Hooray! It’s fall time. If you’re like me, you’ve been planning this year’s Halloween costume since last Halloween. Wearing costumes makes Halloween fun and gives you a chance to get creative, especially if you’re attempting a minimalist lifestyle. Where do you store your costumes? Can you make them easily and affordably? How long do you keep them? Do you have space for costumes?
The tradition of wearing Halloween costumes, or mumming, is believed to have started as early as the 16th century. While many associate Halloween with the Mexican Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos, Halloween also has Celtic roots and origins with Samhain, the Celtic festival of the harvest and dark half of the year. Overtime, the holiday evolved from wearing masks to ward off spirits and tell fortunes to wearing costumes and trick-or-treating for fun.
Certainly, the Celts didn’t have over-embellished ensembles, nor did they have to worry about where to buy, store, or dispose of them.
But here in the 21st century, we want to keep Halloween fun and festive. You can keep a giant storage bin of Halloween costumes in your attic if you’d like, or you can get creative about what to wear without having mounds of clothes tucked away in secret places. This is a minimalist’s guide to Halloween costumes.
Reuse old costumes.
My husband’s neighbor wears a sweatsuit and Jason mask every year and it scares the dickens out of trick-or-treaters. (They love it.) He’s been wearing the same costume for probably 30 years, now.
There are perks to wearing the same thing every year. You don’t have to worry about trying to decide what to be. You save time shopping or making a costume, and you save money!
Ah, but you don’t want to wear the same costume. I totally understand. You want to get creative and if you have kids, your kids definitely don’t want to be the same thing every year.
Well, maybe your kids can trade costumes, spoof them up a bit and make them their own. Turn old costumes into new masterpieces – from black cat to witch or from snow queen to mummy.
Make your costumes with what you have.
Keep it simple! You will probably surprise yourself once you do some digging around your house. Try to make outfits, accessories, or props with what you already have. Wear your Tommy Bahama shirt with some cut off shorts and sunglasses, and bam! You’re Hunter S Thompson. Thrown on your kitchen apron and eat a beet, and tada! You’re a zombie baker.
This is a fun one, especially if you’re aiming to have the best costume on the block. I get it – it’s fun to dress from head to toe as your favorite superhero, villain, or character. Renting your costume may cost a little more money, but there are usually endless options from which to choose. Costume rental shops have shoes, wigs, outfits, props, accessories. You can really have fun and get creative with what you plan to wear.
If you’re going to rent your costume, just remember to take care of it. You will need to return it in the same condition in which you picked it up.
Also, try to avoid online costume rental services, as the packaging and transportation likely produces more waste than renting from a local costume rental shop. Do an online search for one in your area or call the local theater to see where they get their costumes.
Borrow or swap costumes with friends, family, and neighbors.
Most of us have at least remnants of past costumes lying around our house somewhere. If you do, but don’t want to wear the same costume again, see if your neighbors or friends are willing to do a trade! My friend wore a beautiful masquerade mask one year, which I absolutely adored. She would have no problem lending it to me if I wanted to wear it one year.
My extended family kept an old Batman costume floating around for decades. My older cousin wore it one year, then it was handed down to me. It somehow got passed down to my younger cousin’s toddler, and it’s so much fun to see the different pictures of us each wearing it. Start a tradition of your family and see how long it lasts.
Purchase costumes from a thrift store.
If you’re set on being something new and different every year, then consider purchasing your costumes from a thrift store. Not only will you save money, but you will help with reducing waste this Halloween. Try to stay mindful about what you do with your costume once you’re finished wearing it. We don’t want thousands of pounds of Halloween garbage in the landfill.