How to Host a Sustainable Halloween Costume Swap in 6 Easy Steps

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"A costume swap is a frighteningly good time! "

Who’s already getting excited for Halloween? As October inches closer, plans for spooky festivities with friends and family are already forming. You’ve probably even penciled in a visit to the pumpkin patch or a haunted house. But what about your Halloween costume?

Halloween is undoubtedly fun, but the waste from costumes adds up quickly. Past surveys have found 76% of Americans plan on buying their Halloween costumes. Because they’re typically only worn once, many wind up in landfills. Well, not this year. Instead of buying new, consider hosting a Halloween costume swap instead.

Just like making a DIY costume, taking part in a Halloween costume swap is a great way to celebrate Halloween sustainably. Aside from being great for your wallet and the environment, it’s also a fun way to celebrate the spooky season with friends!

If you’re interested in hosting your own Halloween costume swap, we’ve created a simple guide that will walk you through the process.

How to Host a Halloween Costume Swap

1. Set the Date

Did you know there’s a National Costume Swap Day? On the second Saturday in October (the 9th this year), people nationwide are encouraged to swap costumes with friends and family. Whether you decide to set the date on the holiday or a little earlier, it will give everyone plenty of time to finalize their costume plans.

2. Secure a Location

Location, location, location! This is a Halloween party, so making it feel like one with the right location is important. You can simply host at home, or pick a local park if you want to enjoy the fall weather. Wherever you choose, there are plenty of ways you can make it feel more festive. (More on that ahead!)

3. Establish Rules

What happens if everyone wants the same costume? Or if someone doesn’t have an old costume to contribute? To avoid last-minute chaos, create a set of rules for your swap. Establishing rules ensures everyone is prepared and on the same page about how the costume swap works.

Just like when hosting a regular clothing swap, stick with a “one brought, one swapped” rule. That ensures each person who brings an item will be able to take one home. If someone doesn’t have a costume to contribute but still wants to join in on the fun, tell them they’re more than welcome. There may even be a leftover costume for them to grab once the swap is complete.

How are you supposed to decide who goes first? To determine the order of choosing costumes, go with something simple like drawing names from a (witch) hat.

4. Decorate the Space

Whether you’re going for a bare-bones setup or want to go all out on decorations, make sure you leave plenty of time to complete the setup process before your guests arrive.

We recommend borrowing or creating some clothing racks to hang up costumes, or using tables to display the costumes and accessories. Also consider giving your guests a designated space to try on costumes with a full-length mirror.

5. Organize the Costumes

Once the costumes arrive, organize by size. You can separate the accessories from the clothes, or keep everything together. However you decide to organize, make sure everyone knows how the costumes are arranged so the swapping process runs smoothly.

6. Swap!

Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to swap costumes! Serve some festive drinks and put on your favorite Halloween music to get everyone in the Halloween spirit. If you have any leftover costumes at the end of the night, donate them.

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A costume swap is a frighteningly good time!

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