Gershow Recycling’s Green Halloween Tips and Tricks

Halloween is right around the corner and your children can’t wait for that day. While a simple visit to neighbors and friends results in free candy for your children, not everything associated with the holiday is free.

If you’ve been to a Halloween store, then kids’ costumes prices probably give you a scare. Even major discount chains offer costumes at inflated prices. The average child’s costume currently sells between $20 and $50. With growth spurts always on the horizon, it’s often not practical to shell out that much cash for costumes every year.

Gershow Recycling has some DIY ideas for you that are both cost-effective and eco-friendly. With parents recalling their own homemade costumes of yesteryear, upcycled solutions are popular once again. Here are some costume ideas that will offer a Halloween solution without lightening your wallet:

  • Gumball Machine: tape a clear garbage bag around your child’s waist and shoulders and fill it with small balloons to make a colorful and funny costume. Another way to make a gumball machine is to glue pom-poms to cover a shirt. Have your child wear red or black pants and a belt with a large buckle.
  • Cats and Dogs: hot glue or tape your child’s favorite dog and cat stuffed animals to an umbrella. Dress him or her up in a traditional raincoat and boots, and you’re ready to go!
  • Duck: Have extra scrap paper at the office? Cut each sheet into the shape of two petals and attach to your child’s shirt, layering one row over the other as you work your way up from the bottom of the shirt (like eaves). Have your child color a beak and fasten it around his or her head with string to complete the look.
  • LEGO: Take an old cardboard box and up to eight rinsed-out soup cans. Glue the cans to the front of the box. Cut one short side of the box off — this empty space will be where your child’s legs go. Cut holes for the head and arms, then paint the entire costume red, yellow, green, black, white or blue.
  • Harry Potter: Grab an old, oversized black t-shirt and cut it down the middle to make a robe (put to the side a strip of the shirt from where you cut it to serve as a belt to tie it closed). A basic red t-shirt and jeans from your child’s closet will be perfect under the “robe.” To create the wand, grab a stick off a tree. You can cover it with papier-maché, paint and glitter. For the iconic glasses, bend a wire hanger into glasses with needle-nose pliers; use red lipstick to draw a scar. If your child is more the Hermione Granger-type, swap the glasses and scar for frizzy hair. This can be done by putting tiny braids in her hair before she goes to sleep.
  • Angel: Cut out the shape of two angel wings from a piece of cardboard; cover in coffee filters and pop small holes into the center using a hole punch. Grab shoelaces or string and pull them through the holes, then have your child wear the wings like a backpack. Create a halo by twisting gold pipe cleaners into a circle and attaching them to a headband. A basic white outfit from your child’s closet can be worn along with these accessories.
  • Hot Air Balloon: Cut off the top and bottom of a cardboard box. Paint it to look like a basket and use a hole puncher and ribbon to create straps for the basket. Glue four square wooden dowels inside the box so that they protrude above your child’s head. With the cut part of the box, create a border around the top of the dowels. Punch holes into the border to affix the balloon. For the balloon, take a large, colorful plastic shopping bag, create a solid structure using leftover pieces from the box inside the bag, tie it closed and then to the string from the basket. You can also repurpose a large bouncy ball as the balloon by covering it with strips of colorful paper and sitting it on the dowels and supportive cardboard structure.
  • Alice’s Ace of Hearts: Using stiff red felt or cardboard, cut the shape of a heart with a hole in the center for the face. Glue a strand of elastic to either side to serve as a strap for the child’s head. Cut a neck hole at the middle of the closed end of a pillowcase and holes on either side for the arms. Create aces and hearts with red felt, glue or simple-stitch to the pillow case. Upcycle a cereal box as the candy holder. Enlarge and print the design of a card box, and glue it to the cereal box, affixing a ribbon to serve as the handle.
  • Chalkboard: Cut the large sides off a cardboard box to make a sandwich board for either side of a body. Paint the box pieces with black chalkboard paint and draw equations on the cardboard to finish the look. String shoelaces or a ribbon through each side for straps.

Voilà! Have a Happy Halloween.

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