Is it even possible to have an eco-friendly Halloween?
Halloween has become another huge consumer holiday in our culture; with expectations of brand new bright and flashy costumes every year and front lawns covered in giant blow-up Halloween decorations. And don't even get us started on the exorbitant amounts of plastic wrapped candies that get handed out to trick or treaters!
Despite these trends, it is VERY possible and often MORE cost-effective to have a low waste Halloween.
Here are 3 ways to reduce your environmental impact this Halloween:
Have you ever visited a Value Village prior to Halloween? Yes, they have scads of brand new costumes, masks and accessories all sealed in plastic BUT they also have a huge selection of used costumes at great prices.
You can also DIY a costume from things you already have on hand. This is a great way to get creative and wow your friends with something unique.
Lastly, ask around for a costume to borrow! This is especially a great tip for families, as many children love to play dress-up and have costumes on hand just waiting to be worn!
All of these options are great ways to reduce, reuse AND save a little money!
Post-Halloween, keep costumes from hitting the landfills by adding them to your child's dress-up box, or donating them to a thrift store near you.
Avoid dollar store decor and make your own decorations from household items. Recently we put together a blog post of 7 easy mason jar crafts for Fall which features a variety of different DIY decor ideas.
While not all of these are 100% eco-friendly, many of these projects use ordinary household items and all of these can be saved and reused again year after year!
Decorate with pumpkins purchased from a local farm. Carved or not, pumpkins are a great way to decorate for Halloween and the Fall season. Best of all, they are completely waste free and can be added to your compost when it's time to swap to Christmas decor.
If you are handing out candy, choose treats wrapped in recyclable materials and avoid plastic wrap. Although the options are limited, you will be able to find at least one or two options packaged in cardboard instead of plastic! Smarties, Junior Mints and Nerds all come in cardboard boxes, or you could hand out cans of pop.
If you live in a tight-knit community, bake treats or purchase bulk candies (using reusable bags of course!) and package them in glass mason jars or recyclable paper bags. Be sure to include a little note with your name so that parents know who the open candy is from. You could even include an encouraging message about eco-friendly treats!
Find an alternative to candy like Halloween pencils or paper notebooks. Kids get SO much candy they will be excited to have a unique usable item in their stash (and their parents will probably be happy that there is something sugar free!).
Now, you're probably thinking, ok, these are all great suggestions for handing out candy, but how do I avoid wasteful packaging that my kids will bring home from trick or treating?
Before you take your kids out trick or treating take the opportunity to talk about how to make environmentally friendly choices. Often kids will be given a choice of treats and a gentle reminder can help them make choices with their heads and not just their stomaches ;)
Take it one step further and write to your favorite candy company asking them to consider recyclable alternative packaging! You never know when your words might make a difference.
Making low waste choices doesn't have to feel like a burden and it doesn't always cost you more money. This Halloween, will you consider how just a few small shifts can make an impact on your family and neighbourhood for years to come?