5 Reasons Why You Should DIY Your Halloween Costume

Creating your own Halloween costume can be both cheaper and better for the environment.

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Creating your own Halloween costume can be both cheaper and better for the environment.

Halloween is here, which means that many people in America are looking for the perfect costume. There is some debate on whether or not to buy a pre-made, store-bought polyester suit, or make and put together a creation of your own. Although creating a DIY costume is more time consuming and takes some level of creativity, it is an arguably better choice for 5 reasons.

1. Pre-made Costumes are Harmful to the Environment

The small folded square of wrinkled polyester that you pull from the small plastic bags hanging in Party City may be a quick and easy choice, but the shiny fabric held together by scratchy velcro on the back is harmful to the environment; polyester. This is a fabric made entirely of plastic and is not biodegradable, and when washed, releases microfiber plastics into water runoffs which can lead to harm in marine ecosystem such as getting trapped in animals’ digestive systems and cause soil to become infertile for marine plants. Polyester also requires a special dye that will be able to stick to the plastic fibers and not wash out or dull the color. Chemical dyes, especially those as intense as the ones used to brightly color polyester, include compounds such as “chlorine bleach to known carcinogens such as arylamines,” according to Esha Chhabra’s article “The Dirty Secret About Your Clothes” published in the Washington Post. For those who do use pre-made costumes or wear clothes made of polyester, know that it is 100% recyclable. One way to help our environment is to recycle your old Halloween costumes after use, or reuse them for another year.

2. DIY Can Save You Money

Adult size Halloween costumes bought from Party City or the Spirit store have a general price range of $30-$50, and that does not include things such as shoes or wigs. The specialized props and accessories that the models display on the packaging flaunts are, of course, sold separately, and not for a cheap price. Shoes for an extra $30-$40 dollars, shiny plastic wigs from $10-$30, and any other accessories needed for your Halloween look. Even with child-sized costumes, the price range is from $20-$40 with the occasional $10 or $15 for the toddlers, despite the lower quantity of material being sold. Companies overprice these polyester suits when polyester is a cheap material to mass produce, according to Plasticsinsight.com. Going to stores that sell cheap and versatile clothes can save you money, and Laura Cortez, senior, uses that to her advantage.

You can make it how you want it, it’s less expensive, and you have more control over the size. The costumes at Party City and Target have bad material and are really expensive. I usually put my costumes together with things from Salvation Army (second-hand store) or things that I already had at home,” states Cortez.

3. You Have Better Control Over Size if You DIY

Pre-made Halloween costumes are mass produced in factories and come in basic sizes or the notorious “one size fits all.” Everyone has a different body type, and the stiff, non-stretchable material, polyester, was not designed to fit diverse body types. Halloween costumes can tend to have a vague shape for a body, and once that doesn’t fit, it’s time to go up a size. It’s easy to end up with costumes that only fit one aspect of someones figure and leaving the rest looking droopy or uneven. Many times, even, companies will charge extra for sizes such as XL. What you can’t find on the shelves, you can order online with a shipping fee, a wait time, and a prayer that it will fit alright. Lauren Hinson, junior, specifically doesn’t buy pre-made costumes due to this inconvenience.

The main reason I don’t get store-bought costumes is because they don’t fit well. Doing it myself means it fits better. Most of the time I don’t like how it looks and it feels cheap. I usually go to Salvation Army, Forever 21, and any other cheap store,” says Hinson.

When you make your own costume, whether it be from scratch or by putting together various clothing items, you have much better control of the size, and can buy or make multiple pieces with the shirt and a different size from the bottoms.

4. Store-bought Costumes are not Durable

Polyester is the fabric of fast fashion, easy for factories and clothing producers to mass produce. Although the fabric itself is very durable and able to withstand most chemicals, wrinkling, and water, the cheaply made costumes sold on retail are less likely to. Small details are not properly secured and and often times fall or rip. The velcro in the back not only fails to close the costume all the way, but is also prone to coming off or catching on the fabric and causing tears or runs. Making your own costume allows you to control how well you want the cloth and decor to stay together. Putting together various pieces of clothing that were made for more than one use can form a costume that outlives the others sold on racks. You can also choose what material to use in order to be more comfortable and then reuse the items you bought later in your casual wear.

5. Many Store-bought Costumes are Arguably Inappropriate

As high school students, most of the youth at Lake Ridge can no longer fit in to the butterfly and ninja costumes of their childhood, and the sizes available to them are generally the same for adults. In many instances, especially for woman, the butterfly and ninja costumes that were so popular as children are now advertised provocatively. “Sexy nurse” and “Sedusa” (rather than Medusa) are being sold to young woman that are as young as 14 and 15, now that they can no longer fit in to child sizes and are left to turn to the options available to them. Often times, the costumes offered to the female teenage demographic are small with minimal coverage of the legs and bust. With the limited sizing and thin fabric, there is not much room in the polyester slips for comfort and movement.

Expand your creativity with a DIY costume, rather than limit yourself to the poorly-sized choices in party stores. It can be as simple and easy as repurposing your clothes to fit the theme for a costume or spooky outfit, wearing makeup that transforms your look, or shopping for items at cheap and accessible clothing stores. In the words of  Kenzo Takada, Japanese fashion designer, “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu.”