Fast fashion haunts Halloween


Erin Kee

Perceived as cheap and disposable, Halloween costumes have become unsustainable. “The mindset that comes with Halloween in terms of costumes is not good for the environment,” Daniel Arakaki said.

Halloween is a time to choose a costume, buy the costume, and wear the costume for what is most likely the only time you’ll ever wear it again. And nothing haunts more than the carbon footprint people leave behind.

Though Halloween has stuck to its origins of dressing up in costumes to ward off ghosts, today’s holiday is fueled by consumerism. According to the National Retail Foundation, the expected consumer spending on Halloween-related items was $10.14 billion.

“Fast fashion in itself is bad, but when it comes to Halloween, I think it can be even worse. It’s hard to wear costumes again when their purpose is for Halloween,” said Arianna Hsu, a sophomore. 

According to a report done by Fairyland Trust, it is estimated that 4 in 10 costumes are only worn once. 

“Because costumes are a lot of the time only worn once, I think it promotes buying a lot of stuff for cheap from places such as Amazon and Shein and then never wearing it again,” said Audrey O’Sullivan, a junior. 

Going against the sustainability movement of promoting buying higher-quality clothing that will last longer and reduce fast fashion, Halloween suggests a different idea with one-time wear costumes. 

Though there are more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of costumes, less than 13% of material is recycled globally, and 1% gets recycled into new clothing. The lack of success for costumes to get properly recycled has students thinking of other ways they can be more sustainable with their costumes. 

“People can use the stuff they already have or buy stuff that they can use for other costumes or wear on a regular basis, not just for Halloween,” O’Sullivan said. “If people are wearing their costume once, they can donate it. People can also get their costumes from thrift stores which combat fast fashion or borrow from friends or family.”

In response to the unsustainable mentality that comes with Halloween, campaigns around the world such as Sew Spooky encourage people to be creative with their costumes. Through costume workshops and swaps, people can get involved with their community and celebrate Halloween while still being conscious of the environment. Keeping the environment in mind during the holidays can make a significant difference.

“It doesn’t take a lot to make a big change, especially when it comes down to one day of the year,” said Daniel Arakaki, a senior.