Plastic-wrapped candies, throw-away decorations, single-use costumes… Halloween has the potential to be a horror show of plastic waste. Looking for zero-waste Halloween tips? Fear not, eco-warriors, with some preparation and the right kind of supplies, you can maintain your zero-waste lifestyle and still have lots of fun this Halloween.
Give away treats that don’t need plastic wrapping
You’ve seen it every year, supermarket shelves getting packed to the brim with chocolate and candy in preparation for this sweet celebration. It need not be a nightmare for anybody but the dentist, except that all those candy companies are wrapping everything individually in plastic.
If you’ll have trick or treaters coming to your house, stay in on the fun but steer clear of the plastic by purchasing candies that come in paper boxes or are individually wrapped in foil that can be recycled.
Bulk bin candy is another great option that’s both affordable and eco-friendly, just make your own paper or cloth baggies so they’re easier to hand out. Have some fun decorating and the kids will be sure to go wild for your zero-waste Halloween treats.
Skip the store-bought decorations
The stringy plastic cobwebs seemed fun when they first came out as a cheap and easy Halloween decoration, but now they just seem like what they are – a bunch of plastic waste. It will hang in your home for a few days and then linger in a landfill for lifetimes.
Instead of trashing your home with store-bought decor, get crafty and take this as an opportunity to reuse things like cardboard which might otherwise go to waste – cut out and colour your own decorations for a kid-friendly Halloween activity!
Here you can also get some help from mother nature. If you live in the northern hemisphere, go outside and grab some branches and leaves for fantastic fall decor. You can even carve or decorate fruits and veggies into creepy shapes and then eat or give away your masterpieces!
When it comes to pumpkins, buy real ones instead of plastic. Carve a traditional jack-o-lantern, use the scooped out pumpkin to make a delicious pie, and you can even roast the seeds for a healthy snack. Compost your pumpkin afterwards to complete the cycle.
Get creative with your costume
A cheap polyester costume is a major convenience for someone who needs something last-minute but, if you have the time, is it right to only wear something once when you consider the energy and materials that had to go into making and shipping it to you?
The best eco-friendly Halloween costume is a creative one and the only limit is your imagination! Repurpose clothing items you already own and remix them into a clever costume, or add some grungy makeup to last year’s fireman costume to become a zombie fireman.
Before you buy, check if you can borrow, and if you must buy, try buying second hand to give clothes another chance before ending up as waste. You might even be able to rent the perfect costume!
Remember: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
While you can plan for a zero-waste Halloween in your own home, you can’t control what your neighbours will do or what treats they’ll be handing out to your kids. Remind your family about the big Rs of zero-waste.
- Refuse single-use plastic items or anything using unnecessary packaging. Tell your kids to skip the plastic toys and packaged sweets when they can and teach them what the alternative eco-friendly options are. Of course, it’s difficult to refuse everything and you don’t want to become the zero-waste witch of Halloween, but using this time as a learning experience or teaching example can help put your kids on the path towards more sustainable living.
- Reduce your consumption or carbon footprint. Instead of driving to the most popular trick-or-treating spot, maybe you can coordinate with your neighbours to make the walkable area around your neighbourhood more exciting for the kids.
- Reuse things you already have, and only buy what you can use more than once. We’ve given you some tips for reusing and repurposing items in your home above, but don’t forget that our new Superbee Sandwich Bags are the perfect container for trick or treating. When the other kids and parents see how cute and colourful they are, they may be tempted to switch to using eco-friendly supplies themselves.
- Recycle whatever you can. If you end up with a bunch of foil from those individually wrapped candies, for example, make the effort to clean and recycle them.
If you’ve already sprung for store-bought decor and costumes, don’t fret – we’ve all done it! You can still support more sustainable, zero-waste living by making sure these items don’t end up in the landfill. Just reuse them next year or repurpose them for another occasion.
Every little bit counts and you don’t need to change your life all at once to be more eco-friendly this Halloween. A little planning and forward-thinking can make a big impact though. Start with these zero-waste Halloween tips and you’ll be well on your way.