We recycled Faye’s red ladybug in March. Five months post-Halloween and she was ready, so we removed the sparkly ribbon, folded the cardboard shell in two, and popped it into our recycle bin. Over the summer, when murmurings of Halloween started up again, she announced that she wanted to be a ladybug again, only this time, a blue one.
This weekend we went to an art supply shop and bought two colors of blue paint, Faye’s choosing. We used leftover black paint to make the spots. Yesterday I supplemented our weekend paint selections with some blue glitter paint to satisfy a yen for sparkle. Tomorrow we’ll string on some blue ribbon, and because at age three ladybugs become slightly more concerned with anatomical accuracy, we’ll pair the wings with black long johns, last-year’s black hat— snug, but serviceable—and call her finished. (Silas is going as an chartreuse-bodied bug with his own set of wings.)
I’m a holiday enthusiast. And so despite the fact that Halloween isn’t exactly a healthful, zero-waste experience, on this one day a year, we go for it. Yes, there are a lot of individually wrapped candies, but a once yearly transgression doesn’t have to mean a year’s worth of guilt, especially because with a little forethought, Halloween can be a fairly low-impact affair. Less waste, if not zero.
I wrote last year about bringing a bit of fall-ish magic into your home, zero-waste style. Here, a few ideas for sourcing Halloween costume elements, without needing to raid the costume shop or store a shop’s worth of costumes in your home:
+ We tend to start our costume search by rooting through the recycling bin. I especially like going this route because a costume made of recycled materials is a costume that’s easily….recyclable. Sure, Faye’s costume lingered for a few months post-holiday, but it was relatively unobtrusive while it was hanging on a hook in her room and very easy to part with when the time came. Recyclable materials to consider: Cardboard, egg cartons, packing peanuts, aluminum foil, bubble wrap, empty toilet paper rolls… the fun never ends. (Wink.)
+ Thrift stores are filled with costumes or costumes-to-be this time of year. My nephew was a bumble bee a few years ago, and he wore a thrifted bee costume, complete with antennae. When the holiday was over, back to the thrift store it went. If your kid has their heart set on a costume that’s somewhat less homespun than some cardboard ladybug wings, swing by a thrift store—or a friend’s closet—to see if there’s something there that could strike their fancy but that wouldn’t necessarily require buying anything brand new. Once the holiday is over, chat with them about passing it along to someone else.
+ I’m a big fan of costumes that are mostly….not costumes. Faye’s wearing a base of perfectly great pajamas as her ladybug body. She’ll wear them until she out grows them and then they’ll fit Silas, and on and on we’ll go. (If you’re on the hunt, City Threads, Hanna Andersson, Mabo, Petits Vilains, Rudy Jude, Arq, and Primary are a few favorite kids brands that make simple basics in solid colors that are great for costumes and for every single day.) In addition to a solid base, we use all sorts of things that we’d otherwise wear normally: winter hats, bonnets, scarves, tights, etc. Paired in the right combination, and seen with a little imagination, just about anything becomes a costume. For the very littlest trick-or-treaters, a costume that makes good use of a baby wrap (we have this one) is a thing to try. Silas might be too enthusiastic about the evening to be contained, but we’re hoping he’ll decide to be a snug little bug this year.
What about you guys? Genius costume ideas?