Halloween is a time for spooky fun and creative costumes, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of our planet. In Montclair and its neighboring towns, Halloween can be celebrated in an eco-friendly way that not only reduces waste but also showcases a unique style. With the help of Montclair local businesses like The Eclectic Chic Boutique and Connie’s Vintage Trunk, Halloween can be both a memorable and sustainable experience. Keep reading to learn how to have an eco-friendly Halloween in the Montclair area, including ideas for upcycled costumes and more.
There are a few local businesses in Montclair that are dedicated to sustainable shopping. One such establishment is The Eclectic Chic Boutique, situated at 547 Bloomfield Avenue, which has a range of handcrafted, distinctive, and sustainable products. The boutique owners stay mindful of products’ impact on the environment by using recyclable, compostable, and reusable materials in its products, DIY Kits, and even for shipments and gift wrapping. Customers are also welcome to participate in the shop’s craft parties which can be a fun way to create some DIY Halloween and fall decor. When planning for an eco-friendly Halloween celebration, consider shopping here for decorations, costumes, and accessories.
Now let’s talk about specific costume ideas. Connie’s Vintage Trunk is located at On Cue Costumes at 220 Bloomfield Avenue and specializes in vintage clothing which is recycled and upcycled over time. Much of the stock is used as costumes across the country for theaters, colleges, high schools, and middle schools. Choosing to shop at a place such as this one, is a step away from the traditional store-bought costumes and instead provides a creativity boost by customizing a costume from upcycled materials. Here are some ideas:
Retro Rock Star
This costume calls for vintage-inspired clothing and accessories which can be found at Connie’s Vintage Trunk. To transform into a rockstar from the ‘70s or ‘80s, go for a wild hairstyle, funky sunglasses, and a faux leather jacket. Bonus points for using old vinyl records as props which can be found at Almost Ready Records located on 537 Bloomfield Avenue.
This costume gives new life to old, worn-out clothing items by distressing and tearing them. Then add some fake blood (using eco-friendly red dye which can be found at the local Whole Foods Market at 701 Bloomfield Avenue) for a spooky zombie effect. This costume not only saves clothing from the landfill but also provides a creepy Halloween look.
Montclair is surrounded by beautiful parks and nature reserves. Inspiration can be drawn from local flora and fauna to create a costume, such as crafting a leafy fairy costume using fallen leaves and branches or transforming into a friendly woodland creature with earthy tones and upcycled faux fur. Supporting local shops and sustainable businesses like these contributes to a greener Halloween experience.
DIY Decorations from Recycled Materials
Decorating a home for Halloween can be just as eco-friendly as upcycling costumes. Opt for reusable items like cloth bags or wooden decorations that can be used year after year. Consider these sustainable decoration ideas:
Mason Jar Lanterns
Old glass jars can be collected and painted with spooky designs. Then place LED lights inside for a safe and eerie glow. Montclair has several thrift stores and antique shops where shoppers can find vintage glass jars. Shops like Salvation Army Thrift located at 13 Trinity Place and The Montclair Antique Center located at 34 Church Street are worth a visit.
Paper Bag Luminaries
Recycled paper bags can be decorated from any local grocery store with Halloween-themed cutouts and placed along a home walkway. Use battery-powered tea lights inside to create a magical path to the door.
Any fallen leaves, twigs, and pumpkins from local parks, nature reserves, and farmers markets in Montclair can be turned into Halloween decor. These elements not only look charming but are also biodegradable.
Green Treats + Party Favors
There is an endless selection of sustainable treats and party favors, such as organic candy, reusable treat bags, and DIY party favors. There are candies that are made from organic and ethically sourced ingredients as these options often come in eco-friendly packaging. Whole Foods Market is a well-known retailer of organic and natural products with a wide selection of organic snacks and treats. When things take a turn for the worse and the search for organic treats hits a dead end, turn to farmer’s markets as a solution. Around this time of year, locals can stroll around weekend farmer’s markets or year-round options, like Lucky’s Farmers Market at 645 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona or Montclair’s Farmers Market at 6 Walnut Street. These markets have a selection of locally sourced organic products and delightful treats.
In an eco-friendly twist on Halloween trick-or-treating traditions, instead of disposable plastic bags, provide reusable cloth bags for trick-or-treaters which can be found at any local shop in the area. To be more festive, decorate these bags with Halloween motifs for added fun. Party favors can be created with upcycled materials from local shops or even at home by making scented candles from leftover candle wax lying around the house.
See More: A Guide to Going Green in Hoboken
Costume Swaps + Donations
Something to keep in mind is the Jersey Cares Halloween Costume Drive in Livingston, a few towns over from Montclair. The drive accepts Halloween costumes, accessories, unused makeup, and even treat bags for donation. Donating and recycling old costumes help keep them out of landfills.
In recent years, Bradford Pancake Breakfast in Montclair, Montclair Library, and the local community organized costume swap events where people exchanged Halloween costumes from previous years, reducing the demand for new ones. This year, neighboring towns in Monmouth and Bergen County have similar events until mid-October. Costume swaps within the area are always something to keep an eye out for now and in future years. Maybe some intrepid MG readers will be inspired to organize their own local costume swaps by reading this article.
By choosing sustainable shopping options, crafting upcycled costumes, and embracing eco-friendly decorations and treats, you can have a green Halloween that leaves a positive impact on both the environment and the community.