Looking to have a low-waste Halloween? Here are a few of my favorite tips to reduce waste during the spooky season. From zero-waste candy to low impact (and easy) costume ideas, you can have your most sustainable Halloween yet!
Shop thrift stores or swap with friends instead of buying new costumes. You can turn trash into treasure going the DIY route. This year, we’re turning some old rags into a mummy and a torn bedsheet into a ghost. Last year my daughter turned a few cardboard boxes from the recycling bin into a fabulous robot. With a little imagination, just about anything can have a second life on Halloween!
Candy & Treats
Let’s be sure we understand the assignment here. Having a low-waste Halloween doesn’t mean we give out carrots from the farmer’s market. There are lots of options for plastic-free candy and snacks. Many grocery stores and candy shops sell bulk unwrapped candy. This is a great way to fill a candy buffet full of treats at home. However, unwrapped candy given to Trick-or-Treaters is likely to end up in the trash. For treats to give out on Halloween night, look for chocolates wrapped in recyclable foil. Lots of candies and dried fruits also come in paper boxes. Even small cans of soda can provide some liquid refreshment for weary kids (and parents) making the rounds. What about all the wrappers you do end up with? Americans buy 600 million pounds of candy every Halloween. That’s a lot of trash! Many shops (like our friends at The Refill Market in NJ) and schools have “Trick or Trash” boxes for collection this year. Just drop off your empty wrappers for recycling at a store near you where they’ll be given a second life as pet waste bags.
We re-use decorations from year to year. As a kid I always looked forward to Mr. Pumpkin Head coming out in early October and my kids have their own favorites now too. Real pumpkins and squashes make for beautiful and decorative centerpieces with the added benefit that you can eat them. Cooked into soups, muffins or casseroles and cakes, the possibilities are endless.
If carve pumpkins, roast the seeds for a tasty treat. Be sure to save a few seeds to jump start your garden next year. Any remains after the holiday can go in the compost to add nutrients in next year’s garden. If you can’t compost, look for local farms to take your carved pumpkins as livestock feed.
Looking to be the scariest house on the block? Scarves or fabric can add mystery when hung from tree branches outside your home. Old clothes can be stuffed and fashioned into a headless body to greet guests by the door. DIY cardboard tombstones are an easy Halloween activity for kids of all ages and will set a somber mood in your yard.
When the holiday is over don’t forget some self-care. Relax with a calming bath and your favorite shampoo bars and conditioner bars from Green Ablutions!