This year in the UK consumers are set to spend £510 million on Halloween costumes, with 4 in 10 costumes only worn once. Our Halloween celebrations are resulting in a scary amount of clothing ending up in the bin, damaging bank balances and the environment.

As part of our drive to cut clothing waste, we're launching #SewSpooky, a campaign to encourage people to either pass on used costumes to others or to get creative and make their own costumes from existing clothing. In partnership with North London Waste Authority, Hubbub is hosting swap and craft events across all seven north London boroughs between 22 – 27 October, as well as sharing tips on how to make a DIY costume online. You can see what events are taking place and book free tickets here.

Halloween costumes

The campaign is launching at a time when Halloween is becoming ever more popular and commercialised. It is now the UK’s most celebrated event after Christmas and New Year’s Eve and dressing up for the occasion is on the rise. 33 million adults and children dressed up last year and this is projected to rise to 39 million in 2017.

Just over half of UK household have at least one person who dresses up for Halloween, rising to 70% for student households and 79% for families with children. Costumes also seem to be getting scarier, there were 2.7 million Donald Trump outfits being bought last year!

A survey commissioned by Hubbub discovered that on average each costume is worn twice and 4 in 10 only get one wear. Last year a shocking 14 million costumes were thrown in the bin, contributing to the 300 million tonnes of textiles that end up in landfill every year. Whilst much more were given to charity shops, these can also end up going to waste as many charities won’t resell costumes without original fire labels intact due to safety concerns over issues such as flammability.

Why it's time for #SewSpooky

The #SewSpooky campaign builds on Hubbub’s desire to use seasonal events to shine the light on the wider environmental and financial impact of changes in buying patterns. We know that we are walking a tightrope and could be viewed as dour killjoys, but we believe that it is possible to celebrate seasonal events in a less impactful manner.

Our survey discovered that whilst half of the people asked weren’t sure about using a costume that had been worn before by someone they didn’t know, 73% were happy with the idea of receiving a used costume from family or friends. If we can encourage this sharing it will save households money and bring people closer together.

What you can do

If you support the aims of #SewSpooky get involved by doing the following:

  1. Get creative and make your own costumes – ensuring they are safe and not flammable. Here are a few ways you can make a spooktacular costume with things typically found at home.
  2. Have a Halloween costume swap with your friends and family and bring last years’ costumes back from the dead.
  3. Come along to one of the Sew Spooky events. There will be Halloween costume swaps and craft workshops across north London boroughs. 
  4. Share a photo of your DIY costume online with #SewSpooky.

Happy Halloween.

These events had a photo booth from Showtime Photo Booth.