Halloween and dressing up as your favorite ghoul, superhero, or pop icon go together so well the two are inseparable, though that was not always the case. Before there were costumes and candy on October 31st, there was All Saint’s Day, known also as All Hallows or Hallowmas, on November 1st. While some rural areas celebrated this solemnly, in cities there were parades and parties commonly associated with Halloween today. The first recorded Halloween costumes were in Scotland in 1895, followed quickly by the first reported trick-or-treating, then called guising, in 1911 in Kingston, Ontario. These first Halloween costumes were mostly homemade using masks or makeup used to disguise children while they collected treats around their towns. Mass produced costumes as we know them today began in the 1930s when trick-or-treating had become widely popular in America.
Now, Halloween is an established industry coming in at 2nd behind Christmas as the largest commercial holiday. An estimated 148 million Americans will take part in Halloween celebrations this year and will spend $23.37 per person on a costume. Many of these will be store bought, but these come at a higher price than just the tag. Most costumes are made from petroleum-based vinyl and fabrics filled with dioxins and phthalates, both major pollutants that are harmful to human health as well as the environment. Modern masks made out of plastic or latex can also be filled with toxic chemicals that can harm children wearing them before they end up doing more damage in landfills.
For a greener and cheaper way to celebrate All Saint’s Eve this year, returning to homemade costumes is the best option. Going homemade makes for a fun and creative challenge that can be as simple and imaginative as you like. Classic children’s costumes like cardboard robots (that can be recycled in the morning) and sheet ghosts never go out of style, but there are endless possibilities from a vintage look from the back of the closet to a modern Lady Gaga made from the weirdest things you can find and some crazy face paint. Once your child has put together their unique and green costume, you can show off your work by participating in Moss Rock Festival and Alabama Baby and Child Magazine’s first “Green Halloween Costume Contest”.
To enter the contest, take a photo of your child wearing their creation, then email your photo to MRF@FindArtBirmingham.com. Also, please post your pic on Moss Rock Festival’s and Alabama Baby & Child’s Facebook pages. The winner will be announced October 30th via Facebook and will be featured in next year’s Alabama Baby & Child’s Fall issue. They will also receive a gift certificate for art supplies at Forstall Art Center, front row access to cool art workshops at the WonderKid Studios, plus VIP parking for mom and/or dad at the festival site – The Preserve, a classic American neighborhood in Hoover.
Click here to read more about the contest and how you can build your costume in Alabama Baby & Child’s Fall issue.
Check out the following links for costume inspiration and ways you can make your costume more earth friendly:
– Written by Sarah Hendley