Did you know that this year the US spent around $3.4 billion on Halloween costumes that were worn for one night?* Let’s make them last longer (and pollute less).
*According to the nonprofit organization Fashion Revolution
Costumes are often made of inexpensive materials, like acetate or acrylic, and feature basic structure and stitching that are designed for one-time wear. So what happens when you find a great costume that deserves some extra mileage in future years? Carefully cleaning and storing your costume will ensure it can be re-used for the next spooky party. My daughter complained to me that I wore the same unicorn onesie this year, as I have done the past four Halloweens. It didn’t bother me: I love that costume because it has lasted me that long, and I feel proud of saying I keep it in good shape with simple techniques for cleaning and storage.
The experts of Rinse.com have great ideas and considerations about how to make Halloween and other parties’ costumes stay ready to being reused in the following occasion.
Check your costume’s label for recommended washing instructions. If your costume is made out of cotton, polyester, acrylic or nylon, and doesn’t have special embellishments, it can likely be machine washed in cold water on the delicate cycle.
Costumes made of tulle or spandex can be gently hand-washed at home, even if they have sequins or plastic attachments. However, careful consideration must be taken when you’re cleaning these items yourself.
- Flip the costume inside out before placing it in cold water with a gentle laundry detergent.
- Knead the material in the water for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Gently squeeze the costume to remove excess water, but take care not to wring it, which can weaken the stitching.
Costumes labeled as “dry clean only”—especially with special embellishments or trims made of fur, leather, suede or feathers—should be taken to a professional, who will be equipped to provide a thorough cleaning.
Dry and iron
Avoid the dryer, which can shrink a costume made of inexpensive fabrics (like acetate and polyester) by up to two sizes or ruin the material altogether. The dryer can also loosen the elasticity in spandex or nylon. Most costumes should be hung to dry, but ones with a distinct structure should be laid flat to dry in order to preserve their shapes.
If you need to remove any wrinkles, iron on the lowest heat setting. High heat can damage fabrics like acrylic, rayon, and polyester. Always keep the iron moving so that you avoid overheating and ruining the fabric
Next season storage.
To ensure that your favorite Halloween or character costume looks just as good the next time it will be used again, be extra diligent about storing it properly.
- Delicate costumes with attachments or different parts should be hung so the material doesn’t stretch. Place them in a plastic garment bag and store in the closet until next year.
- If your costume is made of a durable material, fold it carefully and store it in a sealed freezer bag to keep dust and mold out.
- Costume accessories like broomsticks or wands should be wrapped in bubble wrap and kept safely in a box.
- Stuff hats with paper to maintain their shape.
- Place wigs on a styrofoam wig stand and keep them tucked in a sealed bag or box.
Next year, make yourself and your kids eager for reusing something lurking in the back of your wardrobe next year. Better if that something has been stored in a proper way. Or have a rummage in the charity shops for a costume that’s had a previous life. Or do a costume swap with a friend. Just make sure of cleaning and store them as suggested.