Growing up Halloween has always been representative of dressing up and going out at night to trick-or-treat. As a kid, Halloween was a fun holiday for me because if all the free candy we would receive as we went out at night to go trick-or-treating. I didn’t grow up with much candy in my household so Halloween also meant that I would get to stock up on a large amount but I also had to ration my favorite candy pieces to last for awhile.
When I moved towards a zero waste lifestyle this holiday became slightly tricky. A lot of the joy I experienced came with the inevitable result of producing trash. All of the small wrappers of the individually wrapped candy pieces added up to a lot of trash. I wanted to figure out how to celebrate this holiday but still practice my zero waste lifestyle.
There are three areas of each holiday I like to tackle: decorations, food and entertainment. For Halloween, you can decorate your spaces using
- Reusable fall and Halloween decorations which you can pull out each year
- Use dried leaves from trees in a bowl or a jar. I usually string rope across areas of rooms and I’ll hang up the leaves using clothespins.
- Use fresh fruit or vegetables as edible decor such as pumpkins and then once the holiday is over, you can even make delicious dishes using thm
- You can arrange twigs and fall leaves in a vase
- You can tie pieces of sticks together and create a wreath to decorate with colorful leaves
- Any decoration that is compostable or reusable is a great option
Food options can vary due to location, seasonal fruits and vegetables available.
- Look for seasonal fruits and vegetable to make dishes with
- Some seasonal vegetables to keep an eye out for: pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes
- Some seasonal fruit to look for: cranberries, apples, pomegranates, and grapes
- Search for recipes available on the internet for this seasonal favorite. Websites such as YouTube , Pinterest , All Recipes, Food Network, Better Homes and Gardens and Taste of Home. If you’re anything like me, my searches always start with “simple” in front of my topic because I tend to lean towards simple ingredients and fewer steps when making dishes.
- Bulk candy is also a great way to sneak in sweets during this holiday. A lot of bulk candy locations have a variety of options from chocolates to sour candies. The grocery stores I frequent have these options but my local movie theater has the name brand candy in bulk, that I love to eat as well.
For Trick-Or-Treaters, consider handing out non-candy options. I’m still a big believer in feeding a child’s creativity so some of these items on the list are geared more towards art than just toys. During this season, children are usually in school, so if you hand out items they can use during school, it’ll also benefit the children. Here are some options other than candy, that you can hand out:
- Bouncy Balls
- Play Doh
- Coloring books
- Mini notepads
- Halloween Pencils
- Mini slinkies
- Bookmarks Pencils
- Halloween Erasers
- Hand out mini packets of herb seeds
- Loose change such as dimes and quarters
- Decks of playing cards
- Compostable packaged snacks (crackers, raisins, pretzels, etc.)
Entertainment can vary depending on what you have planned during Halloween.
- Check out costume rental stores, they always have a lot of variety and sizes to choose from, but remember to to check the stores early so there are more options available
- Check out thrift stores for options of clothing to create your costume from
- For families, check if you can swap costumes with neighbors, classmates or friends. You can even set up a costume swap meet if that helps get the word out.
- Borrow clothes and items from friends, family or neighbors to see if you can assemble your costume and look of your character
- Board Games or Card Games
Check out these other blog posts from some other Eco-Sustainable Bloggers:
- Katy Lauderdale from Skip The Bag – Zero Waste Halloween Ideas
- Kayla Kamp from Ever Change Productions – How to Use Leftover Pumpkin Guts, Wicked Awesome Upcycled Halloween Decorations
- Rosie Hill from A Green and Rosie Life – Week 25 – A Spooky and Green Halloween, Spiced Pumpkin Cake, Simple and Sustainable Ways to enjoy Halloween
- Susannah Shmurak from Healthy Green Savvy – Green Your Halloween, 75 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
I hope this list is helpful in creating a zero waste Halloween. If you choose to adopt only one of these ideas, you’re still helping the environment by creating less waste. It’s a step away from the standard Halloween traditions but it’s a more environmentally friendly outline for this holiday. Have a great Halloween!