For me, Halloween will always be synonymous with dressing up, decorating for parties with friends, and trick-or-treating. The tradition of meeting new neighbors and passing out treats to costumed kids is so much fun, but the overwhelming amount of waste associated with the holiday can also make me feel a little bit conflicted.
According to this year’s NRF Halloween consumer behavior survey, “…consumers plan to spend $3.2 billion on costumes (purchased by 68 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.7 billion on decorations (74 percent), $2.6 billion on candy (95 percent) and $400 million on greeting cards (35 percent).”
Unfortunately, those costumes are likely to be used only once before being discarded and Halloween decorations are commonly made from non-recyclable plastic materials.
So how do we do better while still having fun? Read below for a few eco-friendly Halloween ideas!
Eco Friendly Halloween Decorations
- PUMPKINS – Decorate with compostable items like pumpkins (bonus points if you roast the seeds and make a soup the day after). Here’s a simple pumpkin soup recipe that looks pretty tasty!
- PAPER – Using recyclable materials like paper can make an impact at a Halloween party. One year I decorated our apartment with black paper bats and was able to recycle all of them after we finished celebrating.
- CANDLES – Dim the lights and make things spooky with candlelight instead. Here’s a way to make DIY candles inside old glass jars, all you need is a slow cooker to try it!
- GHOSTS – Use old white sheets, stuff the center with a bundle of leaves from the yard, then tie with a string to form the “head.” Tie these up to tree branches in the yard or in your home if you have high ceilings! (source: The Wilderness Society)
- YARN WEB – Use white, organic cotton yarn to create a yarn spider web in or outside of your home.
Eco Friendly Treats
- RECYCLABLE CANDY PACKAGING – If you’re set on offering candy, choose options that come in cardboard/recyclable containers. Candies like Nerds, Dots, Jr. Mints, Milk Duds, and raisins are easy options to pass to trick or treaters!
- FRUIT – Before you automatically think “lameeee” as you read this idea, hear me out. I saw some hilarious and clever fruit treats like jack-o-lantern mandarin oranges or mini-ghost bananas (although probably best to save the peeled banana ghosts for a party platter). If you make it fun, then it feels less “lame” and frankly, just writing this made me start to crave a little jack-o-lantern mandarin myself!
- SMALL GIFTS – Here are a few options I know I would have been excited to choose from when I was a kid: mini paper puzzle/game books, tiny hemp bracelets, seed packets, polished rocks, crayons, sidewalk chalk, or just straight up money (I know from bribing my baby brother as a kid, they’ll do anything for a coin or two).
- DITCH THE PLASTIC PUMPKIN – Instead of carting around treats in a plastic pumpkin carrier, try stamping pumpkin shapes on a canvas re-usable bag or coloring an old, white pillow-case with vegetable dye.
Eco Friendly Costumes
- THRIFT – You already know how I feel about thrift stores shopping, and what better occasion to give it a try than Halloween? Check out this list of thrifted Halloween costumes for ideas.
- DIY – Use sustainably sourced and easily recycled materials (paper, cardboard, cotton, etc.) to make your own! I shared a few eco-friendly DIY Halloween costume ideas, and as a cute bonus, here is a video of Martha Stewart sewing a baby pumpkin costume out of a pillowcase.
- FACE PAINT – If your costume calls for it, try to choose an organic face paint or make your own face paint.
Other ideas? Leave them in the comments!
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