8 Ways to Reuse Your Costume

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Now that Halloween is over and you’re ready to move  onto the next holiday, consider yourself prepared to answer the question: What will you do with your costume, decor and more anyway?

Well, finding out what to do with your pumpkin after Halloween is the easy part.

And reusing your decorations year to year is a no-brainer. In fact, Americans buy nearly $1.58 billion worth of Halloween decorations each year.

Don't know what to do with your child's skeleton costume? Save it for next year's scary yard decor. Photo: Flickr/mhartford

Don't know what to do with your child's skeleton costume? Save it for next year's scary yard decor. Photo: Flickr/mhartford

If each festive household could save just $5 per year by reusing some of their decorations from the previous year, the annual savings would total $420 million – enough to heat every U.S. home for seven hours during the first week of November.

But what about your spooky duds? This can get a bit tricky, but never fear – awesome ways to reuse your costume are here.

  • Let’s Get Practical
  • Let’s Get Creative
  • Let’s Get Serious
  • Let’s Think Twice
  • 1. No Trash Cans Here!

    In reality, it might be a bit much to say that every single year you and the members of your family need a brand-new costume. For one, it can get pricey. Also, you may love your Wonder Woman or Spartan Cheerleader so much, why would you want to toss it out?

    So, save your costumes to wear another year (who’s going to remember anyway?) or even share with a friend. Hand-me-downs aren’t just great for good jeans and the occasional party dress, after all. If you’re looking to broaden your giving horizons, host a post-Halloween soiree and have a Swap Party.

    On the flip-side, if the idea of another fête so close to the expired All Hallow’s Eve sounds a bit daunting, try a site like Zwaggle, where you receive points for giving your gently used items to other families, which you can then redeem to obtain “new” items for yours.

    2. That Sheet Would Make a Great…

    Just because you may not want to revisit last year’s Crypt Keeper costume doesn’t mean he can’t haunt Halloweens to come. Reuse your costumes as indoor and outdoor spooky decor. We love this idea of reusing an old skeleton costume to add a creepy touch to your front yard.  Or, try redecorating your ghost costume (ie: that old white sheet) with chilling details like fake blood, spiders and the like to make a fun backdrop for next year’s Halloween events.

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    3. Make Up For It

    Feeling a bit guilty about splurges on expensive makeup for this year’s costume? Maybe you’ll never wear that black, glittery eyeshadow again, or perhaps the ruby red of fake blood just isn’t your color. There are a number of ways to reuse or recycle makeup, including saving it for future costumes or art projects for your kids.

    Also, you can recycle makeup through programs like the Origins Recycling Program. Bring your empty cosmetics tubes, bottles, jars, etc. (no matter the brand, Origins takes them all!) for a free sample of your choice of one of Origins’ skincare products.

    4. Think Back to the Future

    Was this year your first round of going green on Halloween? Or are you evaluating your holiday after-the-fact, wishing you had done something differently? Take a look around as you start to pack up this year’s haunting decor and costumes, and make a list for next Halloween (pack it in your Halloween box that’s headed back for the garage so you won’t lose it!). There are a lot of simple ways to make all aspects of your All Hallow’s Eve more eco-friendly.

    Are you really going to use that vampire makeup again? Photo: Flickr/chatirygirl

    Are you really going to use that vampire makeup again? Try donating it to a local theater or school organization. Photo: Flickr/chatirygirl

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    5. Donate Your Duds

    Do you know of a program in your community that could use your costume? There’s probably a school, local theater troupe, shelter or center that just might love those fairy wings and fireman hat. Some organizations to check out include:

    • PreschoolRock.com – Their Halloween Costume Exchange allows parents in need to find free costumes for their families.
    • Ronald McDonald House – Your local RMHC may be looking for fun dress-up props for families staying with them, or know of another charity that would love these fun additions to their sometimes limited toy reserves.
    • Free Costumes For Kids – This non-profit has a goal of starting a national, free costume service for all children in need. While currently only operating in Palm Beach County, Fla., they’re making strides at growing the program. This year alone, Waste Management donated 80 boxes to be used for costume collection.
    • Local schools and theaters – With budget cuts aplenty, your leftover costume may be just what elementary, middle or even high schools may need for upcoming productions. The same goes for the community theater downtown. Be sure to call ahead before you go to drop off a costume to make sure they’re collecting or need what you have on-hand.

    6. Sell Your Stuff

    Let’s face it: Everyone’s looking to save a buck or two as the holidays approach. So, recoup some of the expense of creating that perfect Frankenstein costume. Online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist are great starts. Or, get social with your sales and check out the Garage Sale application for Facebook or the Facebook Marketplace, where you can list what you want, what you have and see other items in your networks.

    Selling isn’t just about putting a few extra Washingtons back in your wallet – you’re also offering the people in your community an opportunity to save on next year’s get-up. It’s like paying it forward (and getting a little back).

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    7. Fun With Cotton

    Fresh out of ideas for reusing the cotton cloth from your costumes? Don’t worry, we’ve already got you covered.

    • Jeans – While there are seven other ways that we’ve already identified to reuse your jeans, our favorite for Halloween is a cute bulletin board that you can use year-round. An easy craft that can vary depending on your skill level, this project also makes a great gift for just about anyone. Check out this basic approach from DIY Network and take it in your own personalized direction.
    • T-shirts – A classic staple of any costume, reuse ideas for the ever-popular t-shirt are virtually limitless. Since it’s getting chilly outside, remake your tee into a cute scarf. Create a thin, lightweight scarf for fall, like this favorite of ours by Punkn’s, to wear with your worn-in classics.

    8. Polyester Vest-er?

    Ok, so maybe finding something creative to rhyme with “polyester” was a bit more challenging that we imagined. But on the flip-side, reusing your polyester fabric isn’t difficult at all. Projects abound, like this wonderful bag or a cute pixie skirt from WhatTheCraft.com. Other fun sites, such as Craftster.org, host free patterns and projects for a myriad of options.

    Worried about your sewing skills? What The Craft also has some great tutorials for sewing basics.

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    Now you’re full of ideas and out of excuses for not doing more with that costume. Ready, set, sew!

    Raquel Fagan contributed to this article.

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