Simple Saturday ~ Scary Halloween


The October issue of Real Simple magazine reveals a grim statistic: 6,250 tons of landfill waste “could be avoided if half the kids in America traded Halloween costumes instead of buying new ones.” That the equivalent to the the weight of more than 3,000 mid-sized cars! Be sure and swap, sell or donate this year’s costume. Did you know there’s an official Halloween costume swap day? Of course it’s already passed, but you can mark your calendar for next year’s swap.

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  1. Grace from Brazil

    I wonder how they know this. Do people just throw the costumes away? I see them at thrift stores, used as play clothes and sold at yard sales. My dd bought a medieval costume at a thrift store and played with it for years. Now I am passing it on to a church for a Christmas play costume. Just curious how they come up with these stats that are always so grim.

    • Hi Grace,
      I wouldn’t be surprised if they exaggerate them to make a point but it is an important point. There are a lot of “use it once and throw it away” items the are manufactured that end up in landfill every day. Some of those Halloween outfits are very poorly constructed and deconstruct pretty quickly. This year my son went to a Halloween party here in Australia, he is thrifty though. He went as a baseball player, he wore his favourite grey trousers, a Seattle Mariners Jersey and cap (he’s a fan) and he carried his old little league baseball mitt and ball (I had tried to sell these on ebay without success they will be donated soon). Knocking up an outfit from things you already have around the house is fun and far better for the environment.

      • Grace, I wonder this about many large statistics. Nonetheless, I agree with Colleen – waste is wasteful and anything that’s only worn or used one time is a BIG waste. I think one disadvantage of being in a community such as 365 less things is that we reinforce each others thinking such that we may lose sight of the fact that many, many other people think and live differently than us. I know you’re a religious person, and gently helping others to see the light in how we deal with stuff is like Evangelising. I believe that God entrusted all things on earth to us, and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of those blessings and to help others do the same.

        • I couldn’t agree more Cindy. While we are on the topic of religion I am going to draw a parallel here with the parable of the father who gave each of his sons a gold coin and sent them out into the world to do what they would with it. The first son squanders his having a good time and comes home to his father with nothing. The second son returns proud to show his father he still had his gold coin. He had scraped by while hoarding his gold coin, doing nothing to improve his lot. The third son came home thinking nothing of the fact that he had multiplied his gold coin by working hard because that is what he thought was the right thing to do.

          The first son is like the people who don’t care about the planet, squandering its resources without a care in the world.
          The second son is like those who stick their head in the sand hoping the problem will go away without their help.
          And the third son is actually doing his part in trying to improve the situation. Cutting back on consumption and making an effort to use less harmful products even if it is a little inconvenient to him.

  2. We didn’t buy my daughter a Halloween costume and she looked great. She went as a Zombie Nerd. First, I used some facepaint from last year and made her look like a zombie. Then I back-combed her hair and put it in high pigtails and put on some of those 3D glasses from the cinema minus the lenses. Dressed her up in black clothes and a black and white striped cardigan and she looked perfect as a zombie nerd. No cost and no adding to any landfill. 😉

    • Excellent Julie, I was just saying how my son went as a baseball player by improvising with stuff already around the house. I bet you laughed when she put those glasses on. My son wore a pair of black rimmed glasses one year and I almost wet myself laughing when he put them on, it was hilarious.

  3. My son used the same costume for the third year in a row – his choice. I think we’re okay.

    • Good for him, he must be like my son and doesn’t grow very fast. Me son is still wearing his little league t-shirts from when he was about 11-12 he is now 20. Granted they were so oversized for him at the time, now they fit him perfectly. Boy have we got our money’s worth out of them and by the time they go to landfill I think they will be in shreds.

      • Oh no, he grows very fast, lol. He’s almost 4 and over 3 feet tall. I just happened to buy this monkey costume on clearance for $2 one year, a size 5/6, and put it on him though it was a bit big. Halloween wasn’t a big deal at almost 2 but we wanted him to wear *something* that year and were low on funds. Then he wanted to use it last year because he liked it. He fit into it a bit better, but the sleeves were a bit long.

        This year it was the perfect size, so he wore it again and now he’ll probably wear it around here just for fun, haha.

      • Oh, and I am like your son. Until recently I was wearing shirts I’d gotten when I was 11 or so (I’m 23 now). They were pretty used up by the time I got rid of them this past summer.

  4. DS hadn’t been to a Halloween party for ages – he normally goes to our church light party – so his previous home-made cat costume didn’t fit anymore!
    We bought a plastic scythe and a small skull which will both go into the dressing up box and then dressed him in dark clothes, used an old Tshirt of DH’s to create a hood and let him borrow DH’s hairy gorilla mask and hands which he thinks are fantastic 🙂

    • Well done LJayne and your son. Some good improvising going on there. Making do with what you already have can be more fun than buying new.

  5. My youngest daughter had to make a costume from trash/recyclables for her drama class. She made a fantastic bride outfit, and with the addition of makeup, on Halloween was a zombie bride. The costume is going back to her teacher, for use as an example next semester- so no problem about throwing away or keeping.
    My eldest daughter wore a squid hat that she and my son made a couple of years ago, a tight shirt and leggings in similar colors, and then cut ‘suckers’ out of felt we had in the craft closet and stuck them all over her arms and legs, and went as a squid.
    I was impressed by their creativity, that they did them without any aid from me, and the super low cost: ZERO!

    • Fantastic Sabine! it seems like we have some very creative and consumer conscious Halloween children and parents out there. It is lovely to see all the comments come in of people doing the same sort of thing you have done. I warms my heart.

  6. This is a little off-topic but still about decluttering. My kids are all grown up, so the day after Hallowe’en, when I was putting our decorations away (which we’ve had for 28 years, haha) I decluttered several items of dress-up clothing that had been in that trunk for years. While I was at it, I also went through old greeting cards I found in the trunk and was able to declutter quite a few. And last of all, I re-read all the reply cards to our wedding 31 years ago, quite a number of them from dear relatives who have since passed on – and decided to keep them while I figure out how to keep their signatures and notes. It was a nice trip down memory lane. (I will check with my better half before starting to cut them up or recycle them as he is more sentimental than I am, although he would likely deny it 🙂 But at least they are on my radar again.)

    And we aren’t having any problem at all decluttering all the treats left over, unfortunately ;-p