All Things Sustainable For A ‘Green’ Halloween

As we are all working to become more eco-conscious consumers and make sustainable choices all year round, let’s remember those ‘green’ practices this Halloween season.


Americans are expected to spend an all-time record of $10.14 billion on Halloween-related items, including $3.3 billion on costumes. And are you aware of the mind-blowing waste associated with Halloween?

  • Single-use plastic costumes…
  • Plastic candy wrappers…
  • Mass-produced cheap plastic decorations…

All of this ends up in the trash! 

Let’s look at eco-friendly Halloween solutions that won’t have such an impact on our planet while also allowing you to invest in quality costumes and decorations⁠ that will last for years rather than a single day.

Sustainable Halloween Costumes

Have you heard about ‘fast fashion’? This is the clothing industry that produces inexpensive items that are mass-consumed and trashed, landing millions and millions of tons of garbage in our landfills every year. The cotton and other materials (such as plastic) used to create these fast fashion pieces have one of the highest sprayed pesticide crops on the planet. These crops wrench all nutrients from the soil, flush tons of toxic chemicals into the groundwater, and are highly destructive to the planet. 

DIY Eco-Friendly Costume Ideas– So let’s look at some ‘green’ alternative costumes.

  1. What do you have on-hand already? Funny costumes made from word-puns are great ideas:
    1. “Copy Cat”- have a pair of cat ears and tail (or make them) on hand? To those, add a sign to hang around your neck that says, “ Ctrl + C”. Now you’re a “Copy Cat”.
    2. “Quarterback”- draw a large image of a quarter on a piece of poster board or such and hang it on your back. Now you’re a “Quarterback”.
    3. “Leaf-Blower”- clip a string with a leaf attached to the end of it onto a baseball cap so the leaf hangs in front of your mouth. Blow on leaf; now you’re a “Leaf-Blower ”. You get the idea.
  1. What can you borrow? Ask friends if you can borrow a costume. Or even better, host a “Costume Swap”, inviting a bunch of people to bring their old costumes and exchange them with others. How to host a costume exchange.
  2. Rent! Did you know you can rent a Halloween costume? Your local costume shop probably has a large selection for you to choose from for a minimal price. 
  3. Thrift and second-hand stores- get your creative hat on and you can find items for tons of different costumes ideas at your local vintage shop.  
  4. DIY Halloween costume– checkout Good House Keeping’s ideas for dozens more costume ideas.

Sustainable Halloween Decorations 

What could be more sustainable than fresh produce from your local farmer’s market! Eco-friendly and sustainable Halloween decoration number one is the almighty pumpkin!

  1. Pumpkin-buy local.
    1. Make as many Jack O’ Lanterns as you like, the more the merrier. Painting or drawing on the outside will save the interior for your baking desires when the holiday is over.
    2. Keep the seeds. They are great roasted and salted for snacks or for planting in your garden. 
    3. When the holiday is over, cook the interior of the pumpkin (soups, pies, muffins, etc.). 
    4. Fill a carved pumpkin with seeds to feed the birds or check with your local zoos to see if they take leftover pumpkins. 
    5. Or compost, but whatever you do, don’t throw them in the garbage. Over 8 million pumpkins will be tossed into the trash after Halloween. 60% of people who bought pumpkins throw them out. But there are many ways you can recycle and reuse your pumpkin, so make sure to use that pumpkin for all it’s worth. 
  1. DIY eco-friendly Halloween decorations have a truly endless supply of ideas across the Internet. Here are a few to get you started:
    1. Cardboard skeletons or tombstones.
    2. Spiders out of black pipe cleaners.
    3. Ghosts out of old sheets. 
    4. Turn toilet paper rolls into bats
    5. Make bloody handprints on your windows using red poster paint. 
    6. And even more fun ideas: Cheap and easy ideas for DIY Halloween decorations.
  1. Say no to plastics- whether hosting a party and purchasing Halloween decorations, make sure to choose plastic-free options. Buy decorations that will last for generations: wood, handmade, metal, glass, tin. For your Halloween get together, make sure your serving-ware is either biodegradable or just use your normal everyday dishware. (Plastic, if ever recycled, is only recyclable 2x’s at most while other materials, such as glass, aluminum, and metal, can be recycled indefinitely.) 
  2. Trick or treating buckets for the kids- instead of a plastic one, you can use a wicker basket, an old shopping tote, a decorated pillowcase, a painted cardboard box, etc. 
  3. Second-hand stores have great Halloween items for decorations if you get creative: candelabras, lanterns, old jars and bottles, mirrors, and dolls. 

Sustainable Halloween Treats

Normal Halloween candy: not very eco-friendly.

  • Large candy manufacturers have a huge negative impact on the environment. 
  • They contribute to massive deforestation. 
  • This also causes species extinction as natural habitats are ravaged due to the demand for sugar, palm oil, and cocoa beans. 
  • These ingredients are sourced from countries that use child or slave labor to harvest
  • Huge amounts of energy and resources go into making candy. 
  • The candy wrapping is non-recyclable plastic.

If your little one does come home with wrapped candies, get a TerraCycle box for candy and snack wrappers that ships for free, and they’ll safely and sustainably recycle the wrappers.

Much more eco-friendly and sustainable Halloween treat options are available. Serve them on a tray to your trick-or-treating guests or wrap in cut-up paper bags (or small paper bags) versus plastic or plastic wrap. 

If you’d prefer to buy eco-friendly Halloween candy there are some ethical options to choose from as well. When shopping look for labels that say:

  • USDA Organic
  • NASAA Certified Organic
  • Fairtrade

Non-Food Treat Options

The “Teal Pumpkin Project” has been going strong for many years now. You place a teal pumpkin on your porch to let trick-or-treaters know you have non-food goodies available. If you’re interested in participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can also get a 140-piece kit that comes with everything you need or check out this list of the best Teal Pumpkin treats.


Choosing to go green for your Halloween may take a little more time; eco-friendly options are not always as convenient but they also do not contribute to the multiple environmental issues facing us today. With these conscious tips there’s no need to miss out on the Halloween fun. Happy ‘Green’ Halloween!

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