Zero Waste

The Complete Guide to a Zero Waste Halloween (Plus an Infographic)

September 27, 2020
How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween: Decorate with pumpkins and autumn natural elements
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Eco-friendly Halloween Tips, Tricks, and Treats for a Zero Waste Halloween

During the holidays, it can be very easy to forget about waste and the environment. We get swept up in celebration and then too tired to clean up the mess. I’m guilty as charged. To avoid this repeated pattern, we have to plan to have an eco-friendly celebration. Here are my tips for a zero-waste Halloween! No tricks here!

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links to Etsy. This means that if you click on my link to make a purchase, I will get a small commission at no extra expense to you. You can read my Disclaimer and Privacy Policy for details.

Halloween Treat Ideas for Green Trick-or-Treaters

Halloween can be as traditional as you want it to be. The main goal is to delight trick-or-treaters! Most expect candies, but we all remember the houses that did something different in our childhoods. 

Be sure to find a reusable bag for your trick-or-treater’s treasures! You can make one yourself, find a preowned one, or find them on Etsy.

How to find ecofriendly wrapped candy for your zero waste halloween

Zero Waste Candies and Sweets

To offer zero-waste sweets, you must prioritize recyclable or compostable packaging! Finding eco-friendly packaged candies may mean you have to skip the usual plastic bagged options at the grocery store. However, you may be surprised by what is accessible to you!

Look for candies packaged in foil, cardboard boxes, aluminum tins, and waxed paper. The only issue that may come up with this is concerned parents and non-sealable packaging- a reasonable concern that may limit this list to you. Consider Hershey’s kisses, gum packets, Alter Eco chocolates, Junior Mints, Glee gum, foil-wrapped chocolate candies, Coconut Long Boys, and Nerds were among the eco-friendly packaged sweets I’ve found.

There are also less conventional sweets you could give out, such as mini raisins, fruits like clementines and apples, nutritional bars, rice Krispie treats, and sparkling canned drinks.

If you really want to become the go-to favorite house on the block, you could go all out with a popcorn machine with paper bags. 

zero waste alternatives to candies

Sweets and Candy Treats Alternatives

We all know of the houses that gave out toothbrushes instead of candy. You could carry on that tradition with bamboo toothbrushes. If that is too pricey, consider giving out reusable straws, loose change, mini puzzles, temporary tattoos, mini pumpkins, origami, nontoxic crayon sets, or even cool rocks and gemstones.

You could give away Halloween themed school supplies like erasers, pencils, mini notepads, and bookmarks. There’s even a movement to give out secondhand books called Books for Treats.

You can buy seed balls, seed bombs, or seed packets to encourage environmentalism. There are seed papers you can buy too that you can easily cut into the shape of bats. 

How to Create a Scary Good Costume

Costumes don’t have to be cheaply made outfits with plastic accessories you buy and throw away every year. 

Get Thrifty and Find Preowned Costumes

There are plenty of options for finding a preowned costume. A few places to check out are garage sales, thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, and eBay (select the “preowned” filter). 

You can even ask friends and family if they have leftover costumes you can borrow. 

Crafted Your Own DIY Zero Waste Halloween Costume

If you check out Pinterest, you will find a seemingly endless library of do-it-yourself costume ideas. These tutorials can quickly help you create a zero-waste Halloween costume. I made a Halloween Craft Ideas Pinterest board you can check out here to jump-start your search!

Support Small Business Artisans

Instead of making it yourself, you can support an artist on websites like Etsy. You will be supporting a solopreneurs’ business instead of a big nameless business and likely get something very unique. Here are a few highlights I found in a brief search. Small tip, search “cosplay” if you want to see some cool geekier costumes.

Porcupine costume
Glow in the dark skeleton costume

Become the most haunted house on the block

Some people have the most fun decorating their house in the spooky aesthetic. It was my favorite holiday to decorate the office space since you can go all out in creativity. Here’s how to make your haunted space more ecofriendly.

Use Natural, Autumn Elements

Besides pumpkins that you can make into jack-o-lanterns, you can make gourds as well. Utilizing autumn leaves, dried flowers, and hay bales are surprisingly effective in creating that Halloween mood.

Spooky candles for haunted houses

Craft Your Way to a Zero Waste Haunted House

I’m not the most craft-savvy person, but even these are doable. You can look at my Halloween Pinterest board for ideas too.

Play some music. I can’t exaggerate how cool having dark music and sound effects play int the background while giving away candy. It was a trick-or-treater favorite int he past.

For lighting, you can find vintage aesthetic candles and candlesticks. Battery-powered tea lights can be fun and manipulative lighting you can use.

Recycle jars and bottles to create apothecary-esque potions. There are plenty of potion labels you can print off Etsy too.
Printable potion bottle labels

You can print and cut bat shapes (or purchase off Etsy) to create your own bat colony. You can make them stick on walls or create them as garlands. You can also use cotton yarn to create spiderwebs.

Spooky Eyeball Markers
Spooky Eyeball Markers

Don’t forget signs and gravestones you can purchase or make. Nothing says Halloween like a sarcastic fake gravestone by your mailbox.

Your Thrift Store Probably Has Plenty of Options

It should be reasonably easy to find preowned Halloween decorate to use for decoration. When I was a student, it was my go-to spot to decorate for holidays cheaply. You can also check garage sales, eBay using the preowned filter, and Facebook Marketplace.

One Last Tip: Offer A Recycling Bin. Consider Getting a TerraCycle Box

Having a readily available recycling bin to trick-or-treaters can remind them to make smart decisions with their leftovers. After all, if we want an eco-friendly community, we have to make it easy for people!

TerraCycle is a box you toss your snack wrappers, and the company will recycle them! You can order on their website here. It’s an excellent zero-waste solution to have around during the season.

I hope these tips help you all in having a fun Halloween! I wish every a safe, spooky, and zero waste Halloween! For more awesome guides, check out this guide on reusable paper towels.

The Zero Waste Halloween Infographic

Zero Waste Halloween Tips, Tricks, and Treats!


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