Halloween is just around the corner, and while it is most definitely one of our favorite holidays, it’s also one of the most environmentally harmful. The sheer volume of candy wrappers alone is crazy, not to mention the costumes, decor, and more.
To help support a more Eco-friendly and waste free Halloween, we’ve put together a list of green tips to help you reduce your waste and protect our planet during the festivities.
Choose healthy snacks
Rather than handing out the typical chocolate bars and chip bags, opt for healthy organic snacks! There are lots of delicious healthy snacks out there these days, so you don’t have to be the house on the block that’s handing out apples, while everyone else is giving out exciting treats. Our friend Kathryn at Going Zero Waste wrote a post sharing her favorite Eco-friendly Halloween treats, and it’s full of great tips and ideas.
You can also make your own candy to hand out like homemade lollipops, healthy cookies, date balls, and more. Handmade treats have the added bonus of having less waste than store-bought treats! Unfortunately, this option only really works if you personally know the people you’re handing out treats to- for safety reasons, most people will dispose of handmade, unwrapped treats. It’s a great option though for close-knit neighborhoods, school events, church groups, etc.
If you want to keep the sugary stuff away from your own kids, try the Switch Witch! This is an idea we heard from vegan blogger Ellen Fischer where kids can leave out their Halloween candy at night and the Switch Witch will swap out the candy for healthy treats.
Grab reusable bags
Rather than loading up your candy into plastic bags, grab some reusable bags. It may seem like a small switch, but with the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and environment these days, we need to do whatever we can to minimize our plastic use. Plus, there are millions of trick-or-treaters every year- imagine how much plastic we’d save if everyone used a cloth bag!
Try a costume swap (or make your own)
Originally, costumes were made from items around the home, but today we spend lots of money on new costumes that are often filled with plastics and dyes. Rather than shelling out every year for a costume you’re only going to wear once, organize a costume swap with some friends (or kids’ friends’ parents) and celebrate Halloween in a new-to-you costume.
Alternatively, make your own from clothing you already have and items around your home. An old bed sheet can be turned into an old-fashioned ghost costume- and it’ll also give you an excuse to replace it with a new set of SOL sheets. ;)
After Halloween, you can hold onto your costume for next year’s swap or donate it to a local school or theater company.
Why buy plastic pumpkins when you can use the real thing? Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year, and there’s no need to go out and buy plastic and artificial decorations when you can find even better items in your own backyard or farmer’s market. Pumpkins, fall leaves, crab apples, and corn cobs all make lovely and festive decorations. Gourds are another Halloween must have- they add the perfect festive feel to both indoor and outdoor decor.
Buying your decorations from local farmers and markets means that you’re not only reducing waste (and saving money) but you’re also supporting your local economy! It’s a totally win-win.
We also love the following DIY decor ideas from The Wilderness Society.
- Giant Spider: Use black trash bags for a giant tarantula (stuff with garden leaves--or newspapers but be sure to recycle the newspapers and trash bags when you’re done). How to here.
- Ghosts: Stuff old bed sheets with leaves or newspaper, tie with a string to form a head and hang from trees.
- Spiderwebs: Make with shredded black pantyhose or cotton balls, instead of the synthetic messy ones from the store. If you're extra crafty, and want a dramatic look, weave a web of yarn near your entryway. Just select organic cotton or other Eco-friendly yarns: Yarn web instructions.
Care2 also wrote a whole post on DIY Eco-friendly decorations. We especially love the mad scientist lab and mini pumpkin wreath!
Pumpkins aren’t just for decorating! Load up on fall produce at your local markets to enjoy some Halloween inspired meals. Roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, and of course, pumpkin pie are just a few ideas that come to mind. As an added bonus, eating local in season foods is one of the most environmentally friendly food choices you can make.
Hold onto those pumpkin seeds
Most often, we discard our pumpkins at the end of Halloween, but if you do that you’re missing out on a great snack! Scoop out the seeds and roast them for a delicious and healthy Halloween treat. Also make sure you compost the rest of the pumpkin instead of throwing it in the garbage.
Go for LED
Not all decor can be found in nature, and Halloween lights are one of the most popular decor items of the season. You can still make an Eco-friendly choice though by switching to LED lights- you’ll save energy and money on your power bill.
Have a green party
Halloween parties generally involve tons of plastic decorations, disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, and store bought (i.e. package heavy) treats. One party alone can result in bags full of trash!
Instead, keep your party as Eco-friendly as possible by decorating with the natural options we discussed earlier, using health store or homemade treats, and using your own plates and cutlery.
Take a Halloween Hike
In many places, October is one of the most beautiful times of the year, so why not celebrate Halloween with some outdoor activities that allow you to enjoy the fall colors. If you really want to make it festive, you can even wear your costume on your hike!
These are just a few ideas to help you celebrate a more Eco-friendly Halloween! We’re wishing you all a fun and safe holiday!