Ask Eartha: Make your goblin green this Halloween (column)
Every Halloween I feel pressured to dress up as something new, but I don’t want to buy the typical costume that is a one time use and shipped from who knows where. Do you have any suggestions on how to be more consumer conscious when it comes to buying a costume? – Sarah
Thank you for your question this week Sarah. Many people do not take the time to consider where their product (in this case Halloween costume) came from or what materials are used to create it. So, just by asking this question you show to be making some consumer conscious decision making already! Now, let’s get down to business.
Every year, Halloween stores appear across the nation blooming with those traditional orange and black tones that everyone loves. However, what is their purpose? Yes, they are there to please the customer but really these Halloween pop-up shops are simply there to bring in the big bucks. Unfortunately, when you purchase from a store like this, none of the profits are going to your local economy but rather to a large corporation that doesn’t give back to the community. In addition, the typical Halloween costumes sold in these stores are not manufactured in the United States but are shipped around the globe. While this method is not ideal for local economies, importing these items also has negative impacts on the global environment. Just think of how many resources are being used in the production, packaging and transportation of these products. While Halloween is only one day, the side affects of manufacturing and disposal will last years. So how can we go green in our costume decision-making?
No. 1: One option is to trade previous years’ costumes with a friend. You will both be wearing something “new” without having to make the pricey purchase of another costume, thereby reducing your carbon footprint.
No. 2: Get crafty! I’m sure everyone has clothes laying around their home that if put together in the right fashion will create a one-of-a-kind homemade costume! You can use anything from sheets and old clothes to cutting up boxes and paper.
No. 3: Buy from your local thrift store. Each year the thrift stores in Summit County are loaded with costumes that are donated from previous years. If you still want to get crafty and not go for the typical Halloween costumes, you can stop by the thrift stores and pick up a last minute, inexpensive and locally purchased item.
No. 4: Clever costumes. Not all Halloween costumes have to be your typical witch, ketchup bottle or policeman outfit. Try going for a more literal look with items from around your house. As an example one year I was “Life Gives You Lemons.” All I did was use an old shirt, write the word “LIFE” on it and grab a basket from the house and threw some lemons in it. “Punny” and you can use the lemons later on for cooking. An idea for couples: “Green with Envy.” One dresses in all green while the other simply hangs a sign made out of cardboard around their neck with the word “Envy” on it.
As you see, it is more economically and environmentally favorable to avoid the giant Halloween pop-up shops and opt for creativity instead. If you are in need of last minute items, get crafty and visit your local retailers. The purchase you make will not only benefit the local economy but the artistry you put forth into your costume will surely make you stand out!
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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