US consumers are expected to spend $3.32 billion on Halloween costumes this year. Most of these will be inexpensive disposable costumes sold by retailers like Spirit Halloween and Walmart.

About 83% of the materials used to make these costumes are derived from plastic. And many sets will be thrown away on November 1st.

In the UK, a study found that 7 million outfits are thrown out every year and that's the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles. In the US, a country with a population five times that of the UK and where Halloween is a popular holiday, that number would be significantly higher.

The good news is that you can still have a good Halloween without going to waste. In fact, you can use used Halloween costumes when disposable costumes are not the norm.

“When I was growing up, we made our own clothes or bought them from thrift stores,” says Aja Barber, author of Consumered: The Need for Collective Change.

Four years ago, Tiffany Beveridge, content director at children's clothing start-up Primary, launched a free Halloween costume helper service to help people make their own costumes from their own clothes. The company has a helpline and email address where people can request instructions on how to create costumes for both adults and children.

Here's a step-by-step guide for creating more eco-friendly apparel this year.

Take the time to make your own holiday outfit

The beauty of ready-to-wear clothing is that you can wear it conveniently at any time.

But Beveridge says making your own clothes doesn't take as much time as you might think. Many people can create an impressive outfit in as little as half an hour, or more sophisticated outfits can take a day.

However, you will obviously need to source enough materials before doing so. On top of that being able to make a Halloween costume yourself is a lot more fun.

It's important to remember that perfection is not the ultimate goal. The important thing is that you will have a lot of fun while creating it. And remember that not all store-bought outfits are great.

Creativity will make you special

Most retailers stock a popular outfit to hit the market each holiday season. That's why you'll see so many witches and spiders every year. It clearly made Halloween costumes popular.

Beveridge believes that being able to create your own outfit will make you unique and unique. Especially the fact that you can freely create appropriate outfits according to the trends and intentions that you desire.

If you're looking for inspiration, there are plenty of places to look. You can search for the keyword “DIY Halloween Costumes” on Pinterest and Instagram.

Reduce waste to the environment Even when we create our own clothes, we can still inadvertently cause waste if we cut new clothes or modify them in such a way that you cannot reuse them. To avoid this, you need to devise a costume design strategy.

Beveridge recommends using monochromatic clothing as a base, such as a single color t-shirt and leggings. If you unfortunately have these items in your closet, you can buy and wear them again in the future.

Instead of permanently changing these clothes, use double-sided fabric tape to glue pieces on top like felt, cardboard, ruffles, or colorful tulle. You can also wear pointed-toe party hats or make a cardboard hat. If you want to be attracted by flashy colors, you can wear red, yellow and green outfits, then print big logos and stick them on t-shirts.

If you can't make a Halloween costume yourself

If you just can't make your own outfits, don't despair.

“There are a lot of approaches that don’t necessarily have to be a storefront,” says Melissa Breyer, chief editor of sustainability website Treehugger . You can still have a great holiday with fun outfits.”

She advises people to browse sales sites like Facebook Marketplace to shop for second-hand or vintage outfits from other sellers. Finally, you can find a place to rent Halloween costumes to save money.

Every small contribution to the environment is very valuable

With the huge amount of waste generated every Halloween, it's clear that living more sustainably is important. "There's a whole Halloween industrial complex that's ramping up marketing," Breyer said. So there needs to be resistance against it.”

But it's worth the effort, Breyer and Barber say. "You can't make a difference if you're alone," says Barber . But if hundreds, then thousands, and millions of people come together to do it, it can make a difference.”

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