The Top 10 Plastic Bag Costumes

Put That Excess Plastic to Use This Halloween
© farm1.static/flickr

Despite our transition to reusable shopping bags and the efforts of forward-thinking retailers and cities like San Francisco to ban plastic bags, plastic bags are still ubiquitous. They make up a significant portion of marine debris, where they kill sea turtles who mistake them for jellyfish and sperm whales and dolphins who mistake them for squid, according to the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy. In a landfill, these bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade, according to the site And Worldwatch Institute reports that each year Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags.

Chances are, you’ve got your own stash somewhere…maybe your deli lunch comes in a plastic bag, or you forgot your cloth bags on a few grocery trips, or you’ve simply accumulated them over the years and don’t want to throw the things out. This Halloween, you can spare the landfill more plastic and make an environmental—and fashion—statement with this collection of plastic bag costume ideas. And don’t forget to bring your reusable bag along to collect that candy!

Bag Lady: ©, Pirate: © farm4.static/flickr

1. Bag Lady: This is what a year’s worth of plastic bags looks like: Unintentionally scary!

2. Pirate: Proving that with excess plastic, and serious skills, you, too can make store-bought-costume-wearers feel horribly ashamed.

Jacket: ©, Cloud Skater: © moonshineink, Gang: © annevoil/flickr

3. An almost-wearable-outside-of-Halloween-jacket… yes you can!

4. Cloud on a Scooter: Adorable, and buoyant.

5. Recycling Gang: It’s more fun when you do it together!

Chicken?: © San Diego Coastkeeper, Blue Monster: © farm1.static/flickr, Wedding: ©

6. Chicken?: Yes, it’s a message about recycling—but add a beak, and it’s also an amazing chicken!

7. Monster Mash: At a carnival in Cotui (in the Antilles), a use of plastic bags that would make Jim Henson proud.

8. White Wedding: This is a real plastic bag wedding gown made by Judith Selby-Lang and her husband Richard Lang, for their wedding at Burning Man in 2004. But it has great potential for bride of Frankenstein, too…

Tutu: ©, Tougher Tutu: © 3.bp.blogspot

9. Tutu: Delicate, dainty and DIY.

10. Tougher Tutu: For the dancer with an edge.

BRITA BELLI is editor of E.

SOURCES: Ocean Conservancy on Marine Debris; Worldwatch Institute on Plastic Bags.