Halloween doesn’t only have to be black and orange… you can make it green too! Halloween is one of the best fall holidays; fun for kids, parents, grandparents and everyone in between. Dressing up in costumes, decorating your house, pumpkin carving, throwing parties, eating candy, and trick-or-treating are some of the greatest staples of Halloween. But just because a special occasion calls for fun, costumes and treats, doesn’t mean we can’t keep it eco-friendly and keep the planet in mind too. Here are some ways you can go plastic free and keep it green this Halloween.
- You can always make your own costumes to avoid plastic packaging from stores. This is a good way to recycling things you already have in your home like old t-shirts or craft materials. If you have to buy new materials to make it, try to use fabrics over plastic. You can also check out a thrift store before buying new.
- If you’re done with an old costume, consider selling it, donating it, or swapping it with someone else (for yourself or kids) before you throw it out.
- Re-wear the costume from last year, if you loved your costume so much that you would wear it again, why not wear it again! There’s also nothing wrong with making a costume your Halloween staple, so everyone knows you’re going to be an witch or your own made up super hero like “Super Mom” for Halloween.
- Value Village has a great selection of costumes pre-packaged for Halloween, which you can always get inspiration from, but try and look in the thrift section first to see if you can make anything out of the clothes or thrift items.
- Below are some DIY Halloween costume websites, with examples like making a broken umbrella into a pair of batwings!
- Try and skip the big inflatables or plastic tombstones or skeletons. You can make your own tombstones from wood or cardboard and paint them. If you really want skeletons, try making a paper mache version like this https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper_Mache_Skeletons/
- You can do just about everything with wood, paper, or cardboard instead of plastic, so before you buy those decorations, think… can I make this? Or, is there a better material I could buy this in?
- If you already have plastic decorations, get as much life out of them as you can. Try not to buy new decorations every year or throw the old ones away until you really can’t use them anymore.
- It’s easy enough to cut out bat shapes from construction paper, as well as ghosts and pumpkins. If you have kids, this is a good way to spend time and do some Halloween crafts with them too. You can also make bats out of egg cartons, make hanging ghosts out of bedsheets, and paint your used K-cups orange to put on Christmas lights with pumpkin faces drawn on them.
- Pumpkins are the best decorations, especially carved pumpkins. You can buy them locally from a pumpkin patch or farmers market (or even grow your own ahead of time), and then enjoy some quality time with family or friends to carve them into spooky designs! Pumpkin patches also normally have corn mazes and fun games to play too! Always remember to put your pumpkin in the compost after you’re done with it. You can also make a tasty treat by roasting the seeds!
- If you want you can also buy sugar pumpkins, which you can use for pies or soups after you’re done using them for decoration.
- Skip the plastic plates, cups, and cutlery. Either use what you have at home, or try for an eco-friendlier option than plastic like First Choice EcoNaturals. You get 25% off your first order when you enter your email, all of their supplies are made from wood or paper and are biodegradable, and they have FREE Expedited 2-3 Day Shipping for Orders $10 or more. They have wooden cutlery, paper plates, paper cups, paper straws, and more. If you’re not interested in that, at least try for paper cups, and skip the straw!!
- Another option is to try and plan around the plastic. You can buy paper plates and paper cups, then try to cook finger foods so that plastic cutlery isn’t even needed. If you have specific guests coming, try to write their names on the cups so that it encourages them to only use one by refilling it when their done, or have a marker near the cups and encourage guests to write their own names.
- Some finger food options include pigs in a blanket (or mummies!!), nacho dip, and small sandwiches, as well as brownies or cookies for dessert. You can always get creative and decorate to make them look more scary or Halloween themed.
- If you want to have bowls of candy, head to Bulk Barn and take advantage of their Reusable Container Program. Bring your own clean, empty containers to Bulk Barn and fill them with treats to skip the plastic bags!
- If you want to have games at your party, try bobbing for apples, decorated tin can bowling, or pin the paper hat on the witch (made from paper or cardboard)! You can also create a couple of “feel boxes” where something such as cooked spaghetti noodles or peeled grapes are behind or under a box, and each person has to guess what is inside without looking, only touching. You can make just about any game you find online plastic and waste free!
- If you’re going to a Halloween party, and are worried about your host not being as eco-friendly as you’d like, you can prepare beforehand so that you can continue to be plastic free. If you know the host well enough, you can even suggest some of these options to them so that they can have a green Halloween party. If not, you can bring your own cutlery, as mentioned in our previous blog post. If you’re worried about plastic cups, bring your own glass or ask the host for a glass instead of a plastic cup. You can also bring your own drinks in cans or bottles too.
Candy and Snack Wrappers
- For snack and candy wrappers, Terracycle has a program where you can buy a box (that already has a return shipping label), to fill up with snack and candy wrappers for Halloween. Once its full, you can send it back to Terracycle and they will recycle all of the wrappers that you would have otherwise thrown in the garbage. This option is not super wallet-friendly, so going in with a couple friends or family members, or even your street or neighbourhood would be a good idea.
- This would also be an amazing option for schools; encouraging kids to put their candy and snack wrappers in the special Terracycle boxes by having a contest within the school where the classroom or grade that collects the most candy wrappers has a pizza party or get a prize.
- If you haven’t heard of Terracycle, they are a company that recycles typically non-recyclable waste. Click here if you want to learn more.
- Candy in cardboard boxes
- Smarties, Nerds, Junior Mints, Dots, Mike and Ikes, Milk Duds all come in cardboard boxes, which can be recycled.
- You can get 30 boxes of Smarties (Scaries) for $5 at Walmart.
- If you’d like you can also add notes to the boxes sending reminders that you can recycle your cardboard candy boxes.
- Bulk candy in paper bags
- You can head over to Bulk Barn and fill up on candy in your reusable container. Then you can fill them in small paper bags to hand out. You also might want to include a note explaining the purpose of the packaging, as some parents stay away from “homemade” treats on Halloween.
- Canned soda
- This can get a little expensive, but all the kids will love trick-or-treating at your house. A 12-pack of soda in a cardboard box is around $5 from Zehrs. If you choose this option, try not to buy soda in plastic six pack rings, or in plastic shrink wrap packaging.
- Options other than candy
- You don’t always have to hand out candy on Halloween, but if you choose a non-candy option, try and make sure it’s something the kids could actually use or will enjoy so they don’t end up just throwing it away. Pencils or erasers for school, seed packets or seed paper, activity sheets like colouring or word searches, money (nickels, dimes, or quarters), or crayons are all viable options.
- If you have kids or grandkids that go trick-or-treating, try to avoid the plastic pumpkins for collecting treats in. You can buy pumpkin bags made out of material like felt or you can use a pillow case, reusable bag, or decorate your own! Whether the trick-or-treaters have a fancy pumpkin basket to collect candy in or not, they’re still getting the candy.
- A friendly tip for everyone handing out candy this Halloween – give all kids some candy with a smile and always, always be kind.