DIY Halloween Costumes From Recyclable Items Around the House

DIY Ghost Costume
Photo credit (Photo: SeventyFour/Getty Images)
By Lori Melton

One of the best parts of Halloween is pretending to be someone or something else — along with collecting and eating candy, of course! It’s the one night a year that people of all ages can reinvent themselves. From wearing something silly or turning into a scary “werewolf” at the stroke of midnight, the costume possibilities are endless.

Buying a costume from a store is convenient but has several drawbacks. First, many premade costumes are expensive. Second, if you buy one online or from a store, you risk wearing exactly what someone else is wearing. 

Furthermore, buying an outfit to only wear once is not the eco-friendliest option.

Fortunately, there are lots of DIY Halloween costumes that you can throw together from recyclable items around the house. If you’re looking for creative ideas, we’ve listed a few.

See Also: The Most Googled Halloween Costumes Of 2019


Cardboard Box Robot

Cardboard Box Robot

Turning a couple of cardboard boxes into a robot is a popular, inexpensive idea. Since cardboard is recyclable, it’s also a sustainable choice.

You’ll need one larger box for the robot’s “body” and a smaller one for its “head.” Cut out holes for your arms and an opening for your face. To give the costume a metallic look, spray paint the boxes silver or grey or cover them in tin foil. Dryer vent tubing makes great “sleeves” for arms. Wrapping a glow stick in foil makes a great antenna and you can even use press on LED lights to dress up the body.

See many variations of this DIY Robot Costume here.




Clever “Pun” Costumes

There are lots of ways to deliver a clever pun with your Halloween attire. For example, wearing a “Chip on Your Shoulder” just involves putting on any outfit out of your closet and then attaching a crinkled “chip” made out of yellow construction paper to your shoulder.

“When Life Gives You Lemons” is another easily-executed DIY costume. Just wear a yellow shirt, attach a nametag that says “Life,” grab a stack of lemons from the counter and carry them in a basket to “give” to other partygoers.

To be a “Smart Cookie,” all you have to do is drag out your graduation cap and gown that’s been tucked away in the closet, cut out some pictures of chocolate chip cookies, and tape or pin them onto the gown.

There are scores of these “punny” costume ideas online or these suggestions might inspire you to come up with one of your own!



Recycle Costume

A Recycle Bin

Dressing up as a recycle bin is fun and makes a fantastic eco-friendly statement. 

You can cut out the bottom of an actual recycle bin with a razor, cut two slits in the front and two slits in the back to thread fabric straps through, and then hot glue recycle items of your choice to poke out around the top of the bin. An empty cereal box, paper, a milk jug and any other items you put in your own weekly collection will work. Plus, a recyclable milk or orange juice jug makes a cute hat. See an example of this idea on Coolest Homemade Costumes.



DIY Zombie Costumes

Fun Repurposed Costumes

Finding a new use for an old item helps reduce waste that will clutter up landfills. There are a lot of ways to repurpose items to make creative Halloween costumes.

For example, to make a jet pack, spray paint empty 2-liter bottles gray, glue them onto a piece of cardboard, then add fabric shoulder straps. Use paper to attach “flames” to the bottom of the “tanks.”

Or, tearing up old fabric and hot gluing or sewing the strips onto an existing black dress, sport coat, or skirt makes an excellent “zombie” fashion statement

Finally, you can give new purpose to toilet paper, white gauze bandages, strips of old white t-shirts or white sheets by wrapping yourself in them to become a classic Halloween mummy.

Overall, looking in your closet or around your house to make a Halloween costume from things you already have saves money and helps protect the planet. So, have fun, get creative and get ready to have a ghoulishly good time!