by Rebecca Rockefeller
Halloween is a much beloved holiday in my own home, and my children plan all year for their costumes and how they’d like to decorate our yard for our annual neighborhood party.
Modern American Halloweens tend to be heavy on the non-recyclable plastic end of festivities, with candy, costumes, and decorations all coming wrapped in and made of the stuff.
Luckily, the traditional roots of Halloween encourage celebrations with small plastic footprints, and old-fashioned decor and treats are just as beautiful and delicious today as in years past. If you’re looking to celebrate the holiday fully but without modern waste it’s certainly possible, with no reduction in fun. Pumpkins, corn stalks, natural fiber costumes, scary stories, and crunchy fall leaves all come without plastic packaging or parts, and can be composted when they’re worn out (or go to seed future harvests in the case of scary stories; hello nightmares and future horror novelists and filmmakers).
Here are a few our favorite links to more information to help make Halloween even better:
- Plastic Pollution Coalition has this very easy to follow Plastic-Free Halloween Guide.
- The Cardboard Collective is running a Cardboard Costume Challenge that you can participate in or just draw inspiration from.
- The Daily Green has collected photos of 100 Homemade Halloween Costumes and 25 Recycled Halloween Costumes to help you dress up in zero waste style.
- The Smart Mama has recipes for you to mix up your own Non-Toxic Homemade Halloween Makeup to go with your upcycled costume.
- If you have children getting ready for a classroom party, you can help turn it into a zero waste event with tips from this Rock Farmer post that I wrote; sure, it’s about a Valentine’s Day party, but can easily be applied to Halloween.
- Green Halloween has a number of action kits full of tips for parents, teachers, and entire communities.
- Green Living Ideas has a roundup of Eek-O-Friendly Halloween Ideas ideas that includes “upcycled DIY decor, post-pumpkin responsibilities, zero waste tips, and deliciously spooky vegan Halloween treats.”
- Washington Toxics Coalition will help keep your Halloween free of toxins (which so often go hand-in-hand with plastics and non-recyclable materials) with their “Don’t Get Tricked this Halloween” edition of Growing Up Green.
How do you celebrate Halloween? Do you have some zero waste or Halloween-less-plastic tips you can add? Does your community have a costume drive after Halloween to help share costumes with people who’ll need them next year? Is there a single-use holiday item that you can’t seem to avoid that you’d like a durable alternative for? Let us know – We’d love to add your tips (with a link to your site, of course) and we’re always looking for new zero waste challenges to take on.
Looking for more zero waste ideas for Halloween or other holidays? Do visit our Trash Backwards app where you can browse our holiday category for hundreds of green ideas: