Halloween is not exactly known as a sustainable holiday. For many Americans the routine goes something like this: buy a costume, wear it once, throw it out. Personally, it always bothered me that I would spend all this money on an outfit that I’d wear once, maybe twice, that would then, at best, collect dust in the back of my closet. This got me to thinking: there’s got to be a more conscious way to costume-up for this iconic holiday.

It’s time we rewrite the rules of what it means to ‘dress up’ for Halloween. Wouldn’t it be fun and worth the challenge to only source costume items that we could and would repurpose into our everyday attire, or better yet from our already owned everyday attire?

My suggestion is to build a wardrobe of items I call multitaskers — items you can mix and match and restyle in many different ways for multiple occasions.

Who doesn’t want the most bang for their buck and to feel good about their purchasing power!? This is one way we can wear our values!

For instance, one year I dressed up as Holly Golightly from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s — very stylish, right? Not only was it a ton of fun, but I could rework that little black dress for a number of different occasions; the tiara, I used for other Halloween costumes and even a bachelorette party; that timeless string of pearls — well of course I’ll be wearing those forever. Doesn’t everyone need a pair? 

Laura dressed up as Holly Golightly and a ’50s girl
Another year, I dressed up as a ’50s girl with a costume that was sourced exclusively secondhand. Featured secondhand and vintage items transition easily from everyday wardrobe to holiday costume looks, helping to maximize and extend the lifecycle of purchases. What’s old is new again! Shopping secondhand helps to decrease the demand on the fast fashion industry to produce faster, cheaper clothing at the expense of people and the planet.

The reusability of certain items will depend on your own personal style and lifestyle. For example, an LBD and a string of pearls are items I will rewear and restyle many ways, for many occasions, and for many years to come. I can do more with less, and feel good about the positive impact I am having on the planet.

Secondhand shopping not only saves money compared to shopping at a Halloween Superstore or online, but shopping secondhand is a sustainable way to shop by extending the lifecycle of clothing items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Bottomline: if you’re on the hunt for your next best Halloween costume, look for multi-purpose costume ideas. You’ll feel good knowing you can reuse those items again and again, and you can maximize the wardrobe you already own. Less waste! Less money spent! And less space eaten up in your closet with items you no longer need or use.

Reuse, restyle, repurpose: Remake’s 2019 Sustainable Halloween Inspiration

Here are a few Remake-approved costume choices that you’ll want to hang onto for years to come.

How to Dress Sustainably for Halloween

  1. Cassiopeiae Midi Dress by Arteaga

Flower child? This is the perfect blank canvas to which you can embellish with over the top hippie-inspired accessories, a flower crown and 60’s-era makeup.

How to Dress Sustainably for Halloween

2. Marlowe Dress by Reformation 

Holly Golightly? The little black dress was the signature Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn look. It is also a staple to have and to hold in your own wardrobe for life.

How to Dress Sustainably for Halloween

3. A-line Midi Skirt by mila.vert

Modern Wicked Witch of the West? A midi skirt is a multitasking garment to incorporate for your Halloween look and beyond.

How to Dress Sustainably for Halloween

4. V&A Cosmic Print Skirt by People Tree

60s model Twiggy? A mod miniskirt will nail the look and you’ll still get plenty of miles from it for workwear or a night out with the girls.

Conscious Costume Tips

Here are a few tips and tricks for creating a Halloween costume that won’t end up in a landfill as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

  • Dress the part of a movie character you love, such as Sandy from Grease, or from a time period you are intrigued by, like the roaring 20s, utilizing items you could repurpose into your everyday life.
  • Purchase ‘costumes’ that can be repurposed as outfits worn in your everyday life, or even repurposed for future costumes.
  • Buying pre-loved items from local thrift, vintage, or consignment stores is another great way to lessen the impact on the environment and slow down the demand on the fashion industry to produce faster, cheaper clothing at the expense of people and the planet.

Shopping for items that you can rewear for different occasions and repurpose in different ways is a sustainable shopping practice that can easily reduce unnecessary waste. It is something we all can try next time we’re hitting the stores — whether for Halloween or your everyday wardrobe.

Search for sustainable pieces that you can rewear again and again, no matter the occasion. Check out Remake’s Sustainable Brand directory.

Images: Unsplash, c/o Paramount Pictures, Amaryllis Sternweiser/Flickr, c/o Aaron Blackburn Photography

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