By: CVC’s Kimberley Holt

Did you know the average Halloween costume costs about $70? That’s a lot of money for one night! Buying a Halloween costume doesn’t have to scare your wallet. Here are some DIY tips and tricks for creating inexpensive and ecofriendly costumes. It’s time to leave the scaring up to the ghosts and goblins.

The Bold Blackened Bat

[Photo credit: 2013 Ellen Van Rensburg – Queens University]
[Photo credit: 2013 Ellen Van Rensburg]

This bat costume is so bold and brilliant, you’ll be sure to leave party guests wondering just how much you spent on such a clever costume.

What you’ll need:

  • One black umbrella
  • Black masking tape
  • Black pants and sweater
  • Oversized safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Pliers

What you’ll do:

  1. Unscrew the centre metal pole of the umbrella. If the pole doesn’t unscrew, use pliers to bend the pole back and forth, eventually snapping it off.

            *Tip: if you don’t have an umbrella to dismember, discount stores sell them for as low as $1.

  1. Using scissors, cut evenly through the middle of the umbrella. The 2 halves will be your wings.
  2. Cut two long strips of black masking tape. Place one each along the cut edges of the two wings.
  3. Using oversized safety pins, fasten the taped edges of the wings to any black jacket, sweater or coat. Thicker materials are best because they hold the weight of the bat wings better.
  4. Add your black pants. Decide how you’ll spend the money you saved creating a terrifyingly terrific costume!

The Sporty Scuba Diver

[Photo Credit: 2015 Pinterest]
[Photo Credit: 2015 Pinterest]

This sporty scuba diver costume is so inexpensive and authentic, it’s sure to go over swimmingly with fellow Halloween-goers.

What you’ll need:

  • Two recycled two liter plastic pop bottles
  • Neon duct tape (any colour you like)
  • One straw
  • Black and silver spray paint
  • Black long-sleeved shirt
  • White molding clay
  • Scissors
  • Swimming goggles and flippers

What you’ll do:

  1. Remove plastic labels off each pop bottle. Spray paint the bottles silver and the bottle caps and straw, black. Let them dry for about an hour.

           *Tip: spray paint is best because it won’t flake off on plastic. Acrylic paint is water-based and won’t adhere to plastic. Make sure to spray paint in a well-ventilated area like a driveway or backyard.  

  1. Cut long strips of neon duct tape and place them in the centre of each bottle. Cut two more long pieces (the length of your arm) and place them along the sleeves the long-sleeved black shirt.
  2. Using scissors, poke two small holes in each bottle cap. Push both ends of the black painted straw into each hole. After the straw is in place, use the white modeling clay to replicate oxygen valves in the centre of the straw. Let the clay dry for about an hour.
  3. To create the straps that will hold your tanks, cut two long pieces of tape and fold them in half. Then, have someone hold the tanks to your back and tape the straps in place (on the top and bottom of the tanks).
  4. Add an old pair of swimming goggles and flippers to complete your costume. Thrift stores often have inexpensive swimming equipment available year-round.

Poised Poison Ivy

[Photo credit: 2015 Etsy]
[Photo credit: 2015 Etsy]

Normally we don’t encourage trudging around poisonous plants but this DIY poison ivy costume is the one time you can walk confidently in it.

What you’ll need:

  • A green skirt or pants
  • An old green shirt
  • Headband
  • Green leaves from outside
  • A hot glue gun
  • Green glitter

What you’ll do:

  1. Take a walk outside and collect fallen green leaves.

           *Tip: While this is the season for fall colours, many trees are still naturally shedding green leaves so it’s easy to find leaves that resemble ivy. (You can also make your own “leaves” from green construction paper if necessary.)

  1. Lay your green shirt, skirt or pants on a flat surface and arrange the leaves in any pattern you like. Once completed, hot glue the leaves in place. Let dry.

           *Tip: Many dance studios have used tutus for sale. If you can’t find a green tutu, use a neutral or light coloured one. Use a glue stick to draw swirly shapes and sprinkle green glitter over the glue. 

  1. Glue any remaining leaves onto the headband. If you don’t have a headband, discount stores have plain masks that you can decorate with glitter, markers and leaves.

Whether you’re a bat, scuba diver, poison ivy or anything in between, you need a place to show off your ecofriendly costume. On October 23 and 24, come strut your stuff at Credit Valley Conservation’s Haunted Forest at Terror Cotta Conservation Area. It’s frightening fun for the whole family! Space is limited, so get your tickets early at:

Have your own DIY ecofriendly costume ideas? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook!

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