woman wearing a black robe and jack o lantern

17 Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes — Best Last-Minute Ideas

Do you need a few ideas for last-minute eco-friendly Halloween costumes? I got you.

The easiest thing would be to rush into a party store and buy a ready-made costume. 

But that’s bad for your wallet and even worse for the environment. Not to mention that these costumes are usually of such poor quality that they might not even last the night. Plus, where’s the fun in that?

So, instead of wasting your money, check out my best ideas for a green holiday, and let me know how it turns out! Here are the main categories we’ll cover:

Timeless Classics

There’s a good reason why the classic costumes keep coming up on these lists. They’re easy to pull off and never go out of style. Here are the best options:

1. Wednesday or Morticia Addams

Want sustainable Halloween costumes that are timeless and easy to make? My favorite macabre family comes to the rescue. You only need a black dress and some makeup to pull either of these off. You can pick based on what type of black dress you have in your closet.

What you’ll need for a Wednesday Addams costume: 

  • Short or medium-length black dress
  • White collar (You can easily make it from any white sheet you have and attach it to the dress.)
  • Hair braided into pigtails 
  • White face makeup
  • Black lipstick (optional)

What you’ll need for a Morticia Addams costume: 

  • Long black dress with sleeves (ideally showing some cleavage)
  • Straight dark hair (black or dark brown)
  • White face makeup
  • Red lipstick 

Unfortunately, these will probably land among the most common eco-friendly Halloween costumes for this year since Netflix is releasing its Wednesday Addams TV show in November. Still, they’re always a great idea.

2. Mummy 

Here’s another classic costume that anyone can pull off without spending a dime. 

All you need is a white sheet, preferably an old one. Cut it into strips and wrap your body and head in them. You can easily secure the strips with safety pins. 

The best part? It shouldn’t look perfect — the more ragged it looks, the better!

If you want to go the extra mile, you can add some fake blood, white face makeup, or simply add stains to make the look more authentic. This is among my top go-to costume ideas for an eco-friendly Halloween.

3. Black Cat 

The black cat is one of the most iconic Halloween symbols and among the easiest DIY costumes. 

Here’s what you’ll need for a black cat costume: 

  • Black skirt, jeans, leggings, whatever you already have in your closet.
  • Black shirt (ideally with long sleeves)
  • DIY cat ears — Here’s a super fast and easy cat ear headband tutorial.
  • Whiskers — Use eyeliner to make those
  • DIY cat tail — That’s a bit more advanced, but if you have an extra day and want to make an effort, here’s a cat tail tutorial.

If you’re an eco-friendly cat lover and you’ve never been a cat on Halloween, now’s your chance!

4. Ghost

If you’re looking for Halloween costumes you already have in your closet, this is a strong contender.

It’s even simpler than the Mummy costume. You only need a white sheet and some scissors to put holes in it for your eyes and mouth. It’s not the most creative costume on the list, but it’s definitely one of the cheapest and easiest to make.

woman wearing a witch halloween costume

5. Witch

Why not release your inner magic with a witch costume? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pointy hat — Buy one at any store or DIY with this easy paper witch hat tutorial. Don’t eat me alive just because I said to buy something. This is for those of you who, like me, can’t even handle a 3-step tutorial. It’s still more eco-friendly than buying a whole costume.
  • Broom — Follow this paper broom tutorial

You’ll get bonus points if you:

  • Dress all in black
  • Add some makeup
  • Carry a potion vial with a magical drink 😉 

Now go out there and bewitch someone! 

6. Bat

If you want to make Halloween costumes from clothes you already own and you’re an animal lover, a bat costume might just be the thing for you. Bats are cute and carry around all sorts of bacteria and viruses. Aren’t they the perfect inspiration for Halloween? 

Here’s what you’ll need for a bat costume: 

  • Black fabric 
  • Elastic
  • Bat ears (follow the cat ear tutorial above) 
  • Hot glue

This is the easiest tutorial for a bat costume I could find.

7. Scarecrow

Scarecrows are among the oldest fall symbols and are meant to instill fear. But they’re also a lot of fun. Here’s what you’ll need for a simple scarecrow costume:

  • Plaid shirt
  • Straw hat
  • Makeup 

It’s a great last-minute idea that always looks good.

woman and men wearing skull halloween makeup

Makeup Only Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes

It’s amazing what you can achieve with just some black, white, and red makeup. 

Here are some easy costume ideas that require nothing more:

8. Skull

Skulls remind us of death and the short lives we have on this planet. It doesn’t get scarier than this. They’re also the classic go-to look for Halloween. All you’ll need for this costume is lots of white and black makeup. Here’s an easy skull tutorial

I’ve tried and tested it. While it doesn’t look as good as a makeup YouTuber can make it look, the result is a decent scary costume.

9. Clown

People have always been scared of clowns. While clowns’ exaggerated facial features and body parts can be comical, many continue to perceive them as deformed and monster-like. Not to mention they have a wide evil representation in books, movies, and TV shows.

You’re guaranteed to scare someone if you dress up as a clown this holiday. And all you’ll need for that is some black or red makeup. You can also use white makeup as a base for this fantastic sustainable Halloween costume.

10. Saw

Here’s a cheap costume idea for the true horror movie fan. The makeup is similar to that of a clown, so you’ll need red, black, and white colors. For bonus points, it goes great with a white shirt and a red bow tie.

If you’re looking for a more modern horror look, go for Billy the Puppet from Saw.

11. Dia de Los Muertos

If you’re not a horror fan, but you still love to dress up, this makeup-only costume idea is for you. It’s also a great choice if you want a more colorful and joyous Halloween.

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday in honor of death that welcomes back the souls of deceased family members for a brief period. And it’s most famous symbol is the sugar skull makeup that people choose to represent a loved one that has passed to the other side. 

If you’re after eco-friendly Halloween costumes that spread positivity, consider this one. You’ll only need some makeup that can be black and white or in any other color you have on hand.

Sustainable Halloween Costumes Inspired by Books and Movies

If want a more niche costume idea, here are a few more classic suggestions:

12. Ninja

If you have black clothes and a black t-shirt to spare, you can turn into a lean mean Japanese fighting machine this Halloween. Just follow this ninja mask tutorial. It’s a great and easy costume idea for both kids and adults.

13. Dementor

Dementors are scary creatures from Harry Potter that suck the happiness out of the air around them. They’re also an excellent eco-friendly Halloween idea for a costume. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Black robe
  • Black makeup

I call this a reverse ghost costume. If you happen to have any skull gloves lying around, those can provide a great finishing touch to your look.

14. The Matrix

The Matrix trilogy is a classic, and if you haven’t watched it, I highly encourage you to do so. While this isn’t a scary costume idea, it’s easy to pull off and looks incredibly nice. 

All you need is a black coat and clothes, as well as black sunglasses. Bonus points if you can include a fake black gun.

kid wearing a green mask

Environmental Halloween Costumes

If you want to address the real scary problems in our society, these costume ideas are your best bet:

15. Planet Earth + Climate Change

This is an advanced DIY Halloween costume for truly dedicated eco-conscious people. Follow this amazing planet Earth tutorial and simply add a few flames to the planet.

It’s a wonderful way to raise awareness and provoke a discussion on the problems that truly matter.

16. Greenwashing

If you’re looking for green Halloween costume ideas, it doesn’t get greener than this. 

Greenwashing is all the sneaky practices companies use to make us believe their products are eco-friendly. It’s a 21st-century horror story that’s only going to get worse. 

If you want to get people talking, greenwash yourself this Halloween — wear plain green clothes and paint your face green. 

17. Plastic

Our obsession with plastic might be our downfall. In the past few years, we’ve discovered microplastics in alarming places — from the air to breast milk. While we don’t know the full implications of that yet, researchers predict rising inflammation and DNA damage, among other issues.

This is among the scariest ideas for environmental Halloween costumes. While we continue to ignore the problem, one day it’ll come back to haunt us like ghosts never did. 

But let’s go back to the fun part. 

How can you make a plastic costume? Simply find a way to attach different widespread plastic to your clothes — plastic bags, water bottles, and food wrappers. If you’re already recycling at home, you’ll need no more than a few minutes to find good props for your costume.

A Few More Sustainable Halloween Ideas

If none of the costumes above is to your liking, here are a few more options to consider:

Borrow From a Friend

If you ever exchanged your clothes with a friend, you already know how much fun this can be. You still get a new look, and you don’t have to spend any money on it.

Most people have at least one Halloween costume lying around in their closet. If you don’t mind copying your friends’ past holiday looks, borrowing is a wonderful last-minute idea.

Go Thrift Shopping

Guess what happens to one-time used Halloween costumes. Some of them get donated. That’s how they land at your local thrift shop almost brand new, waiting for a second chance. That’s also how I’ve found some of the best Halloween costumes for children.

I’m a huge proponent of thrift shopping for sustainable Halloween costumes. It’s cheap, creative, and fun. Plus, most of the thrift clothes are a lot more high-quality than the rest.

Get a Onesie

If you’re still set on buying a Halloween costume, at least get one you’ll wear more than once. You’ll find all sorts of fun onesies on the market — from your favorite animals to loveable characters like Pikachu, Lilo and Stitch, or Monsters, Inc.

It’s a great investment for the upcoming cold winter, and you won’t freeze all night in a flimsy Halloween costume.

Wrap Up

Dressing up for Halloween is fun but, like most holidays, it’s bad for the environment. 

Be eco-conscious this year, and choose to DIY one of the costume ideas above. You can easily turn yourself into Wednesday Addams, a black cat, or a ninja. You can even help raise awareness for real problems by wearing a climate change or greenwashing costume.

I hope my ideas for eco-friendly Halloween costumes have helped you choose a great last-minute option to celebrate sustainably. And if you want to help make the planet a better place, I have more eco-friendly tips for you.

Have fun and let me know how it turns out!

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