Trick or Treat! Halloween is coming and there is no shortage of Halloween plastic from plastic trick-or-treat bags, plastic pumpkins, plastic decorations, plastic costumes, to plastic candy wrappers. However, with a few small changes, we can reduce the amount of Halloween plastic used and wasted during this time of year. We’ve got great ideas for a plastic-free and more eco-friendly Halloween!
Plastic-Free Halloween Decorations
Did you know Halloween is the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year? Typical Halloween decorations often include synthetic spiderwebs, black plastic spider rings, plastic pumpkins and skeletons, and more. Sadly, many of these decorations are made of non-recyclable plastics and are tossed out on November 1st.
There are many plastic-free decoration options to use as alternatives! If you loved decorating with store-bought items, try and pick out durable ones that will last for many Halloweens. If you are feeling crafty, here’s a few green Halloween decorating ideas:
- Ghosts: Stuff old bedsheets with leaves or newspaper, tie with a string to form a head and hang from trees.
- Spiderwebs: Weave a spider web of natural twine or yarn near your entryway. Just be sure to select organic cotton or other eco-friendly yarns.
- Bats: Cut your own from black paper and hang them around to frighten your guests.
- Go a bit more natural and choose edible and compostable decorations like colorful gourds, sunflowers, dried fall leaves, wheat, or even a bale of hay.
- Carved pumpkins in all styles of jack-o-lanterns are always a great decoration. If you do carve a traditional pumpkin, be sure to roast the seeds! It’s easy!
- Place a scarecrow in your yard using some old shabby clothes and a jack-o-lantern head.
Did you know that 85% of costumes thrown away in landfills every Halloween in the US alone? Skip the Halloween megastore and all of the cheap plastic costumes wrapped in plastic bags. Instead, check out these greener Halloween costume ideas:
- Make your own costume out of clothes they are about to outgrow or cardboard boxes. Pinterest is full of ideas.
- Borrow from family and friends. Bring out the bins full of old costumes and get the neighborhood together for a costume share. Besides saving money, you will be reusing items and giving old costumes a new life.
- Go hunting for fun clothing and accessories at a thrift shop. During this time of year, many thrift stores set up a whole section dedicated to dress-up costumes.
- Rent a costume. Consider renting a costume from a local costume shop or checking out the many costume rental companies online.
- After the festivities are over, consider donating your costume. If your community hasn’t started a costume swap there’s probably a school, local theater troupe, shelter or center that just might love those butterfly wings or a knight’s costume.
- Know what’s in your Halloween face paint and fake blood! Many of the face paints sold are contaminated by heavy metals including lead and cadmium. Considre splurging on organic, non-toxic face paints or try making them at home. Fake blood can also contain toxic ingredients but you can make fake blood from natural products like cream cheese and cherry juice or cornstarch and natural food coloring. And be sure to check out our DIY makeup remover recipe using Plaine Products Face Wash.
Skip the plastic bags or plastic pumpkins for collecting candy while trick-or-treating. There are so many other options to choose from rather than plastic. Try using cloth bags, pillowcases, and natural wooden or wicker baskets.
The scariest part of Halloween might be the individually-wrapped in plastic treats! Unfortunately, most candy wrappers are not easily recyclable because they are made from a mix of materials, including polypropylene, aluminum foil, and paper. Here are some alternative treat ideas that cut back on plastic candy wrapper waste:
- Save our butterflies and plant milkweed! Save Our Monarchs is selling 100 packets of Halloween themed milkweed seeds for just $35!
- Buy a large box of jumbo sidewalk chalks and let kids pick their favorite color. Bonus – it’s suitable for kids with allergies or dietary restrictions.
- Choose non-plastic wrapped candy. Look for candy wrapped in paper boxes or foil so they can be recycled. Some ideas for plastic-free candies include Nerds, Junior Mints, Dots, Hershey kisses, and other foil-wrapped chocolates from the bulk bins.
- Skip the plastic-wrapped sugary candy altogether and opt for something more interesting and creative to hand out to the kids. Alternatives to candy include pencils and erasers, crayons, temporary tattoos, coins, boxed raisins, craft supplies, magic tricks, or homemade slime.
- Recycle candy wrappers. Recycle your candy wrappers by participating in Terracycle’s Candy and Snack Wrappers Zero Waste Box.
How will you make your Halloween more plastic-free? We’d love to see what you come up with for creative costumes, decorating ideas, and treats! Send us your pictures or tag us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest.