Are you looking for ways to cut out the plastic this Halloween? Or perhaps you want to make some more sustainable choices when it comes to costumes and decorations? Sharon Keilthy, founder of Jiminy Eco Toys, shares her top tips and easy ideas to have an eco-friendly, low waste Halloween.
Don’t miss our best content straight to your inbox! Sign up now and get our FREE newsletters packed with fun ideas and things to do with the kids, family-friendly recipes, expert advice, parenting tips and great competitions.
The benefits of a low waste Halloween are far-reaching. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also better for your budget, more creative and sets a great example for our children.
If I was to sum it up, I would say the three amazing powers of a low waste Halloween are:
- The Power to Prevent More Pandemics – Using, and wasting, less new ‘stuff’ means humanity can leave more wild spaces wild (leaving wildlife’s viruses with wildlife).
- The Power to Reduce Climate Change – We can affect 8% of global carbon emissions by wasting less food, and up to 5% by avoiding plastic. That’s huge power for good in our hands!
- The Power to Set a Sustainable Normal for Your Kids – What our kids see now, they will do when they themselves are grown-ups.
You May Also Enjoy 20 Budget-Friendly Tips and Ideas for a Green Halloween
Practical Tips for How to Have a Low Waste Halloween
Eat Your Pumpkin
We won’t carve ours – we’ll draw or stick the face on, then after Halloween plant the seeds (check the GIY how-to), and roast the rest.
If you do carve your pumpkin, make sure to roast the pumpkin seeds for an easy and yummy snack, add the ‘guts’ (pulp) to soup, and then put the jack-o-lantern in your brown bin or compost when Halloween is over.
You May Also Enjoy 10 MORE Incredibly Easy Pumpkin Recipes to Make at Home
Opt for a Homemade or Pre-Loved Costume
If you’re looking for some costume-specific motivation to have a low-waste Halloween, just look at the stats. If we pro-rate the annual UK stats for the island of Ireland, we probably throw away close to 700,000 Halloween costumes every year. That’s over 200 tonnes.
- 83% are petroleum-based plastics like polyester, emitting so much CO2 in their making we’d have to plant 31,000 trees to absorb it.
- It is estimated that only 4% of textile waste gets recycled in Ireland – so that 200 tonnes of material goes to landfill or incineration.
…and this happens every year, we have to change this.
Brainstorming costume ideas with my daughter, we knock-out any we can’t make ourselves. She thinks this is normal (and not long ago, it was!). And she’s always been thrilled with her costumes, including when she’s worn them into school.
Last year she was Rey from Star Wars. Her costume was a hairdo, a charity-shop scarf, my belt, and clothes she already had. This year she is very excited to be a dead bodyboarder, using the wetsuit and bodyboard she already has, plus face paint.
There are sure to be things in your recycling that can be repurposed for a costume – cardboard, paper, etc. Combine this with clothes and accessories you already have and can reuse to create a great homemade costume.
If you want something that you can’t make yourself, what about a pre-loved costume? Check with friends and family for hand-me-downs, local selling groups, charity shops, and zero waste groups.
You May Also Enjoy 12 Colourful and Creative Homemade Halloween Costumes
Watch Out for Hidden Toxins
If buying face paint, check for toxic ingredients, mainly parabens. Look for natural products where possible, like our Natural Earth face paint.
Similarly, most adult nail polishes are unsafe for kids thanks to chemicals like TPHP which make them work better, but affect hormones, puberty, weight, and brain development. Get a kid-safe one like Piggy Paint, Miss Nella or Nailmatic.
You May Also Enjoy 20+ Frighteningly Easy Ideas for Halloween Nails
Choose Eco-Friendly Decorations
Again, raid the recycling bin for supplies and transform them into something spooky to decorate the house!
If buying decorations, choose paper or cardboard, plants or vegetables like the seasonal pumpkin, rather than plastic.
Agree With Neighbours About Treats
Have a socially distanced check in with your neighbours, or online via a neighbourhood Facebook group, to avoid buying treats that go to waste. If everyone is on the same page for Halloween it will make life a lot easier.
Questions to ask include:
- Will there be socially-distanced trick or treating (e.g. “no knock”)?
- If yes, how many treats to prepare? How many kids will go around? Can everyone agree on 1 item per child per door?
- Which treats not to prepare because they go straight in the bin when kids get home? For example, homemade treats, unwrapped sweets, fruit? Any allergies to consider?
You May Also Enjoy 15 Clever Ways to Celebrate Halloween With No Trick-or-Treating
Have your say! What are your tips for a low-waste Halloween? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!