How to Have a More Sustainable Halloween

It’s no secret to any of us that when the holidays come to town, they leave enormous piles of waste in their midst. Halloween is a major contributor to this problem, with synthetic fabric costumes made to wear only one night, plastic decorations that are only trendy for one year, and all of those plastic candy wrappers. But it doesn’t have to be this way for you.

Now I know that whether or not Halloween will happen this year is still a widely debated topic with COVID-19, but with the innovations of wearing face masks under costume masks and social distancing parties, and of course the people who will act like there isn’t a global pandemic happening, I decided that this was as good of time as any for me to put out this list. Some of these topics I will go into more depth in later posts, and I will link to them as they come out.

Secondhand/Closet Costumes.

I’ve never quite understood why some of the cheapest made Halloween costumes will end up costing people over $50. Personally, I don’t want to spend $50 on something that I will only wear for one night and smells like burnt plastic. For the past two years, I have done myself a favor, and tried my best to create my own costumes, whether from items that I already have in my closet, or by shopping secondhand for them.

The way that I do this is by going to Pinterest and just looking up Halloween costumes. There’s a plethora of ideas there and I can almost always find a character or idea that seems to match up with things that I already have in my closet, sans a few things.

Using things from your closet is great because you don’t even have to go out and buy something new. Shopping secondhand is great because it saves those clothes from going to waste and gives them a second life. A lot of times, I try to make sure that what I’m buying for a costume secondhand can be something that I also can wear and use in my everyday life.

If you don’t want to do the closet costume with your own clothes, then there are always second hand stores with donated costumes that can do the trick for you.

I’m going to have a full article on this soon and some easy ideas for your own closet costumes.

Use Natural and Reusable Things to Decorate

Again, Pinterest is an amazing source for ways to make your house cute and autumnal with little carbon footprint. Mini pumpkins and decorative gourds are one of my favorites for decorating in the fall, since they can easily biodegrade.

This is another area where getting crafty is of great help. There are countless tutorials on how to take waste and create cute little decorations.

Another way to make any holiday more sustainable is to purchase decorations that you will actually want to reuse. My mother use to be notorious for her holiday tablecloths that she would cycle through throughout the year. She also had ceramic figurines that she would place on tables, and she still has retro window hangings made from what they used to call “plastic popcorn.”

Sustainable Candy

I will definitely have a more full-fledged post about this too, but looking to brands that have compostable packaging and are fair trade can help you alleviate some waste when it comes to Halloween.

These sustainably sourced chocolate companies offer mini pieces perfect for trick-or-treaters, using all-natural, fair trade, and/or organic ingredients:

Purchase Locally Grown Pumpkins

Buying pumpkins from your local farmer’s markets and roadside stand support local growers and also lowers your carbon footprint, since it takes less resources to buy a locally grown pumpkin versus one that was shipped to your Hy-Vee.

Turn Lights Off… Use Candles Instead!

Candles just make everything spookier. Save on your own energy bills by using less electricity, turning off half of the lights in your house, and having a few nights by candlelight.

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