Halloween can be a fun and frightening time of year. But it can also be a time of year when the sea of plastic waste can become overwhelming. For those of us trying to live a zero waste lifestyle – it is the waste around this holiday that is truly terrifying. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce waste and avoid environmental disaster. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a Halloween that is as sustainable and close to zero waste as possible:
Enjoy the Seasonal Harvest Around Halloween
Looking for fun family activities around Halloween? Why not visit a pumpkin patch, or a local apple orchard. There are plenty of ways to get outdoors and to enjoy the wholesome produce of the season. This is not only a fun day out, it can also be a great way to support sustainable local food producers, and teach kids where food comes from.
Cook Up a Zero Waste Halloween Feast
If you have some family or friends coming round on Halloween night, a great way to go zero waste is to cook up fresh, local produce from scratch rather than buying processed foods. If you don't already grow your own, think about starting to. But you can still shop at a markets market or farm shop to pick up some plastic-free produce to cook and share. Think about how you can use seasonal favorites such as squash, pumpkins, apples and fall berries to create some ghoulish recipes.
Create Some DIY Zero Waste Halloween Treats
The DIY approach should not end there. One of the biggest problems faced by families on Halloween are all the plastic-wrapped chocolates and sweets. Rather than giving out store bought candy this year, consider making some sweet treats of your own to hand out. There are plenty of great recipe ideas out there to choose from. By making your own treats, you can also control the sugar content – and perhaps make things a little healthier too.
Purchase Pre-Loved Halloween Costumes
You can also take a creative, DIY approach to Halloween costumes. This year, rather than buying synthetic costumes from a store, think about making your own. Raiding your own wardrobes, and visiting local thrift stores, can often yield plenty of materials and spark off some cool costume ideas.
You could even consider using items to make a costume that would otherwise be thrown away. Or using leaves, branches and other natural materials from your garden.
DIY Non-Toxic Face Paint to Complete Your Costume
Let's make your character even more spooky and alive with homemade face paint that is non-toxic, safe to use, and of course zero-waste.
- 1 tablespoon of mild body lotion
- 2 tablespoons of corn (maize) starch/flour
- 1 tablespoon water
- Food coloring / powder eyeshadow / natural colorants such as blueberry, beets, turmeric, spinach, and squid ink.
Sustainable Zero Waste Decoration Ideas for Your Home
Of course, you can decorate your home using pumpkins, squash, gourds, and other fruits and vegetables from your garden. Carve a traditional pumpkin or two – but don't waste the insides. Scoop out some flesh to eat, perhaps, especially if you have home-grown or local, organic ones. And be sure to save those seeds to roast as a delicious snack. You could also make shrunken apple 'heads', and be creative with home grown or locally sourced foods in other ways.
You could also upcycle and reuse a range of different items and materials to make decorations for your home. For example, you might be able to enjoy some crafts with kids using old plastic packaging, newspaper, scrap paper, old magazines etc., and old clothing. Use some old black hose and an old black T-shirt to sow a giant spider, for example, or make ghosts from old white sheeting... If you use your imagination, using old items to make decorations for your home this Halloween could be a lot of fun.
Recycle Candy Wrappers
No matter how careful you are to avoid plastic waste in your own home, others are not always so careful. So if your kids are going out trick or treating, they may well come home laden with plastic wrapped goodies. Recycle candy wrappers through Terracycle.com, or upcycle them in craft projects with your kids.
These tips are just a few of the ways to make sure you can continue on your zero waste journey this Halloween. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to have a great time without it costing the earth - literally or metaphorically.