Autumn is without a doubt my favourite time of year, everything from the colours to the weather makes me happy.
Halloween is also one of my favourite celebrations. Every year we decorate our house and invite friends over for food, drink and some treat or treating. It’s always great fun for both the kiddies and the adults.
Saying that though it also one of the most wasteful celebrations of the year. This year I plan to make it our most sustainable Halloween yet. I’ve spent the last week doing some research into how to make that happen and I thought I’d share my findings with you.
How To Have A Sustainable Halloween
Sustainable Halloween Costumes
‘12,500 tonnes of Halloween costumes are sent to landfill each year’ edie.net
Look In Charity Shops
If you or your children need a costume this year then why not check out your local charity shops to see if you can find anything suitable? If they don’t have anything that might work then always ask at the desk as they may have something in the back room. I worked in charity shops for 8 years and we always had a stock of fancy dress outfits out the back.
Borrow From A Friend
Why not ask your friends if they have any Halloween costumes lying around that they’re not using this year? You could even swap costumes so you’re all wearing something different to last year.
Ask In A Local Sharing Facebook Group
A lot of communities now have ‘sharing groups’ on Facebook where people can list their unwanted goods so someone else can have them. Some you have to pay for, others everything is free. It’s worth checking to see if you’re local community has a group and if not maybe consider setting one up?
They’re great for the sharing/reusing economy and help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Our local group is fantastic! We have one for getting rid of items and one for asking for them.
Why not ask in your local group and see if anyone has something suitable? You can always just borrow it for the night and give it back afterwards if they’d prefer that.
Use What You Already Have
If you’re the creative type could you make an outfit out of items you already have in your home? There are loads of great tutorials online.
Reuse Your Outfit From Last Year
If you already have an outfit then the cheapest and most sustainable thing to do is to reuse the one you already have. I have a vampire outfit that comes out every year and has done for many years now. For kids can you hand down an older siblings outfit to a younger child?
Sustainable Halloween Treats
Sustainable Halloween treats is a tough one as almost all sweets and treats come wrapped in plastic, however, they are a few sustainable alternatives.
A Word Of Caution On Baking Your Own Treats
A lot of people suggest baking your own treats but personally I’d advise against that as a lot of parents will not let their children eat home-baked goods from people they don’t know. Which ultimately means they will end up in the bin creating yet more waste. I know that sounds quite absurd but unfortunately, it’s the world we live in.
If you’re having a kids Halloween party however and you know all of the children then yes bake away!
Chocolates Wrapped In Foil
Chocolates wrapped in foil are a better option if you can find them as the foil can be recycled. Of course, that does depend on whether the parent of the child receiving the chocolates is on top of their recycling but that’s out of your hands.
Mini Pumpkin Oranges
One of my favourite treats to give out are mini oranges with scary faces drawn on them to make them look like mini pumpkins. The first year I did that my other half laughed and said it was a waste of time as no child was going to pick those over the sweets or chocolate. Well, he was wrong!
We had a bucket full of treats some sweets, some chocolates and the oranges. The oranges were the first things to go. Mainly chosen by the little ones which I thought was really sweet.
So it’s certainly worth giving it a go. As well as oranges you could also offer apples just don’t draw on those!
Raisins In Boxes
Another healthy treat option is to have raisins in those small boxes. The boxes are cardboard which can be either composted or recycled.
Can you tell that we’re going to be known as that weird ‘healthy Halloween house’!
Opt For Cardboard & Foil Treats
If you can then try to opt for treats and chocolate in cardboard and foil packaging over plastic. Although that can be easier said than done. If you find anything that works well then let me know in the comments below.
Sustainable Halloween Food
Buy Local Pumpkins
If you can always opt to buy local pumpkins rather than the ones from the supermarkets as you cannot be sure where they have been grown or how far they have travelled to get there.
Most local fram shops and farmers markets will have them.
Personally we get ours from a farm shop that hosts a week-long pumpkin festival which we love called Pumpkin Fest. They have ‘Pick Your Own’ pumpkin fields which is something that the kiddies really enjoy doing, especially riding in the wheelbarrow!
Don’t Waste Your Pumpkin Flesh
‘The UK will bin 8m pumpkins after Halloween, the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the entire nation, research has found.’ The Guardian
That’s a lot of wasted pumpkins! I was really shocked when I read that fact. The good news, however, is that there are lots of things you can do to reduce your pumpkin waste.
One of the easiest things to do with your leftover pumpkin flesh is to make pumpkin soup. I did this last year for our guests and kept it hot in our slow cooker so everyone could help themselves. If you end up with a lot of soup you can always freeze it for another day.
There are hundreds of recipes online so do a bit of research, find one you like and get cooking.
Make Pumpkin Pie
Why not take some inspiration from our friends over the pond and attempt a pumpkin pie? This isn’t something that I have tried myself as I’m not a particularly keen baker but the ones I’ve seen others make look amazing!
Roast Your Pumpkin Seeds
It’s not just the flesh that you can use you can also eat the pumpkin seeds. I do this every year and add it to the food offerings for the evening. Normally in a little bowl on the table like you would with nuts. Alternatively, you can sprinkle them on top of your pumpkin soup as a nice garnish.
Check out my post here to see how I roast mine – How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Compost Your Pumpkin Flesh
When you’ve used up all possible bits of your pumpkin and are just left with the flesh then put it in your compost.
If you don’t have a compost system at home then put it in your food waste bin. Failing that you can always take it out into a local woods for the animals to eat. Obviously making sure it’s not left on a path or somewhere in the way.
Sustainable Halloween Decorations
Reuse Your Halloween Decorations
If you already have Halloween decorations then the most sustainable thing you can do is to reuse them every year. Pack them away well when you’ve finished with them so they won’t get broken whilst being stored. Personally, I get the same decorations out every year and they have lasted for a lot of years.
Make Your Own
If you’re feeling creative then why not try and make your own decorations out of things you already have at home? There are lots of tutorials online that cover this.
Buy Second Hand
If you really need to buy decorations then try to get secondhand ones either from a charity shop, a friend or a local swapping/selling group.
Use Reusable Batteries
If you have animated decorations or lights then consider using reusable batteries. In fact if you regularly use batteries in your home then it’s worth investing in reusable batteries anyway.
We use them in our home and I love them. I have a very simple small charging unit which plugs into the wall. I then have two small boxes in a drawer labelled charged and uncharged so we know which are which. It’s worth having a few pre-charged in case you suddenly need to replace some.
Recycle Single-Use Batteries
If you use single-use batteries then please remember to recycle them at the end of their life. Most supermarkets now have battery recycling bins and also any shop that sells batteries, should by law, have a recycling system in place for customers.
Make Halloween About The Experience
Lastly, I think the most sustainable thing you can do this Halloween is to make it about the experience rather than the things! Forget the plastic spiders, the polyester costumes and all the other plastic tat and remember what Halloween was originally about…
a celebration where people come together to eat the harvested food, bond and share an experience.
and perhaps ward off a ghost or two with fire but I’d say that bits optional. So invite your friends over for some food, drinks and fun.
Here’s a Halloween bucket list of experience ideas for you…
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.