Green Halloween Costumes

Photo: iStockphoto.com/LindaYolanda
Ditch disposable costumes and make yours Hallow-green!

The average Halloween costume can cost anywhere from $25 to $40 and is usually made from petroleum-based vinyl and fabric filled with dioxins and phthalates. Both chemicals are considered hormone disruptors and major pollutants. You can save money and the environment by returning to the old-fashioned costume made from recyclables.

In the closet

Look around in your closet and you're sure to find something just hanging around waiting to be reborn. (What boomer doesn't have some old hippie style or ghastly outfit from the 70s?) If your possess only tasteful designer clothes, then head over to the nearest second-hand shop like Goodwill or Value Village. Goodwill even has an online store locator and many stores have a special Halloween section.

The Costume Idea Zone has lots of simple suggestions ranging from the traditional witches and goblins to animals and storybook characters. All their costumes can be made with existing clothing and just a few accessories. For example their dog costume: Wear all white. Cut spots out of black felt and stick them all over your body. Make black felt ears and attach them to a headband. Make a tail by braiding some black fabric. Make a collar out of fake leather and attach some dog tags. Carry a dog bone.

Fly with your costume

Accessories can help make your costume come alive. Even if your child wants to go as a popular character, you still don't need to buy a ready-made costume. By adding the necessary accessories you can use recyclables you find about the house.

Fairies, bumblebees and other flying objects are always popular costumes with the wee ones. Make your own wings simple using some wire coat hangers, stockings and a bit of sparkle. The craft website DLTK Kids has a free pattern for Halloween wings that even the most craft-impaired parent will be able to follow.

Unmask your imagination

Most pre-made Halloween costumes come with plastic or latex masks that block peripheral vision but are also filled with toxic chemicals like PVC. Most pediatricians recommend using face paints instead.

Like most conventional makeup, Halloween makeup contains some suspect chemicals that can irritate young skin. The cheaper Halloween makeup may also contain lead and petrolatum, both which cause allergies and illness in large enough doses. Natural products from Burt's Bees, Earth's Beauty, Kiss My Face make great substitutes.

German made Lyra Super Aqua skin paints is a high quality water soluble makeup for skin painting that is easy to put on and take off. Dermatologically tested it's safe for ages three and up. Amanda Formaro, an entrepreneurial mother of four children and owner of Family Corner has created several homemade makeup recipes you can make from common ingredients found in the kitchen and bathroom.

Safety first

Store bought or homemade, whichever costume you choose, make sure it's safe. Make sure costumes are short enough so the kids will not trip, Costumes that limit movement should be avoided. As a final precaution add some reflective material or tape to make sure your little witch or goblin is visible to cars. A flashlight to help them navigate is also a good idea.

Now get out there and start scaring the neighbourhood!