’t feel comfortable incorporating costume pieces into your daily wardrobe, you can always hold onto costumes for next Halloween or other themed parties. You never know when the odd moment will arise that you need a pair of fairy wings or a headband with animal ears!
If you broke the bank for your costume(s) this year, you can put some cash back in your pocket while having a positive environmental impact. List items on online platforms like Depop, Poshmark, or ThredUp and sell items right from your dorm!
Nowadays, you have instructions for any DIY project you want to attempt right at your fingertips. Head to YouTube and find some clever ways to rework your Halloween clothing items into something new!
If you purchased your costume from a fast fashion retailer this year, consider switching it up next year! Try to thrift as much of your costume as possible, borrow from friends, use pieces you already have in your closet, or even make one from scratch.
Whichever way you obtained your costume and whatever you do with it now are both your choice. None of us are perfect, especially when it comes to complex issues such as environmentalism. However, we all have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint, especially when it comes to the things we purchase and the clothes we wear. Consider any of the options above and choose the option which best fits your lifestyle. Maybe none of them work, maybe all of them work, or maybe you have even better ideas that aren’t featured here! Whatever next steps you take with your Halloween costume, try to take them with compassion for both yourself and the world around you.