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Rebecca Epstein

Green Halloween

Photo Credit: Money Crashers

Thinking Outside The Bag This Halloween

I have a confession… this year, my kids’ Halloween costumes came out of a plastic bag.

Growing up, my parents never bought us pre-packaged costumes. To be fair, there was no Amazon Prime back then, and the fancy store-bought stuff was super expensive! So every year my sister and I would dig through our closets, and transform ourselves into fun and unique characters using what we had, with a little help from our mom (and her costume jewelry collection, of course). 

We were ballerinas in dance recital tutus, fortune tellers draped in flowy skirts and piles of bangle bracelets, and one year I got sent to school dressed as a beat poet. I had a black turtleneck, a copy of Howl, and a rolled-up paper cigarette behind my ear… which was promptly confiscated by my second-grade teacher.

I loved wearing something totally original, and I always figured I’d take the same creative approach when it came to dressing my own kids for the holiday. But with one-day shipping for everything under the sun just a click away, I admit that it’s just way too easy to choose convenience over quality.

And I’m definitely not the only one. Approximately 12,500 tons of disposable costumes get thrown out EVERY YEAR, contributing to an estimated 2,000 tons of Halloween-related plastic waste. The average trick-or-treater generates one pound of trash per Halloween, and nearly 85% of costumes will eventually end up in landfills

Those numbers are pretty scary—and not in a festive, spooky way. 

So before you hit the “buy it now” button, here’s the good news: you don’t need to be an accomplished seamstress to create awesome DIY costumes your kids will be super excited to wear. There’s no rule that says a great costume has to come out of a bag. It’s all about finding creative ways to use what you have, no needle and thread required. (Unless you’re into that, in which case, more power to you!)

Whatever your littles are into, you’ll find tons of inspiration in our Shop Tomorrows members’ closets. Now is the perfect time to pick up some gold pants for C-3PO, a leather jacket for Danny Zucko, or a sparkly dress fit for a princess (think more Kate Middleton, less Anna and Elsa). And we’ve got plenty of basics to decorate if you’re feeling crafty

As for the outgrown stuff taking up space in the dress-up box? List it today so someone else can scoop it up before Halloween! Homemade costumes have come a long way since my DIY pillowcase “ghost” getups, so don’t sleep on your flashiest, most outrageous specialty items either… they might be just the thing to take a human disco ball ensemble over the top.

Halloween is going to look a little different this year for sure, but whether you’ll be trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, or celebrating at home with your #quaranteam, it’s easier than ever to have a totally original, totally sustainable Halloween.

Have fun, be safe, and wear a mask!

Rebecca Phillips Epstein is a screenwriter, a mom of two young boys, a vintage blazer enthusiast, and a Shop Tomorrows contributor.

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