Kids & Company Blog

50 Tips and Tricks to Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween

From fast-fashion costumes to cheap plastic decorations to tons (literally) of individually wrapped treats, October can wreak havoc on more than a scaredy cat’s nerves. But it doesn’t have to: With a little effort and some help from your little monsters, eco-conscious families can make some simple changes to their howling habits for a low-waste but still highly entertaining holiday.

Here are 50 ways your family can have a more sustainable Halloween:

Costumes and Decorations:

  1. Find “new to you” items from a nonprofit or thrift store, or Facebook marketplace.
  2. Make your own costume from recycled or upcycled materials.
  3. Use non-toxic face paints and makeup for Halloween costumes.
  4. Consider making an eco-conscious statement by choosing a costume like Mother Earth (head-to-toe green and brown), a rain cloud (cover an umbrella with white tulle), or The Lorax from Dr. Seuss (orange clothes and a mustache).
  5. Look for decorations at farmers markets and/or made by local artisans.
  6. Recycle costumes from siblings and friends.
  7. When creating or buying, choose natural, organic, or upcycled materials. (Synthetic materials can take years to break down.)
  8. Before purging closets and arts & crafts, ask yourself if something can be used for a costume. (Think: bedding, pillow cases, clothing, sports equipment, winter accessories, packing material like foam peanuts and styrofoam, cardboard boxes, etc.)
  9. Collect items from Mother Nature like pumpkins, gourds, branches and leaves.
  10. Pack away as much as possible and reuse next year.
  11. Donate your old outfits and gear to an organization or persons in need, or keep them in a dress up trunk for future fun any time of year!
  12. Shop for next year once the sales start in November to avoid seeing the unpurchased items end up in landfill (and save yourself some money).

PRO TIP: Pack away decorations properly! Be sure to detangle, label, wrap and organize them to avoid a headache next time.


13. Look for items that come in packaging that is compostable or recyclable.

14. Choose organic, non-GMO, fair trade and/or ethically sourced options. (You’d be surprised how readily available they are, which is making them more economical now, too.)

15. Give homemade treats whenever and wherever you can. (Even if it just cuts down the consumption by a small percentage, it still helps!) Be sure to ask your friends, families, schools, child care centre and party hosts if paper goody bags with bulk candy or homemade treats are permitted.

16. Donate a portion of your nonperishable treats to food banks or shelters (or less fortunate loved ones) but check with them first as not all items are accepted.

17. Hand out non-food items like stickers or crayons.

18. Use reusable or biodegradable trick-or-treat bags -- like good, old-fashioned pillow cases! Have some fun and decorate them as a family activity and save them for next year -- or better yet, actually use them on your beds.

19. Think “outside the bag” and use an oversized purse or backpack.

20. Buy locally produced candies.

21. Recycle candy wrappers into a craft project.

22. Don’t feel pressured to give out tons and tons of candy. Less truly is more when it comes to our environment.

23. Consider including some vegan treats.

24. Instead of trick or treating, attend (or host) a Halloween-themed event.


25. Send digital invitations.

26. Use real, reusable or biodegradable dishes, cups and cutlery instead of disposable ones.

27. Encourage carpooling or public transportation to reduce emissions from guests' travel.

28. Plan your Halloween menu carefully to minimize food waste.

29. Compost food scraps.

PRO TIP: Make it easy for guests to recycle and compost by setting up clearly labeled bins.

30. Get creative in the kitchen and pack up leftovers in reusable containers for future use (or freeze treats for your next soireé).

31. Avoid filling bowls with packaged candies and make homemade treats instead.  (They make better table decorations, too.) Make it a potluck and ask guests to contribute.

32. Serve locally sourced and seasonal foods. (You’ll be supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon footprint of your event.)

33. Since partygoers will be friends and family, hit your local bulk food store and display treats that aren't pre-wrapped.

Pumpkins and Jack-o’-Lanterns:

34. Choose locally-grown (organic if possible) pumpkins. (Or grow your own if you can!)

35. Beauty lovers can make an exfoliating facial scrub using 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée, 1 tbsp of organic honey and ½ cup of finely ground oatmeal.

36. If you don't care for the taste of pumpkin, use a watermelon instead.

37. Use beeswax or soy candles to light up your creations.

38. Use energy-efficient and longer-lasting LED lights (or better yet, invest in some solar-powered ones).

39. Dispose of them responsibly: Put them in your compost, garden or green bin.  

PRO TIP: No composter or green bin? All you need is a shady spot in a garden or natural area. (If you have the space, smash ‘em then cover with leaves or wood chips.)

40. Roast the seeds for a tasty and waste-free snack.

41. Chef it up and make pumpkin pie, bread or muffins with the flesh, or toss some into pasta with some butter and sage.

42. Share with the birds. Collect pumpkin seeds, allow them to dry for a day or two, and scatter them outside or add them to a birdfeeder. You can even use the shell of the pumpkin as a feeding vessel: Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the innards, and fill the halves with bird seed, pumpkin seeds, or both.

43. After the holiday, donate pumpkins to a local zoo or farm  (but it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure the one you are thinking of will accept them).

44. Plant or keep the seeds for future pumpkins.

45. Spread some cheer by carving pumpkins and delivering them to a local retirement home, long term care facility or a high-risk family that may need a pick-me-up. (It’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure the gesture is appreciated.)

EASY PUMPKINS SEED RECIPE: Scoop out all the seeds. Clean them off. Toss in oil. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning (consider cinnamon and sugar, salt and pepper, or Old Bay). Lie them flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast at 350F/175C, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Other ideas:

46. Share tips and ideas with your friends and neighbors to spread the message and educate others.

47. If trick or treating close to home isn’t an option, encourage friends and neighbors to carpool.

48. Consider collecting money for UNICEF and other charities. Most accept virtual donations. For example, through UNICEF, $50 can provide 11,882 water purification tablets to ensure families have access to safe water.

49. Be a superstar and host a sustainable Halloween costume swap party.

50. Bring along a litter bag and collect garbage while chaperoning little ones.

With all of the ways to be more sustainable during the spooky season, green truly is the new black.

Did we miss anything? If you can think of any other inspiring ideas, leave a comment below.


DID YOU KNOW: According to Marketplace, just one trick-or-treater produces almost half a kilogram of waste — a scary statistic when you consider the millions of kids around the world going door-to-door every year.

DID YOU KNOW: According to, Canadians buy over 10 million pumpkins a year and most of them are used for decorations and then tossed away.   

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