Growing up, Halloween was the BEST! But as you get older & into eco-living, you soon realize this once epic holiday is actually pretty scary when it comes to consumerism-produced waste. Plastic everywhere and toxic candy is indeed terrifying, but have no fear! We have created a list of ways you can avoid contributing to waste this year.
1. Trick or Treat “Candy”
- Fruit – We love the idea of handing out fruit like oranges, bananas, or apples rather than plastic-wrapped candy.
- Licorice Root Stick– Did you chew on these sticks as kids? I bet no one else in your neighborhood will be giving these yummy sticks away! Kids love them and they also have many health benefits such as soothing the stomach and reducing stress.
- Seed packets – Gifting goodies such as tomato seeds or native flower seeds are a real treat and do not have to cost much! You can purchase organic seed packets in cardboard packaging, or you can simply keep seeds after consuming the veggies and fruit in your fridge.
- Coins- Pennies and nickles can be a fun way to ditch the chemical-filled plastic. Even dress up as a tooth fairy to make it even more fun!
- Plastic wrapped candy- Conventional candy isn’t beneficial for the kid’s health or the environment… it’s a double no! But if you do participate in the conventional candy culture, you can collect those hard-to-recycle candy wrappers and purchase one of Terracycle’s candy-and-snack-wrapper Zero Waste boxes. Simply stuff it with candy wrappers, and ship it back for recycling.
- Foil-wrapped/boxed candy- Although this could be better for the environment if properly disposed of, only 9% of trash + recyclables are properly discarded. It’s truly best to just forgo these types of sweets.
Plastic toys or favors- Conventional consumerism at its finest. These plastic toys will most likely be played with for a couple of weeks then end up in the landfill! Stick to gifting fruit (:
- Second-hand- Go to a huge thrift store with a few costume ideas in mind.
- Get creative- Use what you already have. Make your own costume from natural fabrics & repurpose items you already own. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials showing how to transform regular clothing into costumes.
- Borrow: This is what friends and family are for!! We are sure at least someone you know has a cool costume you can borrow. (: You can gather a group of friends + family to swap old costumes with. Even make it a fun get-together/tradition and have everyone bring a healthy zero-waste snack, kombucha, and old costumes.
- New Clothing- Unfortunately, unless stated otherwise, most clothing pieces are not ethically sourced and created by workers overseas that are treated poorly/slaved away for little money. If you do choose to buy new, purchase organic and fair trade.
- New Leather/Suede/Feathers- No animals need to be harmed for this celebration!
Plastic Costumes- Avoid costumes made with PVC/vinyl, which are more likely to be contaminated with chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system… aka, create hormone imbalance!
- Use Natural Materials- Decorate your home with pumpkins, gourds, and sun-dried autumn leaves. There are so many ways to decorate your house using other natural materials such as dried corn on the cob, hay, sticks, etc.
- Sustainable Jack-O-Lantern: When we were growing up, carving pumpkins were messy and wasteful! But that is not the case anymore. There really is no need to throw out any part of the pumpkin. The seeds can be roasted or planted. The inside of the pumpkin can be composted, juiced, or eaten.
- Reuse Old Decorations: It’ll save you money and keep these items out of the landfill.
- Spider Web Decorations- They are deadly to wildlife. Every year wildlife rehabilitation centers respond to calls of wildlife being injured and killed because of Halloween decorations and the other accouterments that go with the holiday.
- Glitter– This harmful plastic pollutes wildlife ecosystems and leaches into waterways.
- Purchasing New Decorations- Again, if you want to spruce up your house, hit the thrift store to find amazing, pre-owned decor!
- If you do not choose to eat your pumpkin, do not forget to compost all of the pumpkin & squash decorations rather than throwing them in the trash! Some cities even host “pumpkin smashes” where the community gets together to smash pumpkins & then the remanence is brought to a local community garden/animal sanctuary to use as compost or animal feed.