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The Environmental Nightmare Behind Your Halloween Costume

by Marilla Cate


It’s that time of year again where the leaves fall from the trees, the nights draw in, and the quest for the perfect Halloween costume continues. 

Instagram is full of people showing off their costumes, from the gruesome and gory to niche pop culture references, it’s the season where creativity knows no bounds. 

But beneath the allure of dressing up for Halloween lies an unsettling truth - the unsustainability of Halloween costumes, driven by overconsumption and the damaging influence of fast fashion.


The problem with Halloween costumes begins with their very nature – they are designed to be single-use. 

Many are made from cheap, low-quality materials designed to be worn once and disposed of after. This overconsumption fuels a culture of disposability, contributing to the growing crisis of textile waste.


In a world already struggling to manage an overflow of discarded clothing, the annual influx of Halloween costumes only exacerbates the problem. The desire for fresh, unique costumes each year promotes excessive purchasing, ultimately leading to a vast pile of worn-out, discarded outfits.


Halloween costumes have not escaped the clutches of the fast fashion industry, which is notorious for its harmful environmental and ethical impacts. Fast fashion brands produce large quantities of low-cost, mass-market costumes, encouraging consumers to buy new ones annually. This rapid turnover in costume trends is detrimental to the environment, as it leads to resource depletion and increased waste.


As our awareness of the impacts of synthetic fibres grows, clothing like Halloween costumes, which are often made from synthetic materials like polyester, seem increasingly unnecessary. The production of such materials from non-renewable sources generates a substantial carbon footprint and consumes precious resources. What's more, these synthetic fabrics take hundreds of years to decompose, filling up landfills and contributing to environmental degradation.


The time has come to confront the dark side of Halloween costumes and consider more sustainable alternatives. It's crucial that we break free from the allure of disposable fashion and focus on making eco-conscious choices.


There are so many ways to minimise the environmental impact of your Halloween costume. Getting creative by upcycling old clothes and materials. Re-wearing old costumes or swapping with friends and family. Putting together a costume from clothing you already own or can find second-hand. Or even considering how you might rewear parts of your Halloween costume in the future to ensure it’s not single use.


It’s essential to acknowledge the environmental and ethical concerns surrounding unsustainable costumes and fast fashion. By making mindful choices and embracing more sustainable alternatives, we can celebrate Halloween without the haunting guilt of contributing to overconsumption and the disposal of clothing. Perhaps making this Halloween a little less scary for the planet.

Edited by Emily Duff


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