Make the most of spooky season with as little waste as possible
While Halloween festivities are enjoyable for the whole family, the amount of trash that ends up in the landfill afterwards is indeed quite scary. Not to mention, many people end up spending a huge amount of money on items that won’t ever be used again.
This year, be conscious about your Halloween choices and how they affect the planet. From plastic-free decorations to disposing of candies properly and organizing a costume-swap with friends, there are tons of ways you can have a good time while making a low impact on the planet.
Browse through for some of our tips, tricks and treats to make your Halloween green...
1. Create zero-waste decorations
Although they're accessible and inexpensive, the majority of Halloween decorations available in stores are made from plastic that gets tossed into the garbage afterwards. It’s not only a waste of your cash, but can take years and years to break down in landfills while also causing pollution in our waterways. This is where you gather the family together and get crafty. It’s a fun bonding experience that will definitely put you in the spirit.
Here are some ideas to get you started...
- Lighting: Grab some glass Mason jars and coat the exterior using non-toxic paint in dark shades like deep purple or black. Next, pop in mini string lights or a tea light for an eerie effect. Place the jars on a pathway leading to your house, on the patio, or even as table decor. Want some added spookiness? Use black paper to trace out mini bats, spiders or a witch’s hat and scatter them around the jars.
- Spider webs: If you have any dark-coloured stockings with runs lying around (or some pairs that you can give up), they can easily be stretched out and turned into spider webbing. Other things you can use include black yarn or natural twine that can be hung around trees or porch posts. The best part is that you can pack all these up and use them again next year.
- Ghosts: Do not underestimate the effect of this simple DIY method. Stuff a white T-shirt or towel into a bedsheet and tie it with twine or rope (as pictured). Any sort of buttons lying around the house can be used as eyes. These ghosts are delightfully spooky to hang by the front door or around the house.
- Signs: All you need are some pieces of wood or cardboard, along with non-toxic paint to write whatever chilling messages you wish. It’s a fun way to spook passersby because they won’t know what's up ahead!
- Pumpkins: Here is your ultimate zero-waste, Halloween decor winner. Pumpkins are 100 percent biodegradable, they can be composted, cooked into a delicious meal or even buried into the garden. To make sure you are purchasing pumpkins that are not sprayed with pesticides (which many are so that they can grow faster and be shipped across distances), head to your nearest pumpkin patch or farm to pick out locally grown ones.
2. Give out eco-friendly candy
Candy wrappers can lead to immense amounts of waste, and many store-bought treats contain additives that may trigger allergies for kids. The good news? There are many other options available and all it takes is a little research to support companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint—whether it’s the ingredients they use, or how they package their items.
Brands such as Yum Earth and Annie’s make certified organic candies that contain no artificial flavours, are gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. Organic treats can also be found in various grocery stores and some farmers markets, which is also a great way to support local.
If you are making homemade treats (such as vegan cupcakes, chocolate bark or cookies), let the neighbours know by putting a sign outside the door, or perhaps even take the effort to go speak to them beforehand so that they are comfortable with coming by on Halloween night.
3. Use eco-friendly trick-or-treating sacks
Avoid plastic trick-or treating bags at all costs. Instead, get creative and decorate supplies you already have—like a brown paper bag, a reusable fabric bag, or the most classic option, a pillowcase (it has plenty of room for candy!)—which all can be reused. Also, do your part to reduce carbon emissions by walking around in your own neighbourhood instead of driving to a destination that is further away.
4. Choose an eco-friendly costume
Millions of clothing items and accessories get thrown into landfills each year, and the amount of chemicals and dyes that are used during production are harmful to the planet. Halloween costumes play a huge role in this because we tend to only wear them once and then toss them.
Here are some ways in which you can do your part...
- DIY costumes: Let your imagination run wild! The possibilities are endless when it comes to using various pieces of fabric and clothing items you have lying around at home.
- Second-hand options: If you can’t gather enough items at home, or are in need of some specific accessories, head to a consignment store or thrift store instead of buying new. Take the kids with you so that they can learn the importance of reusing and recycling clothes.
- Neighbourhood/friends swap: Organizing a costume swap is a great way to reuse and recycle costumes. We guarantee there will be tons of variety, especially for the kiddies because they grow out of their clothes so fast.
5. Remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle
Once the festivities are over, this is where the real work starts, so make sure you’re composting and recycling everything properly whether it’s your party treats or decor.
Some tips to remember...
- If you’re throwing a get-together, ask your guests to bring their own reusable containers so that they can take leftovers home to help reduce waste. If you have loads of extras, it’s always a wonderful idea to drop food off at a local shelter.
- Your spooky jack-o'-lanterns are filled with lots of goodness. Save the seeds and toast them for a healthy snack, make delicious pumpkin pie, soup, pastas—you name it!
- Any DIY costumes and homemade decorations can be upcycled and reused, so make sure to safely pack them away for next year.