Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Rethink disposable fashion for Halloween

Hope Gullatt

Although West Campus’ Halloween celebration — known as “Halloweekend” — only lasts for a couple of nights, the preparation for blowout parties starts weeks in advance. Students scramble to create unique and stylish Halloween costumes, buying pieces through online stores like Amazon. However, these costumes usually end up rotting in the back of their closets, never worn again, creating a disposable culture around dressing up.

While we buy costumes for relatively cheap, the environment and workers who manufacture these items pay an extensive price for single-use wear. Because of the unseen repercussions of purchasing a disposable item, students should consider thrifting or reusing Halloween costumes.

“Nowadays, consumerism has become a ‘buy now, wear now’ (trend),” textiles and apparel senior Taryn Lam said. “Through social media, it’s so easy to see something you like and just hit ‘order now.’”

When living comfortably in a high-cost city like Austin and attending a high-ranked university, this mindset can separate students from the reality of the textile industry. 

While we may view t-shirts as cheap and easy costumes for one night, the amount of water used to make a single cotton shirt equates to almost three years of drinking water for an adult. Similarly, our sparkle skirts, jerseys and other costume pieces can consist of polyester and plastic materials that expose factory workers to harmful chemicals and pollute the ocean

Prioritizing sustainable fashion during Halloween also creates new opportunities to revel in the spooky spirit. On Guadalupe Street and 29th Street, friends can visit thrift stores and sift through clothing racks together, laughing at outdated designs or admiring unique pieces that would leave other partygoers in awe.

“We have a lot of students that will come in groups of five to 10 to pick out their costumes for different events, holidays or frat parties,” said Ashley Cooper, the manager of Flamingos Vintage Pound. “It’s a fun atmosphere and bonding activity.”

Thrifting requires creativity, but thrift stores typically curate racks around Halloween to help patrons find cheap and sustainable costumes.

“I would go to the thrift stores to buy a headband or sunglasses to complete a look but the base can totally be done in your closet,” Lam said. “Last year I was Kirby from Super Smash Brothers. I just wore a pink dress, red boots and a little pink hat that had Kirby’s face on it.”

Combining one’s current closet with thrift store finds can further enhance a Halloween costume since you already know that you will reuse those pieces. The excitement of adding to your closet can even extend past Oct. 31, and the chunky jewelry or fun shoes you bought could diversify your current style.

By contemplating the environmental and ethical costs of Halloween, we can reshape our mindset of considering single-use costumes as disposable.

Eades is a Plan II and journalism sophomore from Dallas, Texas.

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