A sustainable guide to Halloween costumes
It is officially Spooky Season and with the onslaught of cold weather, pumpkin spice lattes and crunchy leaves comes the frantic panic of what to be for Halloween. Just when you think all of your problems are solved after choosing a costume, you are left with yet another issue: where to get the outfit.
There are the more obvious choices of SHEIN, Amazon, Target and Spirit Halloween, but all of these businesses are environmentally unsustainable. A report conducted by Remake, a worldwide organization advocating for climate justice and workers’ rights within clothing production, explained how SHIEN has no commitment to sustainability; Amazon severely greenwashes while their complete CO2 emissions have drastically increased since 2020; and Target has “mostly lackluster” environmental goals.
So, the question is, do you want to support these big corporations and wear something everyone else has? Why would you when you can get your own original and sustainable costume? A costume that is not only one of a kind, but also more affordable than the alternative. Where is the best place to acquire such an outfit, anyway? Thrift stores.
The first place to go costume hunting is the Goodwill Bins, located at 880 Industrial Way. The bins offer a variety of clothing options and are worth digging through. You never know what you may find, and every garment has potential — especially during Halloween season.
The next destinations to check out are the Goodwill stores located at 15 Higuera St. and 1628 W. Grand Ave. in Grover Beach. Unlike the bins, these Goodwill locations provide a more routine shopping experience with clothes on hangers displayed for your perusal. Go sifting through the racks looking for anything that may prove to be a good Halloween accessory; this may mean looking beyond the clothes sections and venturing to the kitchen appliances, toys, household items and the children’s section.
Some other places to visit are the thrift stores downtown. Fred and Betty’s (532 Higuera St.), Achievement House Inc. (553 Higuera St.) and Calico Trading Co. (883 Marsh St.) are all great thrift stores to inspire your next costume. There are also a plethora of thrift stores in Grover Beach including California Cool Thrift at 737 W. Grand Ave. and St. Barnabas Thrift Shop at 1328 W. Grand Ave., Suite F.
One final idea for a totally unique costume is to make one yourself. Pull out the handy sewing machine, turn to the old table cloth or the dress you never wore, and get working! Although creating your own costume can be time consuming and challenging, the outcome is always worth it.
Mathematics sophomore Claire Ferris knows all about making costumes, and she plans to make her own for Halloween. Ferris will be dressing as Daphne Bridgerton from season one of the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” She explained her creative process for the costume:
“I think with any costume, it’s not about the accuracy of replicating it so much as looking at which features make that character recognizable,” Ferris said. “So for mine, it has to be something blue. She’s known for wearing a specific shade of blue, so it’s not really about having a historically accurate dress so much as having that color as well as the signature silhouette for the dress.”
Ferris’ next step in constructing her costume is to find the supplies.
“I like to use household supplies because I don’t want to waste my money on fabric that is so expensive, especially when there’s already so much existing fabric. Why would you waste resources, money and time going to Joanne’s and picking out starchy fabric?” Ferris said. “I’ve also been thrifting since I was eight years old, so I learned you can buy craft supplies cheap or you can repurpose clothing to make something else.”
Ferris said her advice for those considering creating their own costume is to do it.
“No matter how much they get done, they will have something to be very proud of” Ferris said. “When people compliment their costume they’ll be able to say ‘I made it’ and they’ll know that no one else is wearing that exact costume. It is unique if you make your own outfit, so I would say just go for it.”
Whether shopping for a complete Halloween costume or just looking for pieces to make your own, thrifting is an excellent way to sustainably get a unique costume.