As Halloween approaches, we expect to be frightened by ghosts, goblins and ghouls. But perhaps, the scariest part of all is the truckloads of trash this holiday generates. When it comes to Halloween, so much of it has become disposable – from costumes to candy bags to decorations, the amount of waste it generates is horrifying.
As challenging as it may be, we do our best to avoid single-use options whenever possible, while choosing healthier options for people and the planet. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite ways to reduce your impact, while getting creative, this Halloween season. And don’t forget to have fun with it!
Choose Decorations That Last Or DIY Your Own
It can be tough to resist the urge to buy new decorations, as you walk through your favorite big box store, but do your best to stay strong – you don’t need to buy new decorations every year. Instead, reach for natural materials – pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and get creative with what you have around the house. Take a look in the attic or garage, and see what you can find to get creative with.
If you want some ideas, here’s 7 DIY Halloween decoration ideas from Brightly. And if you really want to add some new decor to your annual lineup, always try to avoid plastic when possible.
Healthy Candy Swap
For most of us, Halloween means sweet treats. But unfortunately, many of the conventional options out there are packed with artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives. One way to reduce your impact this spooky season is to swap your candy for healthier, more planet-friendly options.
- Instead of mainstream gummy bears, choose Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears→ Unlike typical gummies, these vegan organic gummies get their color from natural sources like black carrots and turmeric. Also, one snack pack contains 35% of the day’s antioxidant vitamin C.
- Ditch the classic PB cups for Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups or UNREAL’s Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups→ Justin’s have about five grams less sugar per package than typical PB cups, and are made with all organic ingredients. UNREAL’s almond butter cups are certified vegan and gluten free, and are made using fair trade ingredients.
- Swap the basic chocolate bars for No Whey Milkless Minis→ Made in a dedicated facility free from the common top 8 food allergens, No Whey’s treats are vegan, free from Artificial Colors and Flavors, and Kosher.
- Instead of mainstream chocolate wafers, try Little Secrets Wafers→ With flavor that competes with the classics, Little Secrets wafer bars have 30% less sugar and are made with sustainably-sourced cocoa. The company is also transitioning to fully recyclable / compostable packaging by 2025.
- Swap conventional lollipops for Organic Golly Lolli’s → Boasting 75% less sugar than leading suckers, these lollis are also free of artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives – they’re made in the USA, and the company gives back a portion of their profits to 7 areas of humanitarian needs.
RECYCLING TIP TO TACKLE CANDY WRAPPER WASTE
While traditional candy wrappers can’t be recycled, private recycling company TerraCycle will accept them. They offer a zero-waste pouch specifically for candy and snack wrappers – once you fill it up, you just send it back to them with the provided return label. :)
DONATE EXTRA CANDY INSTEAD OF DUMPING IT IN THE TRASH
After all the trick or treating, you may end up with extra candy. If so, instead of dumping it in the trash, you can donate it to organizations like Treats For Troops or Operation Shoebox.
Opt For A Reused Or Upcycled Candy Bag
Most *candy bags* today are made of plastic, and immediately thrown away after the festivities. Pass on the plastic, and instead, use something you already own.
We love to use pillow cases – generally, it’s something we already have on-hand, and also they leave plenty of room for collecting a plethora of treats. Grab the fabric markers if you want to make it a fun family activity, and everyone can decorate their own.
DIY Costumes – Ways To Dress Up Your Basics
When it comes to costumes, this is one of the biggest contributors to Halloween waste. The majority of costumes are made of polyester, meaning that when they are thrown out, they will sit in the landfill for years and years before decomposing. Additionally, those plastic outfits shed microplastics, polluting neighboring lands and waterways.
If you’re trying to come up with a costume idea, DIY-ing is where it’s at. Many of our basic styles (Leggings, Organic PJ Sets, Thermal Sets, Long Sleeve Dress) serve as the perfect base to build an outfit. And since our styles come in all the colors of the rainbow, you can generally create whatever costume you’ve dreamt up for the festivities.
Maybe you already have a set of our PJs, and you can add homemade adornments. If not, our classic styles can double as a costume and then slide into your child’s drawers for everyday wear.
If you’re in a rush last-minute, you can find all our basics on Amazon Prime –
And if you’re looking for ideas, here’s some of our favorite DIY Halloween costumes –
Scooby Doo Characters
Safari Guide Costume
Angel & Devil
Donate, Don't Dump
When your kids grow out of their costumes or if they no longer want to wear them, you can DONATE them to organizations like Ween Dream, who give costumes to kids from all over the U.S. who are faced with unique challenges.
Compost Your Pumpkins
We love a good jack-o-’lantern! But after your pumpkins have their moment, they typically go straight to the trash. According to the US Department of Energy, it’s estimated that around 1.3 billion poundsof pumpkins are thrown out after Halloween each year. Composting your pumpkins allows them to break down properly (which means no methane emissions). If you don’t have a compost, check your cities rules – many places now welcome compost in the waste management’s green bins with other lawn trimmings. Also – don’t forget to roast your pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack!
Did you create a costume using City Threads styles? We’d love to see it! You can send it to us at email@example.com. :)
Written by: Kestrel Jenkins, responsibility consultant & host of the Conscious Chatterpodcast.