Zero Waste Halloween Ideas
It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are finally cooling down in Georgia, and I am just itching to hop in the kitchen and start baking all of my favorite fall treats. While stopping by the grocery store to pick up some baking supplies, I was reminded how much waste and plastic is involved with the upcoming holiday season, including Halloween. When walking in the grocery store door, I was bombarded with bags of candy and cheaply made kids’ costumes. Let’s talk about some things we can do this Halloween to avoid the trash that is typically involved with the holiday season. Who says we can’t celebrate without all the plastic, am I right?!
Low Waste Halloween Decorations
In my opinion, zero waste Halloween decorations are the easiest place to start. Think pumpkins, hay bales, and pine cones. There are some really interesting and beautiful pumpkin options out there other than just the typical round jack-o-lantern style pumpkin. Just this week, I saw some gorgeous green, squat pumpkins and even some white ones. A bonus to using pumpkins for decoration, you can eat them! Head over to the Zero Waste Chef’s blog, she can tell you How to Cook a Whole Pumpkin in a Pressure Cooker. You can enjoy your lovely fall decorations, then turn them in to fresh pumpkin pie!
Gourds are also a great, unique fall decoration if you want to have some variety other than pumpkins. I did a little Googling and it actually seems pretty simple to grow your own gourds at home. How about that for zero waste Halloween decor, home grown gourds?!
Also, using decorations found in nature (seriously get inspired in your backyard!) are great, because they are not only pretty but, a lot of the time, free. I love to hunt for the biggest pine cones I can find in our yard to decorate the dining room table at our house. Head over to Pinterest for ideas on how to arrange/design your DIY halloween decor.
If you decide to do some pumpkin carving with the fam, don’t forget you can keep this tradition waste free as well. You can roast the pumpkin seeds, and compost the pumpkin guts. Also, when your pumpkin has been sitting out for days and starts to not look so cute anymore, you can either compost the pumpkin or ask around to local farms or animal sanctuaries to see if any animal caregivers would accept your pumpkin to feed to their animals.
Lastly, If you do have some plastic and not so eco friendly Halloween decorations, SAVE THEM! Keep them and reuse them year after year. There’s no need to purchase new fall decorations very year. If you want to change things up, ask friends to see if they have any Halloween decorations they would like to swap or trade with you.
Plastic Free Trick or Treat Ideas
You don’t HAVE to give trick or treaters candy, I promise! First of all, they are probably receiving a whole lot of candy from other door steps. Don’t feel strange giving out a non-candy treat. Secondly, I’m absolutely certain parents will be thankful you went the sugarless route. Also, there are plenty of kids with food allergies, another reason to avoid the candy.
As far as treat ideas, my favorite thing to hand out to trick or treaters is Throw and Grow Wildflower Seed Balls! It’s by far the coolest treat you can hand out. They’re simply recycled paper + wildflower seeds shaped into a small ball that can be planted to grow flowers to help support the bee population. It’s not just a fun project for kids, but it also is kind to the planet! You can find seed balls in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop, or you could even make some seed balls yourself!
You could also hand out pencils, secondhand used children’s books, mandarin oranges (with painted jack-o-lantern faces on them for extra fun), or (I know this sounds silly) but money… No really, why not have a bowl full of coins ready for the picking. There are plastic free trick or treat options, you just have to get a little creative!
If you just really really want to pass out something sweet to your trick-or-treaters, I’d definitely recommend choosing packaged candies. Passing out homemade baked goods is so thoughtful but I don’t think any parents would go for a stranger giving their children homemade baked goods. Instead there are some candy brands that come packaged in paper boxes like Junior Mints or Dots. You can often find foil wrapped candies at the grocery store as well. Remember, these candies will probably come wrapped in a large plastic bag. One plastic bag is better than many many tiny plastic bags inside of a large plastic bag though in my opinion!
Zero Waste & Eco Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas
Costumes can be a little bit trickier, but I would say the easiest way to go about it would be to make a stop at your local thrift store for inspiration. A few weeks before Halloween, I like to browse the thrift shop in my town for clothing items I could use to create a costume. Usually with the combination of things I have at home and new pieces from the thrift shop, I can create a quick Halloween costume ensemble. Some ideas include 80s aerobics instructor, 60s hippie/flower child, Rosie the riveter, lumberjack, cowboy, etc. Again, Pinterest is a good stop for inspiration when it comes to DIY Halloween costume ideas.
If you leave the thrift shops without a sweet secondhand costume, check Facebook Marketplace and see if you can find a pre-loved costume there! This is an especially good idea if you’re hunting for children’s costumes. Kids grow out of costumes quickly, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a very gently used Halloween costume there for a great price. For example, I found a secondhand toddler cow costume for Vasco, and it is absolutely adorable! This year I can repost it on Facebook Marketplace for another kid to enjoy.