I know what you’re thinking. An eco-friendly Halloween? What does that even mean? How can Halloween have any effect on the environment?
Well, Halloween (among other holidays) actually creates a ton of unnecessary waste every year. From candy to costumes to decorations, there are many easy ways to reduce your environmental impact this year.
1. Ditch the store-bought costumes
Overpriced, cheaply-made costumes from a big party-supply store are usually all the rage during Halloween. However, many of these costumes contain toxic chemicals like PVC, which are extremely harmful to the environment and to the health of your family.
Home-making your family’s costumes can be a great way to spend time together while channeling your creativity skills. On top of that, you’ll also save a lot of money.
(Pro-tip: Goodwill and other thrifty organizations often carry donated Halloween costumes, often for a lower price than big box stores. Consider donating your costume instead of throwing it away after the holiday’s over)
2. Buy natural costume makeup
Multiple different studies have found store-bought costume makeup to contain lead and other heavy toxins, putting those who use them at serious risk.
There’s plenty of natural makeup options online, but you can also make your own. Mommypotamus has a great post all about how you can easily create costume makeup.
3. Reuse old decorations or make your own
It’s no surprise that the day after Halloween, Christmas, and many other holidays, trash bins are stuffed with the leftover decorations. Not only does it come across as a huge waste of money, but most decorations will have a very hard time breaking down in any landfill.
Reusing decorations yearly will save lots of time, money, and landfill space. You can also make your own decorations easily out of recyclables like bottles, jars, and boxes.
(Pro-tip: If you’re using Halloween string-lights, look for LEDs, they save more energy)
4. Use tote bags or pillow cases as candy-holders
Those plastic, cheap candy carriers from convenience stores always end up filing up landfills after October’s over. Instead, using household items will A. Hold more candy than your average plastic pumpkin, and B. Save municipal solid waste from clogging up landfills.
Martha Stewart has a great DIY tutorial for spooky Halloween pillowcases.
5. Buy local/organic Halloween candy
Although convenient, palm oil and other unsustainable ingredients in regular Halloween candy bags don’t make them very eco-friendly. Yoga Journal has a great post that features all sorts of eco Halloween candy.
For eco-friendly, local sweet treats, check out Eco Local Markets’ “Homemade” section. There’s a variety of tasty desserts that are great for parties and get-togethers.
(Pro-tip: Buy candy in bulk to cut down on packaging costs, especially if you live in a neighborhood with a ton of Trick-or-Treaters. You don’t want to run out of candy halfway through the night!)
6. Make the most out of your jack-o-lanterns
When carving pumpkins, make sure to save the insides to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin stock. The seeds also make for a savory, healthy snack when roasted.
Check out this post by Brit & Co for easy recipes using your leftover pumpkins!