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 makes me feel a bit conflicted.
According to the 2018 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).”
Additionally, most costumes are purchased and used only once before being discarded. Plus they are commonly made from non-recyclable synthetic materials.
So how do we do better while still having fun? Read below for a few eco-friendly Halloween ideas!
Eco Friendly 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! Do your best to avoid scented candles and opt for beeswax instead.
- GHOSTS – Use old white sheets and stuff the center with a bundle of leaves from the yard. Use a string to tie the “neck” and form the “head.” Tie these up to tree branches in the yard or in your home if you have high ceilings!
- YARN WEB – Use white, organic cotton yarn to create a cotton yarn spider web in or outside of your home.
- REUSABLE DECOR – If you do choose to invest in Halloween decor, try your best to avoid plastic items and opt for decor made from long lasting, natural materials that you can use over and over again in years to come!
REUSABLE HALLOWEEN DECOR IDEAS
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 – Instead of packaged candy, opt for handing out sustainable 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 little brother as a kid, they’ll do anything for a coin or two).
- DITCH THE PLASTIC PUMPKIN – Avoid purchasing a plastic pumpkin carrier. Instead, 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 store shopping. What better occasion to give it a try than Halloween? If you are having trouble finding the exact pieces you need in your local store, try searching on sites like Ebay for deals on accessories. 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 worth checking out. Plus 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, choose an organic face paint or make your own face paint.
Other ideas? Leave them in the comments!