Tips for a ‘green’ wallet in October

As October swoops in, we’re launching a new feature on how to spend your hard-earned dollars each month with the environment in mind. Each month we’ll focus on seasonal holidays, events and topics that require some spending on your part. We’ll offer tips on how to make the most environmentally friendly purchases. If you have suggestions for future months, leave us a comment!

One great example to show you what we mean is the growth of organic and local food options. Ten years ago, farmers markets and organic aisles in the grocery store were, for the most part, things of the imagination. But because consumers pushed for those options — and shopped where they were sold — both local and organic foods are widely available.

All that to say: Welcome to October. The month of Halloween.

The holiday affects all ages. If you’re in high school or college, you’re likely to find a costume party to attend. If you’re in your 20s or 30s without any munchkins, you may find yourself agonizing over whether to dress up. And if you have kids, you can bet you’re on costume duty to find (or create) the best get-up in town.

My brown fabric became a dress, while my college roommate repurposed a green dress to become an M&M.

Some of the best costumes I ever had (in my opinion, anyhow) were last-minute, cheap fixes:

  • A pair of black running spandex and a long-sleeved black T-shirt became a scuba diver after I borrowed some flippy-floppys and a scuba mask. (Yes, I know there is a real word for those. Flippers? Scuba shoes?)
  • Two or three yards of brown fabric, a beaded necklace and a feather became a Native American after a few minutes on a sewing machine and some safety pins.
  • A white sheet, gold trim and a braid in my hair became a Greek goddess after a few seams and some fabric glue.

Making something from materials you already have is (nearly) always going to be more Earth-friendly than buying a brand-new, pre-packaged costume.

But if you’re not a crafty sort of person, sitting down with three yards of fabric and a sewing machine may not be your cup of tea. So I give you: The thrift shop.

No, you’re not likely to find a Pink Power Ranger costume (my one true obsession as a 6-year-old) on the racks at Goodwill. But with a little imagination and maybe one or two additional accessories, you could be set. I was a firefighter one year thanks to Goodwill; my boyfriend at the time was country bumpkin. My college roommate was a flower child that year.

Early in the month is a good time to stop by your local thrift shop and spend a half-hour combing through the racks to see if you find any inspiration. A little planning ahead of time can help you avoid buying a premade costume that gets worn once and shoved in the closet (and eventually the landfill).

Check out these local thrift stores for ideas:

  • Goodwill: 1120 Roosevelt Ave., York, 846-5780; 535 S. Main St., Shrewsbury, 227-4775; 609 Lombard St., Red Lion, 244-2684; 1017 Baltimore St., Hanover, 637-0397
  • Junior League of York, 166 W. Market St., York, 843-7692
  • York Rescue Mission: 283 W. Market St., York, 845-7662
  • Family Clothes Tree, 4350 Bull Road, Dover Township, 292-5764
  • St. Mary’s Church thrift shop, 305 S. George St., York, 812-9999
  • Vintage JoAnn, www.vintagejoann.com

Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re planning on dressing up as!

Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.

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1 Response

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