Best ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Halloween

by Kate Hall October 22, 2018

Best ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Halloween

Once a year, we put pumpkins on our porches, give candy to children wearing scary costumes, freak out our neighbours with skeleton decorations we bought from the two-dollar shop, and attend numerous dress up parties.

Oh yes, you called it… it’s nearly time for Halloween!

Halloween was once a pagan festival, celebrated to remember the dead. It’s now one of the biggest events celebrated worldwide. From Japan to Germany, Australia to America, everyone’s getting on the Halloween buzz whether they understand it’s meaning or not.

Just like every global celebration, Halloween brings with it disposable decorations, single use items, and ultimately a whole lot of waste. Fortunately for the planet, Halloween can be celebrated with respect for the planet.

Wanting to celebrate your first eco-friendly Halloween but feel stuck in the mud?

Here’s how:

Zero-waste Pumpkin

What is Halloween without a pumpkin? Although it’s less of a tradition over here in the Southern Hemisphere, carving out the insides of a pumpkin, and modelling it into a scary looking face, is the epitome of Halloween.

Generally, the insides of a pumpkin are thrown into the trash, and the hollow pumpkin that sits on your porch scaring children, is thrown in a few days or weeks later.

Introducing… the zero-waste pumpkin!

It’s easy to use the inside of the pumpkin to cook and blend into soups, roast the seeds for tossing in salads or muesli, and discard the ‘pumpkin scull’ in the compost once you’re finished scaring children. If you don’t have a compost bin at your home, ask a neighbour who does, or enquire at your local council for compost collection and/or drop off services.

Zerowaste pumpkin halloween

Sustainable Costumes

In the US, $2.6 billion is spent on Halloween costumes annually; most worn only for one night before they end up in landfill.

Don’t add to that statistic.

  1. Rent or borrow: find a friend, and trade costumes from the year before. If you’re aiming for best dressed, suss out your local costume hire.
  2. DIY: you’ll be surprised at what you can scavenge around your house, I promise!
  3. Reuse: Halloween costumes are generally only worn once, so the quality of costumes in thrift stores, are incredible. Get thrifty, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Healthy Treats

If you’re opting for a treat instead of a trick (how lovely of you!), give treats that encourage health. Your local organic store may have some ideas, or compare sugar levels per 100 grams on packets at the supermarket.

Zerowaste Halloween ideas

Low-waste Treats

Hygiene standards mean wrapped treats are recommended during Halloween. Thankfully, we have eco options!

  • Foil candy wrappers, like Hershey’s Kisses, are recyclable
  • Biodegradable wrappers are becoming more popular: check the box or packet labelling
  • Bulk bin stores offer wrapped candy, not reducing waste altogether, but taking away the huge plastic bag they come wrapped in
  • Gift a coin or a piece of Lego instead

Reusable Decorations

Toss the idea of buying decorations from the two-dollar shop: how boring and unoriginal! DIY decorations can be made once, and used yearly. Creating your own decorations will bring more fun to this crazy holiday, and make your home stand out.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started

  • Upcycle toilet rolls
  • Stuff your old white stockings with sand or paper, so the bottom bulges out. Draw or glue spiders to the outside, making it look like a full spider’s egg nest (instructions here to adapt)
  • Solar powered LED lights (save power and the planet)
  • Straw and hay bales
  • Halloween inspired bunting

If you’re time poor or lack creative energy, head to your local thrift store for more decorations.

Halloween creates waste; there’s no way around it. Whilst it would be awesome to see no wrappers, healthy candy, neighbourhoods decked out in handcrafted decorations, and creative costumes borrowed, that’s not reality.

Do your best with what you have in front of you, encourage others to make small changes too, and don’t be that crazy lady running after children with organic fruit and a lecture on plastic.

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Kate Hall
Kate Hall


Kate is a word smith, kombucha addict, serial smiler, and zero waste enthusiast. She believes life's too short to think of yourself as one tiny person who can't make change. Slow fashion and green living are what gets her up in the morning, and her hand-raised bird will forever be found nuzzling into her shoulder.

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