Celebrations & Events Sustainable Living

The Ultimate Sustainable Halloween Guide

Halloween is one of the most memorable times in a child’s life. The sights, smells, and costumes linger throughout a lifetime. Of course, nothing is more fun than a spooky silly Halloween party! A gathering of friends and family in costumes enjoying delicious treats is sure to be the highlight of the year.

If you’re planning on hosting a Halloween party for your kiddo this year, you might have already realised it requires a lot of purchasing, which makes an eco halloween seem impossible. From decorations to plates and cups to costumes, it can be difficult to throw a sustainable Halloween party. It’s easy to get sucked into cleverly marketed rubbish that you’ll never use again and is a drain on the planet. 

All the cheap decor and disposable dishes come from precious resources and are often made by people who are paid next to nothing. No one wants to contribute to that! One night of fun shouldn’t take up to 500 years to decompose. But how do you have a great Hallowee, with less waste, without sacrificing fun? 

Thankfully, there is a way to make Halloween sustainable and fun with this handy guide. Eco Halloween is far less complicated than it seems, it just takes a little magic… and by that we mean thinking differently! In fact, making Halloween kinder to the planet can actually be more fun for you and your family. Without further ado, it’s time to get creative!

Sustainable Halloween Costumes

In the UK, 90% of people plan to purchase Halloween costumes. 7 million costumes will be thrown away each year. In fact, less than 1% will be recycled into new costumes. Talk about tricks.

Instead of raking over the cash for harmful plastics, there are a few alternatives that are equally cute and sustainable. 

  • Make your own: Check out what you already have and see if you get inspired. There are tons of costumes that can be made from what you already own simply and tastefully. We think you could Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo most of these costumes from your wardrobes and some face paint: Pumpkin, Cat, Witch, Scarecrow, Bat (Broken umbrellas can be used for wings), Mickey or Minnie Mouse (if you don’t have play ears, stick some onto a headband), Clown, Cowgirl or Cowboy, Wizard of Oz Character, Skeleton, Harry Potter (you can use school uniform for this!). 
  • Renting: Rented costumes come with far more options and are far better made than store-bought costumes.
  • Swapping with Friends: Organise a costume swap with your friends and their kiddos! Everyone will have tons of fun “shopping”.
  • Buy from Charity Shops: You can always get good deals from charity shops, but especially just after Halloween. You can start planning for next year easily. 

Eco-friendly, homemade face paints

For a fun and sustainable halloween activity with your little ones why not try making your own natural face paints! All you’ll need for the dye is some vegetable scraps – think beetroot or some leftover spinach, and water. Just plonk them in a saucepan and simmer for an hour, after which allow it to cool and strain through a cheesecloth. You’ll be left with natural homemade dyes that you can use for various things. 

To turn your dyes into face paint you’ll need: equal parts face lotion and cornstarch, along with ¼ teaspoon of vegetable oil and your dyes. Simply mix the lotion and cornstarch until a thick mixture forms, then add in your oil, separate your base mix into smaller tubs (so you can make several colours), and then just add a few drops of your desired colour of dye. And there you have it, a fun activity for the kids and some serious eco credentials all in one!

sustainable and eco halloween ghost costume, made from old bedsheets

How to Avoid Tricky Treats

Every Halloween, most of us pack a bowl full of sweets and chocolate for trick or treaters, and the amount of wrapping and packing really adds up. Lots of fiddly, individually wrapped sweets inside a plastic wrap and then inside a box?! It’s excessive, and makes halloween not so eco-friendly. However – if you want to opt for a less wasteful handout this year, why not make something yourself? You could do it as a fun activity with your little ones and it could even become a zero-waste household tradition! 

Make your own treats 

Cupcakes and other treats that don’t need to be wrapped up are a fun surprise with far less waste. Here are some of our favourite recipes for this halloween:

Eerie Eyeball Pops

Spider Biscuits

Chocolate Apples

Mummy Cupcakes

Boo! Bites

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Skeleton Gingerbread Men

Think Outside the Candy Box

Offering recyclable craft kits or toys is a fun way to avoid the waste of candy and give something useful to the kids.

Why not get some silicone Halloween themed moulds (these can be used all year round for ice cubes, etc.), melt any broken crayons and pour into the moulds to set. You’ll be left with small halloween themed crayons which can be handed out as an alternative to edible treats. The moulds can even be used to pour melted chocolate into for those that aren’t willing to forego a traditional sweet treat.

Opt for Fair Trade and Organic

If you choose to stick with candy, look for fair trade and organic to cut down on the environmental impact.

Bonus tip! Instead of using a plastic bucket for collecting treats, try using a pillowcase or reusable bag instead. In fact, decorating an old pillowcase with your little one is even more fun than a plain old plastic bucket. Try it out!

sustainable halloween homemade treats

Eco-friendly Halloween Decorations

People don’t tend to save their Halloween decorations year to year and due to their flimsy nature and cost. This accounts for a huge amount of waste going straight into a landfill. Instead, try making your own as a family project. Paper garlands, posters, painted mason jars with lights, there are so many simple crafts you can make that look amazing!

Why not have a rummage in your recycling and use any bits of cardboard for some spooky decorations? You can upcycle cardboard to create cutouts shaped like skeletons, tombstones, or ghosts, the possibilities are endless. You could even repurpose toilet paper rolls to create bats. Here are some more ideas:

  • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
  • Paint foam peanuts (packing materials) and turn them into worms
  • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves and branches in the garden, etc
  • Don’t forget dramatic music and set the TV to a spooky video of a haunted house

Things to keep in mind

If you do buy items we hope you opt for those that can be packed away and used each year. And don’t forget that if you’re using candles to light up your pumpkins then soy-based or beeswax candles are better than paraffin-based ones.

Bonus tip! When you finish carving your pumpkins for decoration, the seeds can be oven- roasted for a delicious healthy snack. Season with a little salt for a good source of B12 everyone can enjoy. Alternatively, if your family aren’t pumpkin fans, why not carve a watermelon instead?

Check out our blog for more eco-friendly party ideas here!

Best Eco Halloween Party Activities

No party is complete without food and games. Make your party the best, most sustainable Halloween ever with tricks and treats around! When it comes to serving your guests, use your usual plates and cups instead of disposable ones. Just make sure your dishwasher is empty before the party so you can easily load it afterward. 

Avoid overbuying food to negate leftovers. Ask that your guests RSVP so that you know how many people to expect. This will aid in letting you know how many activities you need to plan as well. 

Some of the most sustainable activities have less than three required items. Activities like The Donut on a String challenge, apple bobbing, and pumpkin painting are all perfect choices. These games are great because adults and kids can all participate. The more the merrier!

Once the kids are in bed and you’re trying to not sneak a few of their chocolates, we think you should treat yourself and watch a Halloween movie classic

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

When lots of people start to make small changes, it can make a big difference for our planet and our mindset. You can make a difference by giving your child everything they need without buying a single item. When you rent instead of buy you’re choosing a more sustainable future and a healthier planet for all.

Creating traditions with your children like costume swaps, making decorations, and creating new treats together, can negate waste and improve the future. Talk to your little ones about how recycling can help the planet and encourage them to help come up with new ideas for an eco halloween celebration. We’re all in this together, so it’s never too early to start talking about sustainable living. 

You can rent everything your child needs for as long as they need it through Y’earn. More love, less landfill. Try it out today!

Enjoy Halloween as a family… and a community!

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If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.

Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities.  We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.

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