Halloween is, together probably with Christmas, that holiday we all loved as children. It must have been the chance to dress as our heroes or as the spookiest thing we could imagine, or maybe all those free treats and that feeling of feeling super brave to be adventuring in haunted gardens to knock at strangers’ doors.
Back then our parents were probably quite happy to do a quick run at the local store to grab a costume, some decorations and candies. Then dress us up, give us a plastic pumpkin shaped basket for collecting treats and drive us around for one evening.
But now we know that Halloween, as every celebrations, is also a threat to our attempts to live a more sustainable, plastic free and low waste life. If it’s already not super easy in our everyday life, it certainly becomes more complicated when we attempt to recreate that festive atmosphere we loved as kids.
We put together some ideas on where to start and, because we are not that artsy ourselves, some links too to amazing blogs that show you how to make some sustainable Halloween decorations and treats.
- MAKE YOUR OWN HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS
Look in your house for items that you can repurpose to recreate a spooky atmosphere in your house and/or garden.
These could be:
- A CARVED PUMPKIN picked from a local farm, market or pumpkin patch to reduce your footprint. Remember to not let the inside go to waste but reuse it to make pumpkin gnocchi, soup or a pumpkin pie. Once it’s time to remove your pumpkin from your porch, remember to cut it into pieces and dispose it correctly in your compost bin or, if you don’t have a compost bin, leave it in a sunny spot in your garden and cover it up with leaves to speed up the composting process.
- YARN SPIDERWEBS made out of wool instead of those polyester spiderwebs that will never decompose. Here the link to how to make them. Another idea for more sustainable spiderwebs is to use old black pantyhose that have a run in them.
- TIN CAN LUMINARIES, to reuse older beans cans and which can be recycled afterwards. Drill some holes, repaint them and place a candle inside for a super festive effect.
- MILK JUGS SKELETONS made out of several 2L milk plastic bottles, each of them cut following a specific template (that you’ll find here) to recreate full size skeletons to hang in your porch or front garden. We admit that this idea requires super craft skills!
- TOILET PAPER ROLL BATS which will look super cute hanged around your house. You’ll just need some paint, paper and scissors (here are the instructions, we prefer to skip the googly eyes and just use some white paint instead)
- BABY GHOSTS GARLAND made with scraps of old bed sheets. Fill the centre of each scrap (approx. 40cm) with some extra fabric, tie it with some jute to create the head and draw the eyes with a black pen. Wrap a long string around each ghosts’ head, keeping them at the same distance between each other and you’ll have a super cute garland of baby ghosts!
- PAPER BATS drawn on any piece of paper you have, coloured in black and hanged on your windows.
- MAKE YOUR OWN NON-TOXIC FACE PAINT
Store bought face paint almost always contain toxic ingredients, such as lead, nickel or chromium that could put your kids (or yourself) at risk. Making your own natural face paint might be a bit of extra work but it wouldn’t make sense to use natural skin care all year round and then use commercial paint on your face, right? Choose your colour and follow these directions, you’ll only need 4 ingredients!
- MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUME
You don’t necessarily need to know how to hold a needle to be able to create an amazing Halloween costume! Creating your own costume will be so much more fun for you and your family and every time you’ll look at the pictures you’ll actually remember all the hilarious moments you had together (rather than a stressful run at a party store). The plus? You won’t contribute to clothing or soft plastic waste (which these costumes come wrapped with) and you’ll be sure your costume will be unique and there won’t be another twin spooky creature around 😉
Over 12 million pounds of textile waste are generated each year in the U.S., and 85% of Halloween costumes end up in landfills eventually. If you still want to buy one, make sure to donate it afterwards to a charity organisation.
If you are looking at adult costumes, the easiest way is to probably search your local thrift store for second-hand items that will help you recreating the look you have chosen. There are some super fun ideas such as Mary Poppins, bandits, Princess Leia and even a DIY Pineapple! Check here for more ideas for adult costumes.
If what you need are some ideas for kids costume, this blog will help you out with 11 easy No Sew Costumes (Spoiler: expect to find mummies, Batman and mini skeletons…)
- MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHY TREATS (or find plastic free alternatives)
All those tiny candies’ plastic wrappers are probably one of the worst wastes produced during Halloween. Most of them will not be disposed correctly and will end up in the landfill practically forever. Not to mention that, if you want your kids to not end up at a dentist with cavities caused by so much sugar intake, you’ll probably want to look at some healthier and more eco-friendly alternatives.
If you want to make your own treats, you could try these recipes below (good all year round, not for Halloween only!). If you want to prepare mini mixed lollies bags in advance, you can use some paper bags or even cut some old bed linen into small circles, put some candies in the middle and close them with some colourful ribbons.
- Sour candy frozen grapes
- Gummy candies
- Homemade jellies squares
- Halloween chocolate lollipops
- Caramel Apples
- Spooky shaped homemade cookies, decorated with some icing and sprinkles
If you don’t have time to make your own treats, you can buy some that would still limit the amount of soft plastic waste, such as:
- Candies sold in paper boxes
- Boxed dry food or nuts such snack size portions of raisins
- Bulk packs of lollies that you can portion in individual cloth or cardboard goodie boxes
- Chocolate squares
With so many food allergies recently on the rising, a good idea is to include some non-edible gifts, such as:
- Crayons (non toxic), pencils, mini notebooks
- Crossword puzzle books, word searches
- Handmade woven wool bracelets, which will be a great fun for your kids to make (YouTube is full of great videos like this one)
- Seed bombs (probably our favourite!) to inspire little kids to fill their garden with flowers!
- USE A REUSABLE BAG FOR TRICK OR TREAT
Stay away from those plastic orange buckets in the shape of a pumpkin and give your kid a re-usable bag for trick or treat. Even produce bags like these Frusack ones will work great!
Don’t have a re-usable bag? An old pillowcase will work too and you can even decorate it with nontoxic fabric paint. Use your imagination 😊
- JUST MAKE GREAT MEMORIES!
But after all…Just enjoy this amazingly fun Holiday and make great memories with you family!