6 tips for an easy & fun Eco Friendly Halloween
Ideas for a more Eco Friendly Halloween celebration
It’s the time of year for spooky fun! Halloween is almost here, and many people love this celebration. Creepy decorations, catching up with friends in your community, and of course sweets – kids and grown ups can get into the spirit of Halloween.
It can also be a wasteful time of year though. Halloween has been commercialized to become yet another special occasion where we are encouraged to buy more stuff that we don’t need. You could end up a lot of waste, from cheap and disposable costumes and decorations, and plastic sweet wrappers.
But, there are ways to enjoy a more eco friendly Halloween, that’s not so damaging to the planet, and still have fun.
Here are some tips for a more sustainable Halloween, to enjoy with your community this October 31st.
Tips for an Eco Friendly Halloween
A good place to start for an eco friendly Halloween is to reuse as many spooky themed items as you can from previous years. If you use Halloween items from last year, you won’t need to buy new ones. Similar to Christmas decorations, keep a Halloween box in your loft or garage to store things away for use year after year.
Make your own costumes! Here are some ideas for eco friendly Halloween outfits:
- Keep old clothing that could be used as a base for a costume – items like black t-shirts, leggings and shorts can be transformed into all kinds of costumes.
- Search online for homemade costume inspiration. Pinterest is especially good for this.
- Many kids love crafts – let their creativity flow with making costumes. Making masks and headwear is pretty easy for most age groups, with a little help.
- If you don’t have what you need at home, shop at thrift stores / op shops and online marketplaces, instead of buying brand new.
Reuse decorations from previous years – dusty is all part of the Halloween vibe, right? You can also make decorations from saved materials, or from gathered natural materials. How about these ideas:
- Collect up arts and crafts supplies during the year that have a ‘Halloween’ theme, so you can bring them all out in October,
- Turn cardboard boxes into costumes or tombstones,
- Use laddered tights / stockings to make spider webs,
- Use oranges as miniature pumpkins – you can draw on a creepy Jack-o-lantern face in black pen, or carve an orange and pop a tea light inside for a cute pumpkin lantern,
- Glass jars and tins from your recycling can be upcycled into creepy decorations – check out this link for upcycled eco friendly Halloween decoration ideas.
Sweets and Treats
Every child wants a decent bag to collect all the sweets / candy and goodies in at Halloween! You can reuse items from around the house as goodie bag, such as buckets, pillowcases, or reusable shopping bags. Last year, my kids decorated paper grocery bags with Halloween drawings, they turned out pretty well (see photo below).
Sweets and treat food
It’s hard to avoid the plastic packaging that comes with sweets and treat food like potato chips. These are a few ideas for how to minimize the environmental impact of Halloween goodies, and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
- Buy locally produced foods such as sweets and treats. At least they haven’t been shipped from some other part of the world, which reduces food miles.
- Find products with minimal packaging, or are wrapped in easily recyclable packaging like paper or cardboard.
- If you can’t avoid plastic packaging, save it up for sorting and recycling.
- See if you can buy chocolate or sweets that are produced ethically and sustainably, for example, Fair Trade products.
For your friends and family, you could give out baking or homemade sweets. However, this might not be appropriate for people you don’t know well, due to food safety concerns or food allergy / intolerances.
Pumpkins aren’t in season here in New Zealand in October. Down-under, we are coming into summer rather than winter, unlike the Northern Hemisphere where the tradition of Halloween originated.
You can get some pumpkins from supermarkets at the moment, but they are not the same type as the orange pumpkin that we associate with Halloween.
Still, if you do want to carve a pumpkin, you could buy one from a local farm or market. Or if you plan ahead, you can grow some at home and store them away in a cool dry place for Halloween (this takes a bit of preplanning!)
If you do have a pumpkin, use the scooped out pumpkin flesh to roast or make into soup – try this slow cooker pumpkin soup recipe. Or try any of these pumpkin recipes from Love Food Hate Waste. The pumpkin hummmus is particularly delicious!
Walk or bike when Trick or Treating
If your neighbourhood welcomes Treat-or-Treaters on Halloween, choose a more sustainable way to travel around, instead of using the car for short trips. Walking, biking, scootering are great ways to get about, and reduce your carbon emissions.
Walking around the streets and houses is a fun way to get to meet your neighbours, and spend time with family and friends.
Compost and recycle
Where you can, sort out any waste for composting or recycling, before throwing anything in the rubbish bin.
Organic items like food leftovers can be given to chickens, pigs, worm bins, or composted.
Items or packaging made from cardboard or paper, glass, aluminum and some types of plastics can be recycled – check your local councils website to confirm what you can recycle in your area.
More waste free ideas for a Green Halloween
Try these activities for an eco friendly Halloween:
- Tell ghost stories
- Watch scary horror films (age appropriate ones, so you don’t totally freak out the kids!)
- Go to a spooky attraction like a Haunted House, Corn Maze or Escape Room.
Alternatives to Halloween
It is thought that Halloween originated from Pagan and Celtic traditions in Scotland, Ireland and England. Over the years, the celebration has become more widespread, particularly in the USA since the 19th Century.
Some people are not so keen on the supernatural aspects of the occasion, and there are alternatives such as ‘Light Parties’ organized by churches. These parties celebrate similar themes of community and fun, so could also use many of the same ideas above to help reduce waste.
What are your eco friendly Halloween tips and tricks?
Please share in the comments, and ‘Happy Halloween’!