Green Halloween: How can I reuse or recycle Halloween masks?

With Halloween at the weekend, the shops are full masks and costumes at the moment.

To keep this blog reasonably rant free, I shalln’t go into my feelings for a) the sudden importing of Halloween as a large scale holiday and b) the rise of shop-bought fancy dress outfits and costumes (isn’t half the fun making it yourself and it being a laugh rather than perfect replica?). Whether I like it or not, Halloween is big business nowadays and that means that come next Monday morning, there will be a lot of masks facing brief visit to the dustbin on their way to landfill.

The cheapest sort are face-only flimsy plastic, held on with a thin piece of elastic. They’re seemingly intended for one time use before tearing at a weak spot. The more expensive specific-character ones are often latex or thicker plastic.

Of course, there is an obvious “reduce”: don’t buy them in the first place or keep it and use it again in the future – but people rarely go as the same thing year after year. But what about reuses or recycling ideas?

Has anyone remodelled an old mask to use for something else? I teach drama one evening a week and wanted some masks in the summer to use as a basis for making Japanese Noh masks – I didn’t need them in the end but having something already modelled around a face shape would have been useful then.

Or what about using them for moulds for something? I’m not sure the plastic of the cheap ones would be strong enough for repeated uses but you might be able to use them for something… any ideas?

I doubt many theatre groups would want the a raft load of horror masks unless they were doing a halloween spectacular – and they might be too scary/too adult for schools to want them – can anyone think of anywhere else that might need some en masse?

(Photo by creativedc)

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3 Responses to “Green Halloween: How can I reuse or recycle Halloween masks?”

  1. If the eye and mouth openings can be closed then after a clean they could be used as jelly moulds for a while (might amuse the kids). It is difficult to think of alternative uses.

  2. megan says:

    -a high school theatre class/troupe could use them.
    -the hard plastic ones could be used as molds like this:
    -or paper mache’d over for a different look.
    -or used for seasonal decorations like this weirdness:
    -the rubber over-the-head ones could be used for scarecrow heads
    -or cut up and made into separate disguise pieces (wig and eye+nose mask)
    -or cut up and spirit gummed on to look like zombie nastiness the next year
    -or used as a puppet

    either kind could be used in some creative crafty way. check out Filth Wizardry for inspiration:

  3. carol says:

    When the kids were little and became bored with summer, I got out the container with last years coustumes and they would play dress up. Looked kind of silly but they had fun. Sometimes we would dye Easter eggs and hunt for them in costume.
    Once in a while we would trade costumes with neighbors, but it is best to do that right after Halloween, so the kids forget by the next year.

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