Dressing Up Without New Plastic

Timeless tapestry textiles – visitors to The Real Halloween

You don’t need to dress up to come to The Real Halloween but if you do, you will be contributing to the event.  Thanks in advance to all who do so!

This year we also have the first ever Real Halloween Fancy Dress Competition.

So how to look? 

Here are some photos from previous Real Halloweens that may give you some inspiration for dressing up without using new shop-bought plastic and assembling your own outfits at home.  It hardly goes without saying but charity shops are great place to build up or supplement your togs. 

In terms of ‘look’ most of these say ‘old and traditional’ and ‘autumn’ or ‘nature’, possibly witch-y or wizard-y or at least, not conventional Twenty-First Century.  We’ve included quite a few of our crew but many of the best are from members of the public visiting the Real Halloween. 

Some achieve their effect from the overall ‘ensemble’ put together with completely normal clothes but just of the right colours and patterns and textures.  Others make use of adornments like feathers, leaves and jewellery or even ‘stuffed animals’ and the odd bone.  Many make good use of hats, from the plain to the slightly insane.

Some are smart, some are ragamuffin (think ‘Victorian’ or Oliver Twist), some are tinker-like and quite a few of the men’s outfits combine white shirts and waistcoats.  Boots, gloves and hand-warmers, scarves, shawls and capes all make an appearance.  By and large being over-dressed is tricky.  Button rather than zips is another tip.  Leather and felt also feel ‘timeless’.   Boots are both practical and fitting to the occasion and often the weather and conditions underfoot.  Another option is the ‘circus’ look, or even sack-cloth (but avoid very itchy hessian).

Some of these probably are 100% plastic-free whereas quite a few have some old re-used plastic (eg fake fur).  From an environmental point of view, the big gain is to simply not to buy new plastic.   So avoid it altogether or re-use old plastic (even polyester costumes) rather than make the plastic problem worse by buying new, as once created there are huge problems in dealing with plastic (lots put into the ‘recycling’ ends up one way or the other as pollution).  On ‘green’ grounds, aim not to buy any new plastic.  Then the world is your wardrobe.


** Read about our new investigation into plastic waste generated from Halloween costumes here: The Scariest Thing About Halloween is Plastic **

Watch our new video on man-dressing for The Real Halloween: Be Like Dave

Some additional ideas:


Above: some hats

Above: use of feathers – and velvet and fur

Above: a natural look achieved with wool

Above: examples of embellishment – the “Pieces of Eight” philosophy – whatever that’s decorative which you find lying around

Above: some Top to Toe outfits.  These have a big impact but need not be complicated.  A prop helps of course. Note use of old umbrella in ‘bat wings’

Above: strategic use of old glasses (note they are just frames).  Useful also for attaching things to, such as feathers.

Above: Medieval look.  In this case mostly old curtains?  Plus scarf and cloth bag. Cabbage optional.

Above: the ever popular urchin or tinker style: key elements are waistcoats, belts and shirts. Work trousers fit.

Above: classic country tweeds

Above: ensembles

Above: retro modern stylish repurposed, and inspired by … ?

Above: use of ‘animals’ stuffed or otherwise

Above: use of leaves (sweet chestnut, oak and sycamore are good – as is ivy)

Above: circus style

Above: a large throw put to good use

Above: black for witchy

Above: black for wizardy plus a few personal effects. No beard ? Add one.

Above: neck-wear

Above: home-assembled piratey

Above: with face paint

Above: extra hair and fur

For an alternative to plastic glitter (all cheap glitter is plastic) – see the lustres sold at Lush. They use artificial mica which is a mineral and not plastic. (‘Biodegradable’ glitters are not all biodegradable and some still contain plastic).

Above: how to find an alternative to plastic glitter – artificial mica lustres on Lush cosmetics by searching ‘Synthetic fluorphlogopite’ under ‘products’  

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