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What to Do with Old Halloween Costumes

Last Updated: March 12, 2024

What to Do with Old Halloween Costumes

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Halloween is around the corner! This is the time of year where people brainstorm the best costume ideas, as they should. The challenge of a getting a brand new costume is what to do with old Halloween costumes? Rather than let your old costumes sit in your closet forever, there are ways they can be thoughtfully disposed of.

There are many ways to recycle old costumes. This way your old Halloween outfits can find better use. It's a shame to let great costumes slowly fade away into holiday oblivion. Even worse, let them end up as harmful pollution in landfills!

Instead, utilize your old costumes so that they can be enjoyed by others for many years to come.

Why Recycle Old Halloween Costumes?

Recycling old Halloween costumes is a matter of choice. However, doing so offers benefits for yourself and others. There is a massive market around Halloween costumes. The National Retail Federation conducts surveys every year to measure spending habits around Halloween. These surveys reveal that spending on Halloween costumes increases every year at rapid rates.

Halloween Costume Spending

In 2014, the NRF found that two-thirds of Americans planned to buy costumes for Halloween. Over $2.8 billion was spent in October, 2014 alone on costumes for both kids and adults.

“There’s no question that the variety of adult, child and even pet costumes now available has driven the demand and popularity of Halloween among consumers of all ages," said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. "And...we fully expect there will be a record number of consumers taking to the streets, visiting haunted houses and throwing unforgettable celebrations.”

Old Costumes and the Environment

With such a large market, there is bound to be waste generated from it. Recycle Nation explains that most old Halloween costumes are simply tossed in the trash. What's wrong with that, you may ask?

Most Halloween costumes are made of either polyester or cotton fabric. Neither will break down properly in landfills. Therefore, many dump sites will not accept these items. Despite this, clothing makes up one of the largest sources of pollution in landfills

There are many ways to reuse old costumes. To prevent the unnecessary hassle of trashing your costumes, consider the alternatives listed below.

Different Ways to Reuse an Old Costume

As mentioned, there are different avenues one can take in terms of getting rid of an old Halloween costume. Costumes can be used as hand-me-downs for your kids, can be donated for others, and can even be repurposed for arts and crafts projects.

The possibilities are numerous. Your son or daughter can enjoy your old childhood outfits, or you can create new Halloween decorations for your home! There are so many possibilities that there's little excuse for an old Halloween costume to end up in the garbage.

An infographic on what to do with old halloween costumes. All the information can be found below
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1. Halloween Costume Hand-Me-Downs

Aside from the environmental impacts, there are more practical reasons to recycle a Halloween costume. Consider your old costume like old clothes. Wouldn't you rather pass down old clothes instead of tossing them in the trash?

Your kids or friends would likely be happy to make use of your unwanted costumes! This can help save your family money while partaking in the holiday fun. It can also create lasting trick-or-treat family traditions. You'll have something to pass on next year and the year after that!

If you don't have kids, the best bet to recycle your old costume is to simply donate it. There are plenty of places to donate old costumes.

2. Donate or Sell Your Old Costumes

Old costumes can be easily donated. There are organizations such as Ween Dream and ThredUP that will take Halloween costumes. You can also look up a local costume swap for donation options. Yard or garage sales would be good for this as well. Kids, as well as adults, would appreciate the generosity.

There are many families in need who may not be able to afford their own costumes. By donating your unwanted costumes, you give your old costumes a new life for those in need.

Your costumes can also be utilized for special projects year-round. Halloween costumes are versatile and can be utilized for various crafts, especially for your house.

3. Creative Halloween-Themed Decorations

If you're feeling inspired, there are creative ways to reuse Halloween costumes. One way to do this is repurposing the costumes into Halloween decorations and accessories .

You can turn an old raggedy costume into a scarecrow for your front yard, or spooky ghosts. Other decorations can also be made from costumes, such as a holiday angel. A kid's birthday party could also utilize these materials.

You can also donate your costumes for school decorations. Many schools would love to go all-out for Halloween, yet may not have the budget. You can assist these schools by repurposing your costumes and donating them.

4. Create New Costumes with Old Materials

Rather than buy new costumes every year, you can make your own with reusable items. You can repurpose your old costumes for a new one easily. There are also recyclable materials you can utilize for a new costume project.

A cardboard box, for example, can be used for many costume purposes. The same can be said of items like plastic bottles or aluminum foil.

Sometimes the simplest costume designs can have the best effect. People admire creativity and will likely be in awe of your hand-made costume. This can also inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Therefore, try and use recycled material for your new costumes each year.

Benefits of Recycling Halloween Costumes

As mentioned, there are many benefits to recycling Halloween costumes. Protecting the environment is important in this regard. However, the environment is not the only consideration.

There's a crafty element to costume reuse, for rainy day inspiration. Charity is another important element. It's a great thing to help make a needy family's holidays more enjoyable.

In total, finding ways to reuse your costumes instead of throwing them out is the best thing to do. Rather than contribute to unnecessary waste, you create new avenues for an outfit past its prime. This helps safeguard pollution and pass down great costumes for future generations.

About Julian Drury

Julian Drury is a Content Specialist with Discount Dumpster, with a good array of knowledge on waste management topics. He has been writing since he was 10, and makes it his mission to present engaging and informational content for all readers who need waste management solutions.

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