How to Have a Plastic Free and Sustainable Halloween

by Gabriella Ghelani

Spooky season is upon us and that means dressing up! The house, the kids, the dog and yourself. 

Halloween can also be a super expensive and, unfortunately, a very wasteful time of year. Here's five main tips on how to have a plastic free and sustainable Halloween. 

Candy

Now we all know that at some point in the evening, the doorbell is going to go and some adorable voices are going to scream "trick or treat!". It's inevitable (unless you go and hide under the sofa and turn all your lights off).  

So how can you reduce your plastic footprint while also giving the kids what they want, i.e. not apples or raisins. 

A few really good ideas are:

  • Individually foil wrapped sweets - i.e. Reeces Pieces cups - however you might struggle to find these loose and in bulk. Head down to your local old time sweet shop to check out what they have
  • Tubes in cardboard - such as Smarties or Candy Sticks. Again our local sweet shop allows you to buy these small packets individually
  • Buying loose sweets in bulk  (plastic free from a sweet shop) and popping them into individual, small paper bags. Decant a large bag of bulk bought sweets into smaller biodegradable bags, using a sterilised utensil, as an alternative to Haribo packets. You can then even provide Vegan options, just remember to avoid anything plastic wrapped
  • Tony's Chocoloney small bars - it's also important to remember that the choco industry is rife with both child and slave labour. So we recommend the best solution: Tony's Chocoloney mini bars. Wrapped in paper, 100% slave free chocolate. No tricks here! 

Costumes


"Halloween costumes being sold by some of the UK's biggest retailers contain the same amount of plastic as over 80 million plastic bottles, according to a new study." - Charities, Hubbub and The Fairyland Trust

 

Ok, that's a lot of plastic. If you're on the path to consciously reducing your waste footprint, this is the perfect way to lessen your impact. Instead of going to Amazon or eBay and finding the first (and usually poorly made), cheap plastic) costume - why not...

  • Make a fun day of searching local charity shops
  • DIY a costume using cardboard or old clothes
  • Check out second hand apps like Vinted or Depop

Search on Ecosia or OceanHero (the Earth-friendly search engines) for costume inspiration. There's even eco recipes for fake blood out there!

Top tip: why not upcycle an old basket as a Trick or Treat tub for your kids? Or decorate an old pillowcase or a plain paper bag? 

 

Throwing a sustainable party

We all wanted our haunted house to be the best, the scariest and naturally the most eco friendly. Here's how you can trick your guests but treat Mother Earth. 

Decorations

No creepy singing witches please. There's no end to how many decorations you could create, or buy but first think about the environmental impact and secondly, the end life of every specific product. 

For example, buying loads of new glass jars for sweets etc. is going to have quite a high carbon footprint. However if you head to your local charity shop, they'll most likely have something that you can fashion into a sweet dish or similar. Alternatively, upcycling is a great way to use old jam/honey/peanut butter jars!

Also consider items such as synthetic webs. How long do they last, and will they fully biodegrade. Chances are, most decorations won't. Can you buy something that you can reuse over and over again like garlands, bunting or ceramic ornaments? 

If not, can you DIY these with your partner or family or children to make Halloween fun and creative for everyone? Use old toilet roll tubes and craft paper to make DIY bats or monsters! 

Finally, can you get anything second-hand? Look on online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace for items that someone no longer wants or needs.

Food

Number one priority of a plastic free party is making the food you and your guest will love from scratch. Instead of buying plastic pots of hummus, or guacamole - you can show off your culinary skills. Match these with some spicy crackers or homemade breadsticks and your guests are in for a proper treat.

Items such as crisps/chips are available in biodegradable packaging, you might just need to purchase these ahead of time. Intentional living is all about forward planning! We love Two Farmer's crisps, which come in home compostable bags and in a variety of flavours. 

Baked treats are also perfect for spooky themed decorations. Check out this link for some more inspiration (just make sure you source the ingredients plastic free)! 

Tableware 

There's not a too much to say on this point; just make sure to reuse! Using what you already have is the most sustainable option. Or, simply ask your guests if you can borrow items! If you still can't find what you're looking for, we always recommend buying second-hand.  

If you're looking for more tips on how to throw a sustainable party, check out our in depth blog post here.

 

Pumpkins

Pumpkins divide a lot of people in the eco world. There are arguments for and against such as...

"If I buy a pumpkin, it will ultimately go to waste."

"If I don't buy a pumpkin, they will rot in farmer's fields/supermarkets will throw them into landfill."

 

"Shockingly, over half of them (around eight million) are only used for carving, and come the 1st November they’re dumped in the rubbish." - Goodto.com

 

So here are some ideas on how to sustainably handle the pumpkin debate.

Ultimately, thousands of people will still buy a pumpkin for their children over Halloween. If you are going to buy one the best things you can do are: 

  • Source locally from small farmers
  • If you're on the fence, buy last minute to save a pumpkin from waste
  • Make sure you use all of the pumpkin, roast the seeds, save and cook the flesh then either compost what's left or leave it out for your local squirrels to eat!
  • Check out more amazing ideas here

 

Trick or Treat 

Make sure you're wearing something comfy with that wicked witch outfit as walking around your neighbourhood, instead of driving somewhere else, will keep your carbon footprint at a minimum! 

If everyone walks instead of driving across town, this encourages the community to meet and talk to one another and keeps more cars of the roads making it safer for little ones. 

 

 

Have you got any other sustainable Halloween tips? Tag us via our socials @GreenPearEco or email us on hello@greenpeareco.com