It’s October and everything is awash in orange and black. Starbucks added pumpkin to their muffins and PSL’s to their drinks menu. Instagram feeds are full of costume inspiration and storefronts are filled with spooky cats and witches.

Americans will spend $6.9 billion to dress up for Halloween. Everyone is wondering what you will go as? Perhaps a sexy Black Widow? Or a sexy Minion? For a truly terrifying look, you could go as a sexy Donald Trump.

Photo: NBC News

Photo: NBC News

Disturbing no matter who you’d like to be, for women and younger and younger girls everything is skimpy and supposed to scream “I am a sex-siren.” Even if you go as the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

What will become of the top 2016 costumes that we searched for on Amazon, Walmart and Party City? Most likely we will toss them out, wigs and all, the morning of our epic hangover. Americans throw out 12,500 tons of Halloween costumes – that’s a football stadium filled 14 feet deep with halloween trash – every year!

Photo: Emaze

Photo: Emaze

But what if you took a closer look at that poorly made costume. Where was it made? China perhaps or Bangladesh? Just for a second imagine the young woman who made it for you.

She is 19 years old. Halloween is her worst nightmare. It’s rush orders of cheap clothing, which means long hours, with supervisors yelling and humiliating her to move faster and faster.

While you danced all night at a club, she sat up all night, making very little, to get you that itchy, sticky costume. You and she both touched the nasty flame retardant chemicals that go into the plastic and polyester fabric. How would she feel, knowing her hard work was tossed into a landfill after just one night of revelry?

What if we took Halloween back this year? What if we said no thank you to an industry that is made of toxins, harsh working conditions and the sexualization of young girls and women? Here are three ideas to buy better this Halloween:

  1. DIY: there is no better party conversation starter than a costume you glued, taped and stapled together. So go on, check out this Pinterest board and let your imagination fly.
Photo: POPSUGAR

Photo: POPSUGAR

  1. Swap: you can stop the flow of costumes into landfills by shopping on eBay or at vintage stores. Better yet, have your besties brings their costumes from last year to a pre-party at your place – turn up the music, swap and even coordinate costumes.
Halloween Costumes3

Photo: POPSUGAR

  1. Buy hand made: You can email a maker on sites like Etsy to sew a toxin free, hand made costume. Then rock out knowing that she was fairly paid and your costume was the talk of the party.
Photo: LolaNovaUK on Etsy

Photo: LolaNovaUK on Etsy

We’d love to see how you take Halloween back. Hashtag your DIY costumes on Instagram with #remakeourworld for a chance to get featured!

Happy Halloween!

Ayesha Barenblat
Ayesha is a social entrepreneur with a passion for building sustainable supply chains that respect people and our planet. Ayesha is passionate about where things come from, who made them and what their lives are like. She has spent the last decade working with brands, governments, and nonprofits to improve the lives of makers in global supply chains.