The Ugly Truth About Halloween Costumes

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be a great idea to shed some light on the waste-side of this festive time and provide some alternatives for you so that you can make this Halloween the most conscious one yet.

The Ugly Truth

According to Green Peace, 60% of clothing worldwide is made from polyester. At Halloween, this number increased to around 83%! That’s a lot of polyester made specifically for single-use items!

Why is Polyester "Bad"? 

Not Biodegradable. Polyester is a man-made synthetic material made from petrochemicals, which is produced by mixing ethylene glycol (derived from petroleum) and terephthalic acid. This fabric is not biodegradable, plus it is made from petroleum which stems from the oil making industry - one of the largest pollutant for our planet.

Toxic Dyes. In addition to this, polyester is naturally stain resistant, which means it will require a specific type of dye to get colour into the fabric. Because polyester does not take to water soluble dyes, it must use specific dyes called disperse dyes, which are made up of a complex micro structure that does not decompose easily. By not absorbing water soluble dyes, natural plant-based dyes do not work on polyester, and a chemical-ridden dye must be used instead. The chemicals used in these dyes are toxic to both our planet, sea life and us humans who wear it. If you think about the fact that our skin is the largest organ of the body, we are putting these chemicals directly on it to easily absorb.

Microfibres. This issue has been circulating the news, environmental conferences, the internet, social media, etc. over the past year or so. It is a micro problem that we are learning is having macro effects on our planet, sea life and even us. Whenever we wash our polyester clothing, both new polyester and recycled polyester, hundreds of thousands of tiny microfibre plastics are released into the washer’s drainage per wash. Because these fibres are so microscopic, water plant filters are unable to catch them, resulting in these tiny fibres being released into bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes and the ocean. While in the ocean, these fibres absorb other pollutants (motor oil, pesticides and chemicals) floating around, which are then eaten by the fish that swim these waters, and then eaten by humans (who are not vegan or vegetarians). According to Green Peace, it is estimated that there are over 1.4 million trillion microfibres in our oceans to date. That’s a scary number!

To watch a fully illustrated video made by Green Peace, click here.

The Solution

We wouldn’t make an entire blog post with negative information without providing a solution! Halloween can be a fun, festive time where you get to dress up in fun costumes, watch scary movies and eat junk food. It can stay this way without causing as much harm to the planet. Here are our conscious costume suggestions.
  1. Buy a used costume or make your own using clothing from the thrift store. You wouldn’t believe how many costumes are donated and resold at thrift stores during this time. There’s no need to buy them new.

  2. Rent a costume.

  3. Borrow a costume from a friend.

  4. Use what you already have in your closet

Be creative and use what you have in your home (ie. wear an old shipping box and go as a package!)

 

Some Of Our Favourite Costume Ideas + Resources:

  1. “Ethical Halloween Costumes: +6 Costumes You Have in Your Closet” by Going Zero Waste

  2. ”3 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes 🎃 | Thrift The Look Ep.6” by Kristen Leo

  3. ”10 Last Minute Costumes You Can Wear After Halloween (from clothes u already have”) by JENerationDIY

  4. ”My Problem with Halloween Costumes + Last Minute Costumes with What You Already Have” by Shelbizleee

  5. ”Thrift HAUL-oween (How to Thrift your Halloween Costume)” by The Girls With Glasses

Please note: if you do a DIY costume from thrifted clothing and you are cutting up the clothing, please recycle your fabric scraps at a local fabric scrap collector, such as FabCycle or FabScrap. If you don’t have a local fabric scrap collection service in your location, contact local schools to see if they want any fabric scraps to use for art projects.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post, learnt something new and still felt inspired to become creative with your Halloween costume this year. Please let us know what you are planning to do

 

~Bianca

 

References:

https://goodonyou.eco/material-guide-polyester-2/

https://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductCatalog_EN/161113.htm

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/6956/what-are-microfibers-and-why-are-our-clothes-polluting-the-oceans/

https://www.fashionrevolution.org/haulternatives-for-a-waste-free-halloween/

 

All photos sourced from Unsplash and Canva



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