With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve been thinking about how to make this holiday fun for families and fun for the planet. Halloween is enjoyed by kids and adults but the scary part of Halloween aren’t the ghosts or monsters, it’s all the plastic we are wasting. Over 30% of plastic waste comes from packaging, and that includes plastic food packaging such as candy wrappers. We’ve put together some tricks and treats for keeping trick-or-treating eco-friendly!
Choose Better Candy
Recycling plastic candy wrappers is not usually an option. We aren’t saying cut out candy for Halloween, but there are a few types of candy and candy alternatives that can help you cut down on plastic waste. Try to buy candy that comes in recyclable or compostable packaging. This can be hard, as most Halloween candy does come in large plastic bags. However, buying candy that is wrapped in small cardboard boxes, such as Nerds or Junior Mints, can help limit the plastic waste from wrappers. These small boxes can usually be recycled. Beware candy that comes packaged in aluminum foil. While some foil is recyclable, not all of it is. Recycling non-recyclable or contaminated goods can spoil an entire bin of recyclable items, so if you’re unsure, it is best to to avoid altogether. For parties, try buying bulk candy from candy stores or grocery stores like Whole Foods. You can bring your own reusable bag or jar to buy the candy from the store, then share with party guests in jars or bowls. If you do want to go totally package free, try handing out clementines since the fruit is protected by the peel. Keep the treats, lose the plastic.
Finding Halloween costumes is always difficult. Most costumes come packaged in plastic and in many cases, they are also made from plastics such as polyester and vinyl. These costumes can be made with harmful chemicals such as BPA and are often highly flammable. This year, try cutting out the plastic costumes and get creative. Reusing old costumes or thrifting for costumes is a great way to reduce plastic and save money. Thrift stores are always busy around this time of year because they have great items that can be used for costumes. If you don’t see anything you like, you can check out Etsy for homemade costumes and ideas. You can reuse old costumes, search for them second hand or swap with friends to save money and the planet!
Reducing plastic consumption at Halloween can be easy by cutting out plastic decorations and throwing a low-waste Halloween party. To decorate your home, use as many natural decorations as you can. Pumpkins, gourds and straw make easy decorations and can be composted after the festivities are over. If you really love decorations, there are plenty of other plastic-free decorating materials. Do a quick search online for DIY eco-friendly decorations and there are tons of ideas. Some of our favorites are flying ghosts made from old clothes or cheese cloths, traditional jack-o’-lanterns and spider webs made from twine.
Hosting a Halloween party? Stick to homemade treats and snacks and skip the packaged candy. Make candy bags with package-free bulk candy and use small cloth bags or jars for packaging. You can further reduce waste from party supplies by using reusable dishes and asking people to bring their own if you don’t have enough. Finding plastic-free alternatives to decorations and party supplies can help to limit the overall plastic waste produced during the holiday.
Pillowcases Not Plastic
This year when trick-or-treating or leaving candy for kids, ditch the plastic candy buckets. For trick-or-treating, try using a pillowcase instead of a plastic jack-o’-lantern. You already have them at home and you don’t need to worry about them creating any plastic waste. You can also opt to use a reusable canvas bag to pick up treats. If you are handing out candy or leaving it for trick-or-treaters, choose a reusable vessel. You can use reusable bags or baskets to hand out your cardboard packaged treats to stay plastic free!
We know that Halloween can be a tough holiday to go plastic-free, but even taking small steps to reduce your plastic consumption can have a big environmental impact. Happy Halloween from all of us at Blueland!