Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes: Precycle, Upcycle, Recycle

Scissors, measuring tape and orange thread

With Halloween fast approaching, it is time to get started on costume ideas. This year when you start planning out your costume, think of ways to make your costume fun and eco-friendly. Let’s make sure the only spooky thing about Halloween is your costume idea, not what your costume is made from. Store-bought Halloween costumes use a lot of plastic. They are usually packaged in plastic and they are often made from plastic such as vinyl and polyester, both of which are highly flammable. They can also be very expensive! It’s best to stay away from these costumes and instead turn to eco-friendly and wallet-friendly costume alternatives. You can save the planet and save money this Halloween by turning to the three eco-friendly cycles : precycling, upcycling and recycling (bonus points if travel by bicycle to your Halloween festivities). 


Precycling is avoiding products that need to be recycled or thrown out whenever possible. Precycling takes a bit of planning, but it can help reduce a lot of waste. To precycle Halloween costumes, try to find things you’ll use or wear again or use compostable materials to make your costume. 

Booland idea: Take a precycled approach to a classic cat costume. Instead of buying a store-bought costume, buy black clothes that you’ll wear again, or use existing items from your closet. Purchase a black headband that you can wear later, and use old fabric or compostable paper to make cat ears. Use makeup you already have to draw on any face accents, and you’ve got a plastic-free costume and you can use the components again! 


Upcycling is taking items that you already have and repurposing them for something else. For Halloween, upcycling is a great way to save money and the planet. Check out the items in your closet and get creative! You can also supplement your costumes by shopping at a local thrift store for any items that might be missing from your costume. 

Booland idea: Upcycle items in your closet to turn your regular outfits into costumes. Accessorizing is key. Turn to items in the back of your closet and the thrift store to transform your regular outfit into a 1920’s flapper costume! Use an old scarf and cut fringe to attach to the bottom of a dress or skirt. Complete the look with a long strand of thrifted costume pearls and a sparkly headband, and you’ve got a complete look created with upc


Recycling isn’t just for your plastic bottles and cans. You can recycle any old item by finding a new way to reuse or repurpose it. Recycling costumes is a great way to dress up without creating new waste and spending money. 

Booland idea: Host a Halloween costume swap with friends and family! Chances are you and your friends have old costumes lying around. Switch your old costume with a friend for a new costume and do the same for kids! Kids’ costumes can be expensive and they are rarely used more than once. Get a group together and have your kids swap their costumes together! 

If you are still having trouble finding costumes you love, check out DIY ideas from Pinterest for some inspiration. Search for recycled or eco-friendly costumes to get ideas that are fun for you and the planet. If crafting isn’t your thing, check out Etsy for homemade costumes that are made without creating extra waste! You can keep this Halloween eco-friendly by precycling, upcycling and recycling and getting a little creative. Happy Halloween! 

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