A Zero Waste Guide to Cheap & Easy Halloween Costumes

Posted by Blyth Gill on

In what seems like impossible news after this time-warp of a year, we have reached October. While so many things are different, we know many families are still looking forward to celebrating Halloween with their little ones and helping them dress up into a favourite character or hero. It may seem easy to go pick up a cheap costume at your local big-box store, but those small costumes can have a much bigger impact than meets the eye. A 2019 study out of the UK found that an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 83 million bottles – will be generated from throwaway Halloween costumes

The good news is that it is easy to find a low waste costume for similar or even cheaper prices. Check out the ideas below for having a low waste, but highly adorable Halloween. 

  • Buy Secondhand Costumes

One only needs to type in “baby Halloween costume” in the Facebook Marketplace search bar to be overwhelmed with options for $10 or less. Craigslist has a variety of similarly priced options and Poshmark offers some higher end choices. Thrift stores like Value Village also often sell a variety of secondhand costumes - just try not to get distracted by their flashy new costume section. 

  • Neighbourhood Costume Swap 

Most of us have old costumes hanging around in the back of a closet or a dusty Halloween box that lives under the stairs. Why not suggest a costume swap with parents in your neighbourhood to put those costumes back in use and save money? 

  • DIY Halloween Costume

These ideas have been selected for their ability to be made quickly and with items you likely already have around the house. Browse through these ideas for ages 0 to 2. 


    • Pillsbury Doughboy from Lucy Miller Photography (This blog says to buy the chef’s hat on amazon but we recommend borrowing or finding one secondhand.) 

    • Elmo by Moms and Crafters 

No matter what your child dresses up as this year, the important thing is for them to have fun. COVID-19 has created uncertainty about whether its best to go out for trick or treating or to celebrate at home. Whatever your family decides is best, don't let the holiday go by without a little fanfare. Some fun zero waste (and socially distant) activities to do throughout October and on Halloween night are 

  • Pumpkin carving & pumpkin seed roasting 
  • Spooky flashlight tag 
  • Candy scavenger hunt 
  • Baking treats 
  • Crafts 
  • Watch Halloween movies in a homemade “haunted house” (blanket fort) 

The Tradle team wishes you a happy and safe Halloween! 

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