10 Ways to go Green this Halloween

Halloween has become one of the commercial giant holidays. And as much fun as it is, it generates so much needless waste. I would venture to guess it’s a worse offender than Valentine’s Day and Easter because on top of all the packaged treats, there is the single use costumes and the plethora of decorations. 

We aren’t saying Halloween can’t be fun, but we could indulge a little less in the shiny commercial items while still embracing the spooktacular festivities. Here are a few ways to make your Halloween a little more “green”.

1. Save the Wrappers

It is unrealistic if you have kids to think you won’t have any package/wrapper waste. It seems unavoidable in today’s society. That doesn’t mean though that the wrappers have to be thrown away! Collect your clean wrappers and packaging to make an eco brick. If you don’t know what that is check out this guide. Essentially you fill a 2L bottle with clean wrappers and drop off at your local business partner. It is explained in detail here.

2. Thrift/DIY Your Costume

My daughter last year in her thrifted Halloween costume for $2.99.
This year I bought her a second hand lady bug costume. Pictures to come on our Instagram.

According to Recycle Nation, “The U.S. generates about 25 billion pounds of textiles each year, or 82 pounds per U.S. resident… Halloween only adds to the problem”. We don’t need any more textile waste. The resources used to create the costumes complied with the inevitable C02 emissions generated as they sit in landfills should be reason enough to skip the new costume altogether. Not to mention Halloween costumes are usually worn once. Thrift stores and buy/sell sites are full of second hand costumes that are typically in great shape because they were, you guessed it, worn once by the previous owner. If you’re crafty or creative you can make a costume with items you have or find second hand. Once your done with a costume, donate or sell it and someone else can use it next year!

3. Skip the Chocolate (or Shop Ethically)

New found friend of the Earth Mamas recently brought to our attention the human rights dilemma that comes with your halloween candy. In short, it is likely made using child labour. Read below…

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Chocolate + Child Slave Labor, this one should make you uncomfortable. Halloween is upon us, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the sourcing of chocolate. This way we can make informed decisions when buying candy. Keeping in mind in this post I am prioritizing human life over plastic waste. Cocoa beans primarily grow in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America. ~70% of cocoa is sourced from the Ivory Coast of Africa. In this region and industry child slave labor is a common practice. Children as young as 5 but more commonly ages 12-16 work 15+ hour days and live in nearby huts with no care givers or access to education. The “cheap” labor is needed to keep up with both demand and low farmer wages. The average farmer will make ~$2/day so the children are paid little to nothing. The big players Hershey/Mars/Nestlé signed an agreement back on 2001 to be more diligent in the sourcing of their chocolate. Little has been done and there are no current consequences. What can we do? -Less overall consumption -Choose chocolate with “Fairtrade” or “Rainforest Alliance” logos, generally sourced in Latin America, among others. (Know this method is not 100% full proof)(logos in slide 2) -Choose a different hand out option. Temporary tattoos, homemade treats, stickers, fruit, raisins -Avoid chocolate when choosing a sweet treat Resources/post sources for ethical chocolate: Slavefreechocolate.org Foodispower.org/chocolate-list @alterecochocolate @Theochocolate Newmans Own Organics I just ask that you consider these things next time you need to treat your sweet tooth. As I come across more ethical resources I will share them. Please add your favorites to the comments for all to use 👇🏼 Purchase thoughtfully friends, Leslie ✌🏼

A post shared by Leslie Acevedo (@salt.light.provision) on

For more from Leslie, check out her website and Instagram.

4. Celebrate Sustainably: At School, Work & Home

Avoid the single-use cups, plates, cutlery and individually wrapped candies. Instead, ask everyone to bring their own plate/cup/fork and homemade goodies/treats or bulk candies to share. If there are regulations against homemade or non packaged goodies (we are so sorry- what is this world coming to?!?!) then maybe play some spooky music and buy a cake to share. We can all wash our plate and fork!

5. Save the Pumpkin!

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Don’t waste the pumpkin! All those gooey innards are often thrown out or at best, composted. But there are parts worth saving! The seeds are a delicious snack when baked. All you need to do is toss them in a little salt and oil and bake for about 45 min until golden brown. Yum! You can also cook the pumpkin flesh after you’ve carved it and make pumpkin pie! Here’s a quick link on how to do it.

6. Bulk Candy

If you are hosting a Halloween party or are someone who enjoys Halloween treats, skip the individually packaged candies and buy your favorites from a local bulk store. They double as lovely decor when set set out in jars. You are also more likely to avoid the previous human rights dilemma from tip #3. Win win!

7. Tone Down the Store Bought Decor

Wine bottles I up-cycled using paint and some left over twine

It’s tempting to buy those glittery pumpkins and spectacular wreaths all carefully placed at the front of the store. But the thing is, they aren’t necessary, at all. They just add to the clutter and eventually the landfill. If you have old decor, use it! If you feel really inclined to decorate with more, check out the thrift shop. And if you need to satisfy that creative side try a little DIY project. The more you use what you have already the better. 

8. Use Natural Decorations

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

Fall lends itself beautifully to using nature as decorations. Think leaves, pinecones, branches, cinnamon sticks, etc. Pinterest is full of ideas. Here are a few we love:

9. Stay Away From the Store

Marketing has us all by our wallets. Everything is cute, colourful and usually inexpensive. But it’s ultimately junk. As a teacher and parent it’s difficult to walk into the dollar store/grocery store and not want to purchase the adorable pumpkin erasers or witch stickers for the kiddos but I can resist, and so can you! The less you consume, the less your carbon footprint grows. 

10. Better Together

If you are wanting to do something a little off beat (i.e. not the prescribed “Hallmark Halloween”) invite friends to join in with you, You might feel less “unique” and you will help the earth in the process. The more people thinking and celebrating sustainably the better! For example: have a costume trading group, or make DIY nature decorations together, or organize a special block wide trick or treat with less waste treats/toys.

For more ideas on eco celebrations this fall, check out Heather’s post “Zero Waste September through December”.

What are your eco-friendly Halloween ideas or traditions? Let us know below!

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