Eleven Creative Costume & Décor Ideas for a Sustainable Halloween

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In past years, Americans have spent about $350 million on Halloween costumes . . . and that’s just for their pets! The cost for Halloween costumes, decorations, candy, pumpkins, fake blood, etc., can add up to a scary amount of money.

But you can still have a terrific Halloween while being kind to your wallet and the planet by doing it yourself with cardboard. Cardboard is the perfect material for creative minds and makers of all ages. Best of all you can recycle paper products up to 7 times! Let’s check off a few cardboard ideas before the 31st:

1. Creepy Eyes – Cut out a pair of horizontal slits in a toilet paper roll and illuminate the inside with a light stick. Viola! Instant creepy eyes that you can hide in the bushes near your front door.

2. Spooky Silhouettes – Trace out some scary profiles from flattened cardboard boxes and then put them in your upstairs windows to make a crazy aunt in the attic.

3. Boarded Windows – Take strips of cardboard the size of wooden planks and paint them in a wood grain pattern. Keep the ends jagged and attach them crisscrossed over your windows to get that abandoned house look. Goes great with the silhouettes above.

4. Caution Signs – Create homemade “Keep Out” signs on a cardboard panel. Attach the panel to a stake and drive it into your front lawn as a warning to trespassers.

5. Laundry Room Costume – Turn your kids into a cute washer/dryer combo with a square box, white paint and some stickers.

6. Lego Piece – Use a rectangular box and paint it red with eight overturned red Solo cups glued on it in two rows. This makes a surprisingly convincing cardboard Lego brick. Don’t forget to cut the armholes close to the top.

7. Rubik’s Cube – Paint a large square box black and cover each side with nine square sheets of construction paper in various combinations of white, green, blue, red, yellow and orange.

8. UP Balloon Costume – Find a square box and decorate it to look like a basket that you can wear around your waist. Add a framework over your head along with two dozen colorful balloons suspended above just like in the kid’s movie.

9. Robot – Boxes come in so many shapes and sizes. This one requires one large rectangle for the body, four long cylinders for arms and legs, four smallish rectangles for hands and feet, and a head-sized square for up top. Spray-paint the whole thing silver for the look of real titanium.

10. Blue Crayon – Roll a large piece of blue construction paper into a tube you can fit in, affix suspenders with velcro, put a Styrofoam cone inside a blue woolen watch cap and put it on your head. This works best with a group of friends of various colors.

11. Tipping Boxes – Get four identical shipping boxes and glue three of them together in a tower, but leave the top one unattached. Attach a bungee cord to the top box that runs the length of the tower. Carry the stack erratically and just as the top box looks like it’s about to topple, pull the cord to snap it back into place.

The best part of these ideas? They’re all recyclable on November 1st.