Resource Use

Revive your costumes this Halloween and save them from a frightful end

Dressing up for Halloween has moved on from re-using holey bed sheets – it’s now a (haunted) cottage industry. Last year the UK spent £510 million on costumes and ended up throwing some seven million outfits in the bin.

To tackle the problem the environmental charity Hubbub today launched its #SewSpooky campaign to bring old costumes back from the dead – aiming to save some of the 300,000 tonnes of clothes that get sent to landfill every year.

Revive your costumes this Halloween and save them from a frightful end
The Hubbub campaign includes suggestions for thrifty and environmentally friendly costume ideas

Hubbub is an environmental charity known for running inventive campaigns to change consumer behaviour on fashion, food, homes, and neighbourhoods; winning over hearts and minds with inspiring single-issue campaigns that everybody can see positive results from.

Heather Poore, Co-Founder of Hubbub, which has partnered with the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) for the campaign, said: “It truly is a Halloween horror to see the amount of costumes that are only worn once before ending in landfill, when it’s so easy to save used costumes from a nasty end and pass them on to friends and family.  Our Sew Spooky campaign also includes lots of quick and easy ideas for spook-tacular costumes that a child could make, which can make for a fun half-term activity.”

As well as free video tutorials with costume ideas, the campaign is encouraging halloween costume swaps with friends and family, and hosting a series of events across venues in North London to design and make costumes from old clothes.

The charity had success with its PumpkinRescue campaign last halloween, encouraging people to make the most of their Halloween gourds and use the goodness inside for post-Halloween meals, and it made headlines over the summer with its TrashConverter van in the Forest of Dean which exchanged food and drinks for collected litter.  

A survey of 3,000 people commissioned by Hubbub found that over half of UK households have at least one person who dresses up but that, on average, Halloween costumes are worn only twice and 4 in 10 (37 per cent). The initiative also hopes to save families and party-goers money, with the average costume totalling £15.56.

NLWA has funded the costume making workshops across venues in North London between 22 and 27 October.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of North London Waste Authority (NLWA), said: “People love to join in and get dressed up for Halloween but with so many outfits being worn for only one day, it creates a terrible amount of textile waste. The Sew Spooky campaign will demonstrate to people how easy it is to pass costumes on friends or family to use again and it provides some fantastic opportunities to learn how to make their own costumes.”

Adults and children can expect to swap last year’s costume or learn how to turn old clothes into something spooky at the events, with attendees only needing to book tickets for free online.