Want to hear something spooky? Last year, Americans spent more than $8 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations for Halloween. Unfortunately, many of the items used on October 31 end up in the trashcan on November 1—and eventually make their way to landfills and oceans. Here are some tips for ensuring your Halloween festivities are as sustainable as possible this year:
1. Purchase eco-friendly candy. Instead of buying the traditional brands, opt for candy made with sustainable packaging and processes, such as YumEarth. Treats made without palm oil are also preferable, as palm oil production is a major contributor to deforestation.
2. Offer a non-candy alternative to your trick-or-treaters to reduce plastic wrapper waste, such as homemade baked goods, crayons, sidewalk chalk, or mini pumpkins. You could even treat the neighborhood kids to a fun game or activity.
3. Take time to think about how much candy you’ll realistically need, and buy candy that you will want to eat yourself if you’re stuck with leftovers so it doesn’t all end up in the garbage.
4. Purchase a Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle to make sure your plastic candy wrappers are properly recycled. You could also buy candy that comes in recyclable cartons rather than plastic wrappers—and remind your trick-or-treaters to recycle the boxes.
5. Rent your costume instead of buying it. Several costume websites offer rental options so you don’t have to throw it in the trash after just one use.
6. If you’re feeling crafty, create a DIY costume from clothes and materials you already own. Check out our Pinterest for some great DIY costume inspiration.
7. Thrift your costume, or buy one that you won’t end up throwing in the garbage can—if you can keep, sell, swap, repurpose, or donate it, it will be much less wasteful than throwing it away.
8. Host a costume swap with friends, families, or neighbors to take advantage of each other’s closets.
9. Use natural, eco-friendly makeup and glitter for costumes, such as Natural Earth Paint or Bioglitter.
10. Wear an eco-themed costume to spark conversations about the climate! Ideas could include a recycling hero, a solar panel, a wind turbine, Greta Thunberg, the Lorax, Mother Nature, or a polluted ocean.
11. Decorate your home with real, natural materials (preferably locally grown), such as pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, leaves, pinecones, and fall mums.
12. Carve your pumpkins rather than painting them. Once painted, pumpkins need to be thrown away, whereas carved pumpkins can be composted. You can also use the scraps to make anything from pumpkin risotto to pumpkin body scrub.
13. Turn out the lights and use candles or LED Halloween lights to save energy and get a spooky feel! Try to use candles made from soy, vegetable wax, or beeswax instead of paraffin to be extra eco-friendly.
While all of these are great ways to reduce your impact on the environment, one of the best things you can do is make the switch to clean energy. Have a safe, fun, and sustainable Halloween!