Halloween goes green with fantastic DIY costumes you can recycle (PHOTOS)

Lauren Conrad mermaid costume
Halloween landed on a Friday this year, meaning your “I have to work tomorrow” excuse for not dressing up becomes as flimsy as a ghost.  So, with a few hours to prep before tonight’s parties begin, how do you devise a spooktacular costume without buying more polyester (most likely shipped over from China) to crap up the planet?

Here in Jordan, the government just banned all Halloween festivities, fearing backlash from fundamentalist groups who view the celebrations as Satanic and homosexual.

The home ministry issued a statement explaining that all holiday activities are forbidden to prevent a repeat of the rioting that occurred during the last two Halloweens.

So while I can’t use any of the following ideas for fancy-dress-on-a-shoestring in Amman; nothing is stopping you from making the holiday “Hallow-GREEN”. Buy some tools if you don’t have any at home and get creating!

American celeb Lauren Conrad is a self-proclaimed Queen of Halloween.  Park aside her shameless self-promotion, and I’ll admit I’m sort of loving her do-it-yourself mermaid costume which can be whipped up pretty quickly with a bucket of shells and a glue gun. (That’s her get-up in the image above – she shares a step-by-step process for making the costume on her blog.)

Cardboard ballgown

cardboard skirt
A similar time investment can produce a cardboard ballgown like the one above – but you’ll have to improvise as the website that offered instructions has spookily disappeared!

A simpler solution is a garbage bag dress, a la multi-disciplinary artist Robin Barcus Slonina (pictured above).

She creates site-specific, interactive “dress” sculptures in a project entitled “States of Dress”.  Drive home a point about plastic pollution without saying a word (and help clean up after the party too).

Dress like acid rain!

acid rain costume
I  may steal this stunner for a future year – what a spectacular depiction of acid rain!  it could be easily recreated from plastic bags and cut up clear bottles. What’s scarier than environmental degradation?

Be Mother Nature Herself?


Dress up in a women’s mother nature costume 

Dress up like a Renaissance painting

Henrik-Kerstens portraiture
I stumbled across Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens who creates stunning portraits using everyday objects. Do your head up like his Renaissance “painting” -simple make-up and some rolls of toilet paper can morph you into a work of art.

art from everyday objects
Or use bubble wrap to transform yourself into a medieval beauty.  His images might inspire you to pull the vent duct from your dryer (you should be air-drying clothes anyhow!), pop a dishtowel on your head and make yourself into a modern-day Rembrandt.

art from everyday objects
But let’s be practical.  You need a costume now.  Yesterday’s news can be tonight’s prize-winner if you craft a classic witch’s hat out of newsprint.

newspaper witch hat
Or opt for long tresses made from the same stuff. The folks at Martha Stewart Omnimedia can get you stylin’ in paper curls in about the same time as a real hair appointment.

And we haven’t forgotten the kids.  Pull a pair of plastic bottles from your recycling bin and make a jet pack for your tiniest rocketeers.

Rockets from soda bottles

plastic bottle rockets
And here’s a no-sew ballerina tutu that takes minutes to make with plastic shopping bags.

plastic bag tutuInspiration abounds online. Get cracking, don’t delay – or you may be stuck in the lines at the party store, left with this cringe-inducing “sexy environmentalist” costume.  The image is as awful as the concept – the message on the dress reads, “I recycle boys” and “Recyclers do it twice”.  Suddenly Jordan’s ban makes a certain sense.

If you do craft your own costume? Just be sure to drop the duds in the recycling bin when the party’s over.

sexy environmentalist

Images and their sources are: Lauren Conrad mermaid; cardboard hoop skirt; Robin Barcus Slonina; acid rain “Goddess of Depression” costume;  three Hendrick Kerstens portraits;  witch hat; newsprint wigs; bottle rockets; plastic tutu; and sexy environmentalist by jezebel

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