Photo credit: Dreamstime
This guest post was written by Tuesday Phillips, founder and editor of ecolutionist.
As the one and only time of year that you can put on just about anything you want and act completely out of character, Halloween is the paramount time for sending eco-inspired messages about the perils of the planet—without saying a word. Think about it: You are free to create any festive persona or character your mind desires; why not make it something eco-themed or create a costume from used, recycled, or found materials and get your party-going friends talking—and thinking?
The possibilities are endless, but I have made the quest for the perfect Halloween eco-ensemble slightly less treacherous for you by compiling a list of Create-Your-Own and Ready-Made costume ideas that are sure to get you crowned "best tree-hugging costume" at the party.
Create-Your-Own Halloween Costume Ideas
With each passing year, it seems that the Earth falls prey to even more uncertainty. A garbage patch the size of Texas is floating in the Pacific, we're losing species at an alarming rate, and genetically modified organisms are increasingly make their way into our food supply. Scary stuff, for sure—and perfect jumping off points for creative, eco-inspired outfits. Below, a few halloween costume ideas that take advantage of this sad state of affairs.
1. Drowning Polar Bear
I did this one a couple years ago and everyone loved it. All you need to do is to wear all white—a long-sleeved white shirt and white pants. Find a white, faux-fur ski hat and sew white ears to the top. I also wore polar bear house slippers, bear claws (but you could also just paint your fingernails black), and orange floaties (get it? they represent the drowning polar bears). You could wear a life vest or life ring instead.
2. Freegan, or Dumpster Diver
To make this costume, you'll need to find an old box on its way to the recycle bin and transform it (ironically) into a dumpster. You'll want a fairly large box then will cut off all of the flaps but one, which will be left on to act as the dumpster's lid. Paint it blue (or another dumpsterlike color) with eco-friendly paint and cut two holes on the front of the box (one on each upper corner) and two holes on the back of the box (one on each upper corner). Find a couple of pieces of used rope or fabric to insert through the holes (these will be used to keep the box on your shoulders so make sure you cut enough). Find some random items to place in the box (so that it is peering out), like food, used clothes, small house hold items, etc. For added drama, mess up your hair a bit and place what looks like pieces of trash in it to get a true "dumpster diving" look. You'll have to utilize some of your acting skills with this one and talk about how much society wastes, and the anti-consumerist movement a bit so people really understand what your costume is about.
3. Carton of Organic Blueberries
Follow the same instructions for the Freegan/Dumpster Diver costume and make a box that can hang over your shoulders (you'll want to paint this one green). Paint your face and neck blue. Wear a long-sleeved blue shirt and make a sign that sticks out of the box of berries that reads "organic blueberries." For the rest of the blueberries in the carton, you can use crumbled-up pieces of old newspaper (or plastic bags), rolled into balls and painted a non-toxic blue, or if you have some large rubber balls lying around the house, that would work, too.
4. Disappearing or Disappointed Bee
I recently watched the documentary, The Vanishing of the Bees (a must see, by the way) and was inspired to create a costume to raise awareness about Colony Collapse Disorder. First, you'll need to find a used bumble bee costume or make your own. For the Disappearing Bee, paint your face white with black circles under your eyes to represent the vanishing existence of bees.
For the Disappointed Bee: Carry around a wilted flower, representing the idea that the pesticides and GMOs in the flowers may be making the plants and bees sick. This could make a good couples costume, too, with one person as the vanishing/dying bee and the other a pesticide-drenched flower.
5. Pacific Garbage Patch Zombie
Use non-toxic body and face paint to paint your skin blue or green and wear soiled and torn clothes—perhaps adding some seaweed for added effect—and attach dirty plastic bags around your body. String a chain of empty water bottles to your neck to represent the the biggest contributor to the patch.
Wear all green, paint your face green and carry around green paint and a paint brush. Wear a button or shirt that reads something like, "eco-friendly."
7. Over-Heated Mother Nature
Dress in natural clothing and make it look like it is burned on the edges. Wear red-hot face blush and carry around a hand-held fan and spray bottle. You'll have to walk around expressing how "hot" it is and that you are "melting," etc.
8. Oxygen-Deprived Treehugger
This costume starts out as the typical tree-hugger costume—but it sends more than just a friendly message about loving the trees and planet. Find an old long-sleeved sweatshirt, stuff the arms with newspaper or socks and pin them together holding a miniature tree. Then, you're going to want to create something that looks like oxygen tubing going into your nose.
9. Dress as the ChicoBag Bag Monster
This one, inspired by ChicoBag's Bag Monster, is pretty simple. All you have to do is attach a bunch of plastic bags to your body (ones on their way to the recycle bin, of course).
10. Low Impact Commuter
This one is easy, if you already have the gear. Wear bike clothing and a shirt with an eco-commuter message, like "commute for the earth" or "go green, ride a bike" and show up to your party on a bike.
Tips for Finding Halloween Costumes1. Organize a Costume Swap Since Halloween comes only once a year, costumes are generally worn once and then either discarded or left to sit in storage for decades. Why not organize a costume swap with your friends? You'll save money and maintain your weightless eco-footprint.
2. Hit the Vintage Stores and Online Shops
Vintage shopping is always a great way to spruce up or create a costume. You may go in with a costume in mind or go in clueless and come out with some fantastic ideas! For online vintage shopping, check out eBay Green and ModCloth.
3. Go "Shopping" in Your Own Closet
You never know what you might find when rummaging through old clothes. Give it a try!
4. Recycle Items You Have Laying Around
Cardboard, plastic bags, yarn, string, cans, bottles, foil, etc., can all be used to create unique costumes that are easy on the planet and your wallet.
More green Halloween costume ideas:
Make Your Own Cheaper, Better Halloween Costume
Top Homemade Halloween Costumes for the DIY-Impaired
4 Easy Eco Friendly Halloween Tips