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Sustainable Halloween outfit ideas from pieces in your closet are the cheapest because you already own them. However, these DIY Halloween costumes are the hardest to create. Next in line are DIY costumes that you plan to wear again and again, maybe with minimal alterations. Read how to identify which pieces and accessories to combine for an eco-friendly Halloween look for a party and/or trick-n-treating.


  1. What Halloween Costume Should I Wear?
  2. What to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Halloween Outfit?
  3. How to DIY a Halloween Costume
    • What to Wear Halloween: Sew an Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume
    • Where to Buy Halloween Costume Sewing Patterns?
  4. Which Halloween Costumes Can You Create by Adding Accessories?
    • Pirate
    • Ballerina
    • Cinderella
    • What to Wear Halloween: Motorcycle Biene
    • Mad Men 60s Secretary
    • Gold Rush Costume
    • Pretty Woman
  5. How to Make a Scary Halloween Costume?
  6. What Halloween Costumes Are All Black?
  7. What Halloween Costumes Are Offensive?
  8. Check Thrift Stores for Costumes and Refashioning
  9. DIY Halloween Costume Outfit Ideas
  10. Trick-and-Treating Warm Outfit Ideas for Alaska
    • Pilot Amelia Mary Earhart
  11. What Is Trending in Halloween Costumes 2022
  12. Where to Buy Halloween Costumes?


Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.


What Halloween Costume Should I Wear?

When you love Halloween, attend Halloween parties and dances, and participate in Trick-and-Treating, it is worth to create a costume to wear on repeat. It should have a great fit, a flattering color, and reflect – in an exaggerated way – who you are or a superpower you would like to have.

However, if you will wear it only for 4 hours because the invitation said “Halloween costume”, resist buying a cheap costume. Even 50% off is not a good deal because

  • Most cheap costumes are made from low quality fabric,
  • Are badly sewn together,
  • Look like the first piece of a seamstress in training, and
  • Are one-way Halloween costumes, i.e., they are bad from a sustainability point of view.


example of cheap one-way Halloween costume for adult woman
Vampire Halloween dress in velvet with mesh accents at the hem, fishnet tights, and L.K. Bennett pumps. This dress is a $20 costumes bought on sale. It has a Princess cut, which is rare for cheap Halloween costumes. I wore it for Halloween dances.



What to Consider When Creating a Sustainable Halloween Outfit?

When you are invited to a party make sure to inquire first whether it’s an indoor or outdoor party. After coming to Alaska, my first Halloween party was a bonfire in the scary cold.

If your intend is to wear the attire for Trick-and-Treating ensure that you wear clothing in fabric that provide good insulation. For instance, look for heavy wool, or fleece. Avoid cotton, linen, jeans. What’s underneath the clothes also makes a difference for thermal comfort. Wear long Jones or tights. Double up your socks to avoid cold feet.


How to DIY a Halloween Costume

My late mom never bought any costumes for us girls. Instead she made us to take a look at the various items in our closets to build a costume out of items we already owned. It is pretty easy when you ask yourself “what are the roots of this design” and then take your costume inspiration from there. You also could ask yourself what could it be with a slight (reversible) modification? As a kid I sew gold foils on a nightgown to be the Star Dollar of the fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers.


What to Wear Halloween: Sew an Eco-friendly Halloween Costume

To get the most wear out of the self-made costume, think carefully about your choice of the pattern. If there are occasions like Pioneer Days or a St. Patrick’s Day parade or something similar on an annual basis, the best Halloween costume is one for both like the Settler Costume with bonnet.



self-sewn Halloween costume
DIY 19th century Halloween costume that I sew myself.


It would work for a sit-down dinner party with a Halloween inspired theme, walking in an Pioneer Days parade, a party, and dancing.


Pro tip: When you have to wear regalia for graduation, sew a graduation gown from breathable fabric for Halloween. In the following years, you get thru the graduation ceremony in thermal comfort, and save on renting a gown.



Where to Buy Halloween Costume Sewing Patterns?


Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.


Which Halloween Costumes Can You Create by Adding Accessories

Now what if you are very last minute?


This gray blazer could make a great pirate costume by adding your (grand-)son’s plastic sword, wrapping a silk scarf around the head, and tights under a cotton capri. Bind the capri tight to the leg with a wide band. Alternatively, add riding boots.


riding jacket
Front view and details of military inspired blazer
Fit-And-Flare blazer as environmentally friendly pirate costume
This gray asymmetric fit-and-flare c/o Lookbook Store blazer would make a great jacket for a pirate costume when paired with the right accessories and a pirate hat. It could also serve as an historic officer costume.



If you own a mesh or tulle skirt, pair it with a leotard and ballet flats. Wearing your hair in a ballerina knot. If possible stay with pastels.


mesh skirt for posh chic senior Halloween costume
Nude net skirt c/o Lookbook Store styled with own gray sweater and gray belt plus pale pink patent leather sling back.


influecer Nicole twirling in a tutu with gingham shirt
Unbranded 7 layer skirt, ruby flower belt, Ivanka Trump nude ankle strap pumps, Hipstik pantyhose, garnet necklace and earrings, and long sleeve gingham shirt c/o Whistle River



Wear an evening gown to pretend to be Cinderella.


evening gown as eco-friendly Cinderella costume
Disney ballroom dance dress in green velvet with Swarovski crystals along the neck and front, green satin over-skirt and bow, and multi-layer white chiffon as Cinderella



What to Wear Halloween as Motorcycle Biene

Do you have long blonde locks, a motorcycle jacket, motorcycle boots, and black leather pants? Wear the pieces all together to be Mrs Beryl Swain for a night. In 1962, she was the first female TT rider, riding a 50cc Itom. She came in twenty second, and plowed the road. <3


Mad Men 60s Secretary

What about that sheath dress? Instead of wearing it the modern way like shown in the photo, go for the 1960s styling. Style your hair up in waves and go matchy-match on the jewelry (pearl earrings and a matching pearl necklace work best). Recall in the 1960s, you wore your bag and shoes in the same color. Think Mad Men.


fashion blogger in closet shopped Mad Man look
Ruby Belle plaid sheath, giraffe print sweater, Harley Davidson booties, grounded with black GNW tights, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Ray Ban sunglasses


Gold Rush Costume

blogger in 1890s inspired pioneer time women costume in white with vest makes an awesome Halloween costume
Gold Rush costume made out of a western style slip, with a peasant blouse under a corsage and a metallic belt with Double HH lace up booties, and a fake pony tail


Pretty Woman

Pretty woman inspired polka dot dress makes a sustainable Halloween outfit idea
Add white gloves and a white hat to your brown polka dot dress to create a sustainable Halloween outfit that looks like Vivian Wards at the polo game in the movie Pretty Woman.


How to Make a Scary Halloween Costume?

Use white makeup on your face, white gloves and a dark color pantsuit for a Dracula look. Change your eye color or inserting some spooky eyes lenses for cat eyes, and bloody eyes. Add fake fangs. Get a skeleton bodysuit , dress or T-shirt.

When your costume requires makeup take a look at my time saving Halloween makeup tips.


What Halloween Costumes Are All Black?

Everyone owns a couple of black clothes. Here are some all black sustainable Halloween outfit ideas you can shop from your closet.

  • Gothic Style costumes,
  • Steam-punker,
  • Biker gal: Leather pants, motorcycle jacket, graphic T-shirt, motorcycle boots, scarf tied as headband
  • Witch: Black T-shirt and black maxi skirt or black maxi dress, black loafers, make a cone hat from black thick paper, attach some cotton balls on the inside of the T-shirt or dress sleeves as bumps, use green eye-shadow on your face when doing the makeup, attach some whole all spice cut in half as moles on your face with eyelash glue, go for gray or dark burgundy lips, and broaden your eyebrows with eyebrow pencil, use a broken twig as a crane
  • Audrey Hepburn as dressed in Breakfast at Tiffany
  • Puss hangover: Black leggings with band attached as tail, black long-sleeve T-shirt, black beanie with black triangles sewn on as ears, paint on a cat face, pull on your boots
  • German coffee shop waitress: Black midi skirt, white shirt, white short apron, lace-up shoes



DIY Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume Outfit Ideas

  • Princess costume: Evening gown, or prom dress, costume jewelry and cut a tiara from gold foiled paper, round toe pumps, sash hold with brooch.
  • Hippie girl: Old partly ripped jeans, tie-dye shirt, floppy hat, wood beads necklace, long earrings, leather strappy sandals, fringe bag. See the Flower Power history for inspiration.
  • Fairy: Tulle skirt in pastel color, pastel color T-shirt, make a cone hat from thick pastel or white color paper, pin to hair, cut a star and clue it to a stick.
  • Fantasy hippie: Old oversize T-shirt, cut fringes in the hems of the shirt, pair with leggings or with the trendy fringe jeans.
  • Sheik costume: Two old white bed sheets, in one cut a whole for your head in the middle of the sheet, belt it tight, put the other on your head and secure with a rolled headband and bobby pins.
  • Saloon girl look: Black fishnets, short party or cocktail dress with ruffles, add faux flowers and feathers on an old straw hat, black velvet band with brooch as choker, lace-up booties with heels or Mary Janes
  • Flapper girl: H-cut slip, opera length pearl necklace, long dangling earrings, head band with brooch and feather. See the 1920s fashion history for inspiration.



What Halloween Costumes Are Offensive?

There is nothing wrong to recycle impulse buys of ethnic outfits that you loved when on vacation, but never had the nerve to wear it thereafter. However, you have to wear it respectfully, in an educational way. Use the attire to introduce others about the beautiful traditional clothing of the country you visited.

For instance, think of this cute Lederhosentürle skirt with a puff sleeve blouse (no low cleavage please) and (low) Heidi braids, white lace knee high socks and Mary Janes – a German little girl’s Sunday’s Best look.


High braids and large cleavage would take it into disrespectful, offensive territory.



recycled ethnic items as eco-friendly Halloween costume
Bavarian Hosentürle skirt, Carhartt gingham shirt, GNW tights, Aigner sandals, Fossil denim jacket. In the above Halloween outfit idea, a wool, lodden or felt traditional janker would be better than adding a denim jacket.




Check Thrift Stores for Costumes and Refashioning

Thrift stores often have cool pieces that combined or alone make a cool costume (see the dance hall look above). Ask yourself what could an item be beyond what it was made for. A beautiful gown makes an ever pretty Princess dress costume with a sash.


midlife woman in saloon dance clothes for Halloween
Saloon dance girl dress found at Value Village



Trick-and-Treating Warm Halloween Outfit Ideas for Alaska

When you need an outfit for trick-or-treating, make sure that you wear the right underwear underneath to not catch a cold. Also take a flash light with you so you won’t trip.

Michelin-man: Down-coat with hood up, thermal gloves, and thermal pants.

Cross-country skier or other winter sports uniforms: Just pin a number on your front and back.


Pilot Amelia Mary Earhart

sustainable Halloween outfit idea for trick-and-treating in Alaska
American aviation pioneer Amelia Mary Earhart inspired aviator look with shearling jacket, skirt and hat. Swap the heeled ducks for flats for Trick-and-Treating in Alaska.



What Is Trending in Halloween Costumes 2022

The following gallery shows what is currently trending in Halloween costumes. Maybe you can recreate the one or other with items from your closet or just order them.


Where to Buy Halloween Costumes?

3 Wishes has costumes beyond. Read my review of what 3 Wishes has in costumes.

Are you looking for a work appropriate Halloween costume idea?


Never worry again what to wear when. Just look it up in my style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.


Happy Halloween and celebrate responsibly. Have fun at your party, and designate a driver.


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Photos: G. Kramm

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