When it comes to Halloween, Americans aren’t spooked about buying new costumes or decorations. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are predicted to spend over $8.4 billon on Halloween goods in 2016 – higher than any year in history. One way to stop contributing to the inevitable waste is to get crafty and make your own costumes out of things you have lying around the house. Here are a ten unique, inspiring costumes made out of recycled junk that are sure to impress on Halloween.
1. Soda Tab Monty Python Black Knight
Here’s some brilliant repurposing by Inhabitat reader John Grimes — the chainmail sleeves on this Black Night rendition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail are made entirely out of discarded soda can tabs. The helmet is made from a garbage can and textured with hot glue. Top that off with some coconut shells and you’ll be as good as gold.
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2. Plastic Bag Warrior Princess
We’ve all got stock piles of plastic bags, so why not put them to good use? Those with a knack for sewing can make this crafty costume in a cinch. Ria Burns made this by attaching plastic bag strips to a bodice and hand sewing in layers to make the skirt. Using some yarn left over from over knitting projects, build the breastplates and then paint a cardboard sword so you can rock the real warrior look.
3. Walking Game Board
If you’re feeling extra nostalgic, try recreating your favorite childhood board game. This costume by Paul Zakrzewski mimics the Perfection board game using cardboard boxes, old plastic tablecloths, and cut-out shapes. The pop-out game pieces are made with some old sponges, duct tape, and pill bottles. For the full instructions on this particular outfit, check out this past entry from Inhabitat’s Green Halloween Contest.
4. Game of Thrones Illusion
Serious Game of Thrones fans will dig this getup. The ode to King Joffrey by Darcy Reaver has a set of false legs, giving the illusion of sitting when the wearer is actually standing and walking inside the throne. This particular illusory costume was made from cardboard boxes, vertical blinds and palm fronds found in a dumpster. The jacket was fashioned out of old fabric, and the fur trim, pants and boots were picked up at a thrift store. The sword was an old prop the creator had on hand.
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5. Claw Machine
This clever getup is an ode to those kooky claw machine games. Julie Guptill made this by gluing recycled boxes together for the body, refashioning old spatula handles for the claw, and throwing in some old stuffed animals.
6. Couples Tetris
Addicted to Tetris? Carina Mead and her fiance fashioned a couples costume by painting and gluing together eight same-sized cardboard boxes. She then cut holes for faces, arms, and for interlocking the boxes. This costume design requires little time or money to pull off, and your friends will love it.
Karen Morgan’s version of the beloved waste-collecting Wall-E robot is crafted entirely out of recycled items. The body, eyes and wheels are made from cut cardboard and the pupils were cut from bottoms of plastic bottles. Everything was assembled with a hot glue gun and spray painted to mimic the adorable bot.
8. Trashcan and Recycling Bin
These brother and sister waste and recycling bin outfits by Erin Retif were made partly from actual trash. The bodices are made from recycled boxes and some low-VOC paint, while a disk and cardboard depicts the trashcan lid and an old milk jug becomes a recycling top hat. Add some trash and recyclables, and voila!
9. Lego Mini-Figure Zombie
This perfectly undead Lego mini-figure zombie costume by Brack Lee is made from recycled foam rubber camping mats. After measuring the dimensions of a toy Lego mini-figure in proportion to your own measurements, simply cut out shapes of the camping mats and hot glue the pieces together. Paint on the oozing Lego head and use an auto window tint for visibility.
10. Spider Attack
Here’s an ingenious use for old Halloween decor — the spider attack! This costume envisioned by Darcy Reaver works great for a baby, but could also be used with multiple spiders for an adult. Make a “swaddle” out of some stretchy white fabric and top it with oversized spider and webbing decorations.
Have your own idea for a fabulous costume made from repurposed junk? Submit it into our Green Halloween Costume Contest!