Combatting Consumerism on Halloween

Combatting Consumerism on Halloween

Photo Credit: Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Thrifting sustainable costumes: good for your wallet and the planet

Hala Marouf, Contributor

As the leaves outside change into burnt reds and oranges, October brings Halloween: the night in which people worldwide dress up for humanity’s longest-running costume party, and all that is delightfully spooky and indulgently thrilling is celebrated. Unfortunately, Halloween has also historically facilitated the dizzyingly cyclical and wasteful practices of hyper-consumerism. What’s the evidence behind this claim? Think of how many costumes you spent money on throughout your life, only for them to be tucked in the back of your closet after a single wear, or thrown away when the cheap, plasticy material they’re made of finally disintegrates. Although packaged costumes and decor may be convenient, they break the bank and create unnecessary textile waste.

 Luckily for students on a budget, the solution to this conundrum is simple. Save yourself some cash by mixing pieces from second-hand thrift stores with those within your own closet to create your own unique costume. Using your own or secondhand clothing to create a costume is not a new concept. ‘Closet Cosplays,’ are costumes that utilize normal clothing within your own closet, sometimes in combination with DIY aspects. These are popular within fan communities and at pop-culture conventions but are easily applicable to Halloween as well. 

The Value Village Boutique on 394 Bloor Street is just off campus and is a hot spot for unique and cheap finds. Take my word for it! This weekend, I went with the goal to look around at what type of clothing was available in abundance so as to compile the following ideas for you and spark your inspiration. 

These suggestions vary, with typically masculine, feminine, and androgynous silhouettes included. (But you can always wear whichever you’d like- clothing isn’t gendered.)

Denim overalls

  1. Hello Kitty: Wear a pink or red shirt underneath the overalls, and a big red bow in your hair. (This could simply be a red ribbon from a crafts store too.)  
  2. The Mario Brothers: Besides wearing a red or green shirt under the overalls, you can DIY the hat by buying a cap or beanie in the corresponding color and painting/taping the white M or L logo on it. 
  3. Missy from Big Mouth: Capture this raunchy cartoon character’s daily look by wearing a yellow headband and a yellow shirt. 

A little black dress 

  1. Audrey Hepburn: Style by wearing gloves, heels and pearls for a classic look. Consider red lipstick and a fancy updo. 
  2. Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family: Style by putting a white-collared shirt under the dress with white or black stockings or knee socks and two plaits in the hair for the cursed schoolgirl look. 

A black coat

  1. Neo from The Matrix: Wear with black pants and a simple black shirt and style with a pair of sunglasses and slicked-back hair.
  2. Patrick Bateman: A black coat atop a classic button-down and a thrifted tie can accomplish this American Psycho’s look by smothering it with fake blood or red paint and pairing it with a pair of headphones. 

I’d like to end by emphasizing this: the most significant aspect of all of these costumes’ sustainability is their reusability. These pieces of clothing are interchangeable enough independently so as to survive in your closet for years to come and outside of the confines of Halloween. That little black dress you wore to be Wednesday Addams? You can wear it again at dinner next week. I hope these ideas inspire you to think twice regarding your consumption and purchases during the spooky season. It’s a lot easier than you would think.