This year I feel that Halloween may be very different to those that we’ve experienced in more recent years. However, many of my ideas for being more eco friendly and having a waste free Halloween will be applicable year in year out.
Are you staying home for a household only Halloween celebration, going out trick or treating, or putting plans aside and having a big Halloween party for family and friends next year? Read on for lots of tips for an eco friendly, waste free Halloween.
Zero Waste Pumpkins – inc recipes
Eco Friendly Halloween Decorations
Waste Free Trick or Treating – inc ecobricks
Waste Free Halloween Outfits
Zero Waste Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of the most versatile and eco friendly components of Halloween decorations. They have a variety of uses and are pretty much waste free. Simply carve, eat, then compost or put out to feed nature.
Carving pumpkins can be a great activity for all the family. If you need some inspiration do check out my pumpkin art post or one of the many suggestions on Halloween groups and Pinterest.
Cooking with pumpkins is easy and tasty. If you’re a regular reader at Tea and Cake for the Soul, you may have already seen my recipes using the flesh and seeds of pumpkins. They can be used to create both sweet and savoury snacks and meals.
Composting your used pumpkin when Halloween is over, will ensure that this really is a waste free Halloween essential. Or of course, you could even leave it out for the local squirrels, but put it up off the ground so hedgehogs can’t get to it. It gives them diahorrea apparently!
Eco Friendly Halloween Decorations
Pumpkin decorations are obviously a given, but how about creating your own Halloween decoration box that can be brought out year after year, just like you do with your Christmas decorations?
If you do have to buy new decorations this year, make sure you keep them to reuse time and time again to ensure that your Halloween becomes waste free. Or perhaps do a swap with friends or neighbours each year so you have fresh decorations.
You could make your own decorations to reuse each year. Here are a few ideas:
* Paint rocks and stones with spooky Halloween designs.
* Model with clay and paper mache.
* Cut out spooky silhouettes on heavy duty black card for window displays.
* Make your own posters, banners and spiderwebs.
* Crochet, knit or sew pumpkins, spiders & bats.
* Decorate jars with tealights inside.
* Turn old wine bottles into spooky candle holders with dripping wax.
* Put spooky pictures in existing photo frames or upcycle some old frames with a Halloween theme (charity shops often have lots of old photo frames and mirrors).
* Repurpose some of your Christmas decorations if you can.
Let your imagination run riot, and turn the half term school holidays into crafting activities so that children can learn about being eco friendly by reusing what you already have and creating less waste.
I’m not expecting anyone to go to this extreme, but if you need some inspiration, have a look at my Corpse Bride Halloween post that could be made up from old clothes and household items.
Waste Free Halloween Dressing-up Outfits
Every October the shops are filled with Halloween outfits that are most likely only worn once then discarded. Rather than buy new, source second hand outfits or make your own.
* Have a clothes swap with your friends, family or neighbours.
* Buy second hand from charity shops.
* Search local Facebook selling groups and Marketplace for second hand outfits. Quite often they’ll be given away free after Halloween.
* Use existing outfits from the kids’ dressing-up box – could that fairy outfit be turned into a witch? Superheroes are always popular at Halloween too, maybe with a little upgrading? If you source a new outfit for Halloween, pop it back in the dressing up for for further role play and let your children be creative.
* Make your own outfits from old clothes that are worn out or don’t fit. After your Halloween celebrations, donate the garments to a charity shop rag bag if they can’t be worn again. Not only will your Halloween outfits be waste free, but charities will get much needed funds.
Last year Money Saving Expert produced a video to show us all how to make fake blood from syrup, red food colouring, and cocoa. Not only are these all the sort of things that are lurking in the back of your cupboards, probably out of date 😉, but they will not generate the additional packaging waste that you would have if you bought fake blood from a shop.
Waste Free Trick or Treating at Halloween
Last year I wrote about the teal pumpkin project which was set up to provide alternative treats for children who have food allergies. They made lots of suggestions for non-food based treats such as colour-in masks, crayons, rubbers, pencils and colouring books. Providing they are used, they are far more eco friendly than wrapped sweets and plastic toys.
I’m not sure that trick or treating can ever be entirely waste free, but you can try to be as eco friendly as possible. Maybe consider giving out fresh food items such as Halloween cookies and muffins. Of course you do run the risk that others might not eat things that aren’t wrapped for hygiene reasons. This means your waste free Halloween efforts have the opposite effect.
If you are buying items to give out for trick or treating, be mindful to choose wrappings that can be recycled such as foil wrapped chocolate coins, loose sweets in paper bags, boxed raisins or fruit.
Of course, the one way to ensure that your Halloween treats are waste free is to give a coin or two.
If you are going out trick or treating, your children will no doubt come back with lots of wrapped sweets no matter how eco friendly you’ve tried to be in preparing your own treats.
Sometimes larger packets can be recycled in supermarket collection points (our Morrisons has this facility for biscuit and crisp packets), but why not try making an ecobrick to ensure your Halloween treats become waste free. This involves filling a plastic bottle full of plastic waste which can be used to build community projects with. You can read more about how to make an ecobrick HERE.
Alternative Halloween Fun
Of course, you don’t even have to leave the house to have some waste free Halloween fun. You could:
* Have some Halloween craft and baking sessions.
* Have a family pumpkin carving competition.
* Have a spooky movie night.
* Play some old fashioned board games such as Operation, Cluedo or Mousetrap.
* Tell each other spooky stories by candlelight. If you don’t know any you could read them from books or try making your own up where everybody contributes a line at a time.
* Make a Halloween playlist and have a dance off.
* Have a camp-out in the garden or a camp-in in your living room with lots of blankets.
If you’ve found this post useful, you may like to read more eco-friendly Halloween posts, and ideas for zero waste and waste free living.