How To Have A Sustainable Halloween

halloween pumpkin

Halloween is around the corner and whilst I expect we cannot go trick or treating this year (it’s 2020, if you are reading this in later years…), we will still have some sort of a family fun at home for the kids. They love Halloween almost as much as Christmas (which will always be a little bit strange for me), I suspect most children gets very excited. All the sweets, dressing up, visiting friends and family. I do get it! 

What I don’t get is that how much unnecessary waste we produce collectively during the celebrations. Same applies for Christmas though. The single use cups, packaging, decorations – they all go to the landfill after a short evening fun. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can be more mindful about how we celebrate Halloween. Halloween can come with a lot of excess consumerism, a lot of junk food and a lot of cheap plastic rubbish! Here’s some tips on having a sustainable Halloween which tackle the problematic areas when we celebrate this day.

halloween pumpkin


Most costumes are purchased and used only once before being discarded. Plus they are commonly made from non-recyclable synthetic materials. Don’t buy a brand new costume, especially not each year for every member of the family. 

  • Charity shops and Ebay are usually very good places to find fancy clothes
  • Add funky Halloween embroidery designs to your clothes
  • Organise a costume swap with family members and friends – or even in the kids’ school/class.
  • Renting is also a good option
  • Or make your own! I made these DIY droog costumes a few years ago, using white jeans and shirts we had, so I only had to buy the bowler hats (which the children still use for theatre play). 
  • When buying new makeup, look for organic products only, or even look online for recipes to make your own face paints.

droog halloween cosutme

superhero mask child dressing up


Plastic halloween decoration is another problematic part of the waste problem.

  • Use natural decoration, like carving and displaying pumpkin lantern (make sure you use the flesh and eat it after Halloween), autumnal fallen leaves, pine cones, stick and twigs. Wreath made of rags
  • Burn soy wax candles that are non-toxic.
  • Avoid cheap, plastic Pound Shop decoration, balloons and letting lanterns go. Especially avoid large, fake cobwebs “decorating” shrubs as they are harmful for wildlife, small birds and insects get tangled in it.
  • Get creative by upcycling what you have at home: make glass jar light holders and paint them, wrap pieces of rags around them, make natural confetti from fallen leaves, dress up scarecrows, yarn-web, make bedsheet ghosts from old sheets and of course reuse decoration you already have.
  • Felt garlands and crocheted decoration can be also cute.

Check out local farmers markets for hand-crafted eco-friendly decorations. Autumn decorations - house exterior.

autumn halloween decoration

Home decorations.

Trick or treating

(This year it’s not going to happen, most probably, but hopefully next year again.) Say no to the cheap plastic wrapped (and unethically produced) sweets made with pure sugar (and unsustainable palm oil). I do get it: yeah, it only happens once a year. Yeah, but all that waste even once in a year is even too much. We can have sustainable Halloween activities in an eco-friendly way.

  • A small glass jar of chocolate pieces, sweets or a paper bag of biscuits are plastic free and still proper treats in the children’s eyes.
  • It’s also nice to offer the choice of a non-food treat, like homemade play dough, little wooden toys, or even picking up cheap second hand toys in charity shops.
  • Keep reusing the same sweet buckets or make your own from cotton shopping bags or decorated paper bags.

trick or treat halloween

How To Have A Sustainable Halloween

Party food

Homemade food is the most eco-friendly and with a little effort you can make your own party food that looks spooky but tastes delicious.

  • Cookies shaped of bats, mummy fingers of cheese, ghoulyard cake and mummy flapjacks and you can even serve food made with the pumpkin carvings like pumpkin soup.
  • Make spooky cocktails that look like blood with cranberry or tomato juice.
  • Offer buffet food so people can eat as much as they want and hopefully this way they waste less as well.
  • Use actual dishes instead of paper products. If you really don’t want to clean the dishes, then choose eco-friendly tableware.

Pumpkin Chock Chip Cookie Monsters

Pumpkin gingerbread cookie bats for Halloween

halloween cookies


Do you have any sustainable Halloween tips you use?

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