Go green for Halloween and skip the cookie-cutter, store-bought costumes in favor of some unique, recycled ones. You’ll save money, encourage creativity, and most importantly, teach the importance of environmental sustainability. Check out these fun Halloween costume ideas you can make from recycled materials.
Cardboard boxes are one of my all-time favorite recycled materials. They can be turned into everything from pirate ships to dollhouses, and they’re just as excellent for homemade Halloween costumes. Robots are a staple of the cardboard box outfit. Simply cut head and arm holes out of a large box and let your child decorate it with paint—preferably metallic and robot-colored. Create gears and knobs by gluing on old buttons and bottle caps.
Robots aren’t the only great costumes made from a box, though. Create the same head and arm holes, but paint each side to look like a Rubik’s Cube, a box of candy, or even an iPhone. Draw in windows and headlights to look like a car or boat and attach straps so it can hang on your child’s shoulders. Paint it a solid color and glue two rows of four cups on the front to create a Lego block. The possibilities are endless.
Nature’s storminess can provide some magnificent inspiration for costumes as well. Why not turn any old bubble wrap and packaging materials into a twisting tornado? Build a base for the costume out of leftover chicken wire from your garden. Bend it to form a cylinder shape and cut sections out on each side so that arms can fit through, making sure to soften any sharp edges. Wrap the chicken wire in the bubble wrap and other recyclable packaging materials and secure in place with tape. Top off mother nature’s disguise by tucking leaves and twigs into the folds.
Much like dress-up play, your own old clothes can also be turned into imaginative Halloween costumes for kids. A scarecrow is a fun and easy costume you can make out of an old button shirt and pants. Break out an old a pair of suspenders to hold up adult-sized pants, while cinching the hems and cuffs with elastic band to secure the stuffing. Use recycled newspapers or fabric scraps to stuff inside. Complete the ensemble with an old gardening hat, perhaps made of straw.
Get crafty with that pile of paper grocery bags you’ve been saving up, and create a lively animal costume. To make a scaled dragon or a feathered owl, cut several long strips out of paper bags and scallop the bottom edge of each strip. Let your child paint the strips and then wait for them to dry. Cut head and arm holes out of another whole bag then glue the painted strips on, overlapping them and covering the entire bag. Use any leftover paper scraps to complete the look with an owl or dragon mask.
One of the best parts of using recycled items to make homemade Halloween costumes is getting creative with your kids. Gather materials that you have around the house and then encourage your kids to think of other great personal Halloween costume ideas. Save items that may come in handy for costumes throughout the year; you’ll be amazed at what you can create together with just a little imagination. Rather than picking out a costume this fall, your kids can make their own and learn about the importance of reusing and recycling in the process.
Have you made your own recycled Halloween costumes? Share your ideas in the comments!
Photo credit: Flickr