Eco-friendly Halloween ideas – have a green Halloween!
Rather than seeing the climate crisis as all doom and gloom, we love that our followers and the wider community are embracing every opportunity to make a positive difference. Using events and major holidays as a springboard, we can make green choices feel fun, creative and enjoyable. So, if you’re looking to have a more eco-friendly Halloween, check out our tips for a spooky but sustainable celebration!
8 minutes to read
How wasteful is Halloween?
The statistics related to Halloween are not a complete surprise, but they are quite shocking when you consider that it is, really, one evening. For one night full of fun, scary frivolity, food, drink and costumes, there tends to be a fair bit of waste involved.
Did you know?
- Over 90% of families plan to buy Halloween outfits each year.
- On average, Brits spend £300 million in preparation for Halloween every year.
- 7 million costumes are binned each year – with 4/10 of those being worn just once.
- Each costume contains approx 0.38kg of (usually non-recyclable) plastic, meaning that 2,600 tonnes a year is put in the bin.
- In 2019, it was expected that almost 17 million pumpkins were purchased. Another survey found that over half of people who buy pumpkins for Halloween throw the flesh straight into the bin or food waste disposal.
So how can we have a more eco-friendly Halloween?
With environmental issues being at the forefront of our minds recently, people are looking for ways to celebrate without such an impact. Luckily there are plenty of ideas available.
Eco-friendly Halloween – pumpkins
As we mentioned in our previous post, food waste actually has more of an impact on the environment than plastic pollution. With this in mind, what can you do with your pumpkin to make your Halloween more eco-friendly?
Things to do with your pumpkin:
- Scoop out the seeds, air-dry on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for a tasty snack or salad topping. Alternatively, you can store them in a cool, dry place and plant them between May and June to grow your own Halloween pumpkin for next year.
- Excess flesh can be scooped out and roasted for sweet or savoury dishes that will complement the Halloween spread or become the base for some hearty homemade autumn meals. This collection of pumpkin recipes looks delicious and we want to try them all!
- Leave it to nature. Leave your pumpkin, lid off, in the garden and allow the birds and insects to feast. Once it begins to go mouldy or rot you can bury it in the garden and leave it to decompose. Alternatively, put it into your compost heap or bin.
- To keep your pumpkin purchase as low-impact as possible, try to source one from local farmers instead of supermarkets.
- All pumpkins can be eaten. So don’t be fooled by the ‘marketing’ ploy used by many supermarkets advertising their pumpkins as ‘carving pumpkins’.
- Tip – If you plan on using your pumpkin scraps for eating, the smaller the better. But big is just as good roasted for soups.
What about eco-friendly Halloween decorations?
Many commercially-available Halloween decorations are made from plastic, and a lot cannot be recycled. So switching out for homemade or plastic-free decorations is a great step.
Some low-plastic decoration ideas are effortless and affordable:
- Pumpkins placed on a bench or windowsill (just make sure you don’t leave them out too long so you can’t eat them!)
- Fallen branches and leaves, or even an autumnal Halloween wreath made from twigs, leaves and other fallen foliage.
- Hay and wicker baskets instead of plastic buckets and hanging decorations.
- Candles – placed away from little hands!
If you’re short on time or don’t want to make your own decorations, try these tips for commercially-sold decorations:
- Reuse them in future years
- Recycle them responsibly – check the packaging for recycling instructions and check with your local authority or council to see how different materials are recycled in your area.
- Sell them online next year for someone else to use.
- Find lower-impact decorations. Using something like the “build your own” party kits from The Conscious Party Box is a great way to put together a display that is unique to you and totally plastic-free.
Eco-friendly Halloween treats and party food
If you’re hosting a party or even having a small family celebration at home, try these ideas for your guests and for any passing trick-or-treaters:
Eco-friendly Halloween party ideas:
- Making your own Halloween-themed food is definitely an option here. It’s satisfying to see your creations being complimented by your guests and they can be a healthier option, too.
- Cooking your own will reduce plastic packaging, lower sugars and salts and is a great talking point with your guests.
- Have a plan for any leftovers. Will they be composted, used for meals and snacks in the days to come or frozen?
- Don’t put all of the food out at once. This is going to stop any excess from spoiling or being spilt. You can top up as needed and it’ll make the spread look never-ending!
- As a rule, doing a few things really well rather than doing too much will be more impressive to your guests, so don’t go overboard.
- If you’re having a party, it can be tempting to buy single-use items for ease. However, there are some amazing companies out there that rent out reusable party kits. Check out The Party Kit Network to find a supplier near you.
Trick or treat ideas:
- Look for treats that come in recyclable packaging or package your own. Think pick and mix in reusable cardboard boxes or compostable bags.
- Make your treats. Cookies, toffee apples and meringues can all be Halloween themed – tie them in brown paper and orange string to keep things hygienic. This article gives a huge range of homemade Halloween treat ideas.
- A lot of Halloween treats go uneaten and will inevitably end up being thrown away (in their wrappers). Don’t buy more than you need or are able (willing) to eat yourself. That sounds like a challenge to us!
- Homemade is great, but be honest with yourself – do you think the kids coming to your door will eat decorated fruit? Or will they head straight for the sweets and biscuits? If you don’t think it’ll be a crowd-pleaser, save your money and the waste by not buying or preparing it.
- If you or your children are heading out trick or treating, try decorating canvas or paper bags as a Halloween craft activity. Then use them to collect treats instead of plastic buckets. They look much nicer and probably hold more sweets, too!
Eco-friendly Halloween costumes
Costumes are probably the thing you’ll think about first. What are you and the family going to be this year? Or is there a theme for your party or the party you’re invited to? We’ve seen from the stats that 90% of families will consider buying a costume but there are a few things you can think about to reduce waste:
- Organise a costume swap in the month or so leading up to the big day/night. This is a great idea for school-age kids if you’re in a WhatsApp group with other parents.
- Rent a costume – you can go to a fancy dress shop to support a local business or even get in touch with your local theatre to see if they have considered hiring out their costumes. This is a particularly good idea for venues who have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic and may welcome the opportunity to bring in some money.
- Charity shops are a great option for decade themed costumes or those with a creative mind. You may also find that any Halloween costumes donated the previous year will be stored and put on display by charity shops.
- Think outside the box for unusual costume pieces. What do you have around the house the could be repurposed? My children pretend to be towel ghosts every single night so there’s probably something you can be creative with lying around in your house, too!
- If you’re dressing as a witch, think about making your broomstick. A fallen branch and some artfully tied twigs will do the trick and look more authentic
- The need for Instagram-worthy (perfect) costumes has begun to overtake the fun and imagination of creating your costumes. Have some fun with it – do it for yourself, not for the ‘gram! That said, please share your eco-friendly Halloween costumes with us over on Instagram or in our Facebook group. We’d love to share your creations with the Ailuna Community.
- We also love the idea of something more unique to our children. Kidswear brand Olive & Pip have great sustainability credentials and create amazing garments using your children’s drawings.
Planning an eco-friendly Halloween – scary but sustainable
There are so many different areas you can look at to reduce your waste during Halloween, from making a conscious effort to reduce your plastic waste to recycling or reusing parts of your pumpkin to feed the family. Even the smallest of steps is a step in the right direction.