Three Easy Sustainable Halloween Costume Ideas

Hate the idea of discarding store bought costumes after Oct 31st? Try these sustainable Halloween costume ideas instead!

By Arwa Lodhi

Agh! What to wear for Hallowe’en is sometimes the scariest part of the whole holiday. You don’t want to do anything too lame, like drawing some whiskers on your face and ‘being a cat’ or anything too overtly sexual like a ‘hot nurse’ (yawn) or ‘prostitute’ (not really down with the sisterhood, right?). And if you do choose something kinda cool, then the issue of how to do the makeup for that comes into question…

Well, as always, we’re here to help! We asked professional makeup artist, Erin Williams, to give us some advice. And she should know – she’s spent years working with the stars of Broadway, she she knows how to transform a look! Here, she’s created a range of makeup designs as part of some sustainable Hallowe’en costume ideas that will have you looking spooky in no time.

We also turned to our partner, vegan vlogger Kristen Leo, for some ideas. She’s made a video with three sustainable costumes for the season, but honestly, we fell in love with one in particular: the Haunted Doll! Below, we explain how you can get that look.

And if all else fails and you just want to go out dressed like you usually are? You could use a cardboard box to create the simple ‘Instagram Famous’ idea that Beyonce sported a few years ago! (Photo by Beyonce).

Three Easy Sustainable Halloween Costume Ideas

sustainable Halloween costume ideas

The Sweet Sugar Skull

Fancy being a sugar skull? Mixing the Nightmare Before Christmas with a little modern design, Erin has all the tips and tricks you need to transform your way into this fun look.

Erin: “Try to stay focused on a color theme that is predominantly two or three colors.   If you use too many shades, it distracts from the skull work you’re doing with the makeup.  

Powder the heck out of it so it doesn’t smear – especially if you’re going to a party and will be dancing (and get sweaty) or if you live somewhere where it’s still warm outside on Halloween.

Look at diagrams of actual human skulls – it’ll make the makeup more authentic and it’ll be easier to understand as you’re doing it.”

What you’ll need: Your base is going to be  Death Flesh Crème Foundation from Ben Nye.  From there, grab a thick eyeliner pencil in black, like this one by Nat Origins. You’ll also need a few liquid eyeliners in different colours, like these ones by Zao. Keep it all in place with a great setting powder like Encore by Hynt Beauty.

For the costume: Wear any bustier or lace blouse you have on hand with either black trousers or tights or a long skirt. Add some silk (or real!) flowers to your hair for added effect.

Bonus: Works for kids, too!

Sustainable Hallowe'en Costume

Vampire Vixen

Prefer to turn yourself vamp-tastic? Then stay away from warm colours. Nailing a vampire look is all about getting your skin a nice shade of undead. And after the popular franchise film Twilight, try and have a little fun with your chosen Halloween look. Think dramatic lashes, coloured lenses and a stand out lip.

Erin:  “Stay away from warm colors – warm bronzers, eyeshadows – all of that.   Warm = life so you want to go with cool colors.   Contour with greys and blues instead of browns and pinks.  

Little touches like a coloured contact lens or those little fake fangs that fit onto your incisors add SO much and aren’t much effort at all.  

What you’ll need:  Watch the video for instructions and products (which are also shown below), but note: if you’re fair, you might have to pick up costume makeup base in order to look light enough – Death Flesh Crème Foundation from Ben Nye is a great one.

For the costume: If you’ve nailed the makeup, this is an easy one for clothing – anything black will do!


The Haunted Doll

Our partner Kristen Leo has awesome sustainable Halloween costume ideas! And the best part? Hers are all created from from thrifted materials. Cheap, and eco friendly! Win win!

We especially love her ‘Haunted Doll’ look. It’s so easy to achieve! All you need is an old-fashioned looking or baby doll dress, and makeup that creates large, doll-like eyes and a tiny rosebud mouth.

Check out her video below for the how-tos.

To get Kristen’s Haunted Doll Look

It’s pretty easy to do the makeup for this. Cover your whole face, including your eyebrows, with your a foundation like those by Ilia two shades lighter than your usual one. Then, use an eyeliner to pencil a thin line over your natural brows.

For eyes, apply black liner both under and over the eye, with lashings of mascara (or huge falsies, if you have them – Paperself make really cool ones from paper for Hallowe’en –  see below). From there, use a very sharp black liner to draw a few longer ‘eyelashes’ from your bottom lid.

Cover your lips in foundation, and use a bright red lip pencil to ‘draw’ a smaller set of lips covering your natural cupid’s bow and extending out to around 2/3 of your actual lips. Axiology makes lip pencils that stay put all day – try their Valor shade! Blot and fill in with a red lipstick of the same shade – we’d recommend Axiology’s Elusive. Add two circles of the same lipstick on the apples of your cheeks. Voila! Happy Hallowe’en!


Chere Di Boscio
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