Four friends standing in front of a neon-lit candy shop.

Celebrate Spooky Season With 5 Halloween Sustainability Tips

Kelly Meehan Brown Sep 26, 2023

Pumpkins, bats, costumes, and parties… Halloween is one of the most wonderful times of the year, when we get to tap into our spooky, mystical side for a night of frivolity. But what’s not so fantastical about the holiday is the sheer volume of waste that comes along with it.

With $10.6 billion in spending each year—around $100 per person—on things like single-use candy wrappers and disposable decorations, the list goes on for the one-and-done nature of Halloween. And, if you’re the type of person who wants to reduce their carbon footprint and take care of the planet, it can seem a little overwhelming. 

Luckily, there are many creative ways you can celebrate spooky season while keeping that eco-friendly aim front of mind. Here are a few Halloween sustainability tips to get you started.


Creative Upcycled Costumes

The most sustainable costume is one you already own. Check the back of your closet for some tried and true get ups—who cares if you turn up as “Cute Witch” again this year? Maybe she has different hair and makeup or wears a bucket hat to keep things fresh. Or consider a costume swap with friends and family. You never know what kind of treasure you’ll find in someone else’s 2021 costume. And don’t forget about the thrift store!

Another Halloween sustainability tip for you creatives, make your own costume! Slash and dirty up some old clothes to zombify yourself, pigtail up and wear all black to go full Wednesday Adams, or check out TikTok for some other DIY, sustainable costume ideas.

And remember, many costume stores offer rentals for the more expensive looks you know you won’t wear again.


Trick or (Sustainable) Treat

Instead of buying bags of single-wrapped candies to give to trick-or-treaters, consider giving them bags of wildflower seeds instead. They might not seem as fun, but they will last long after Halloween is over. 

You can also make cookies, candied apples, or cupcakes as great at-home alternatives to buying candies in bulk. And, if baking isn’t your thing, look for locally-produced candies and goodies instead. Look for the Fairtrade symbol and only buy what you need. 

Going trick-or-treating yourself? Instead of a disposable bag, pack that candy straight into your Restore Backpack—not only is it made from recycled fabric, you’ll have more room to stock up on your favorites, and keep all your essentials with you throughout the festivities.


DIY Decorations

Throwing a party? There are so many ways to embellish your space using stuff you likely already have around the home. Cut cardboard boxes into coffin shapes or bones and paint them as scary as you like. Got some art and craft stuff lying around? Consider pipe-cleaner spiders. Use toilet paper rolls to make spooky little bats. Hang a sheet from the ceiling and make a DIY ghost. Pairs of tights with runs in them? Cobwebs! Packing peanuts? Worms! The possibilities are truly endless. 

And, instead of plastic cups or plates, use your regular dishes or opt for purchasing the biodegradable versions. Every little helps towards being more sustainable at Halloween.


Spice Up Your Pumpkin

Speaking of decorations, carving up a pumpkin is part and parcel of any Halloween experience. But 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin waste ends up in landfills each year. And even worse—organic material can’t break down properly in a landfill. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t proudly display your jack-o-lanterns still, it just means rethinking and repurposing how you use it. Use the meat for pies, soups, muffins, and other sweet treats. Toast the seeds for a snack. Don’t like the taste of pumpkin? That’s okay, you can compost it instead. Make your own compost or use a composting collection service.


Composting and Recycling

Just like that pumpkin meat, many other tricks and treats from your celebrations can be composted, reused, or recycled. Those candy apples? Composted. Toilet roll bats? Recycled, or keep them for next year. 

Pack up your SuperBreak® Away Duffel Bag and take all the bottles, cans and biodegradable cups and plates down to your local recycling plant. You may even be able to get some cash back for them.


Save Save Save!

This last one applies to almost every other step in our guide. Keep everything that isn’t perishable for next year, then rinse and repeat. Use an old bag or box to store all your creations from the pipe cleaner spiders to your upcycled costume. You never know when, throughout the year, someone may throw a themed party and you’ll be prepared. Then, come next Halloween, you have decorations and costumes aplenty, ready to spook the world once more.

A sustainable Halloween doesn’t mean doing everything at once. Even making small steps towards change can help the planet in the long run. Happy haunting!