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When I was a little girl I may have been a pumpkin every year and my brother may have been ET for four years straight, but we were the most realistic interpretations of a pumpkin and ET going. My mom made those costumes by hand and she made us reuse them. Whether it was because she vowed to never go through the hassle of making new ones or because she didn't want to be wasteful, we wore those suckers out.

I'm not advocating forcing your child to be the same character every year for Halloween, but what I am saying is going to Wal-Mart to buy a prepackaged plastic costume is not only a meager excuse for a costume, it also produces a ton of unnecessary waste that will just end up in your local landfill. This year skip the convenience and think ahead of time for both your children and the planet.

Here are some tips to building a greener Halloween costume:

- Reuse those old fabrics. From sheets to pillow cases and costume clothing to last year's wardrobe, try and find another use for old fabric before going out to buy new fabric. And make the costumes yourself.

- Pick a simple design that's not super ornate and difficult to make. Enjoy those days when your baby still can't tell you what they want to be and when they can tell you, hope that they say a princess rather than Sponge Bob Square Pants.

- Hit a yard sale or thrift shop and build a costume based on creativity and availability.

- Paint your child's face with organic face painting pencils from Nuno Organic.

Also be sure to check out more hair-raising Halloween how-to's on How Stuff Works.