Seven Spooky Suggestions for a Sustainable Halloween

With Halloween quickly approaching, there’s still time to incorporate some easy ideas to make your holiday a sustainable one. From decorations to costumes, Halloween provides a great opportunity to put sustainable practices into action. Here are some things you can do to be “green” this Halloween.

  1. Decorations: Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year, and so many of the decorations being peddled are made of non-recyclable. Instead of buying materials for decorations, gather supplies, arts and crafts throughout the year. Examples include:
    • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
    • Stuff old bed sheets with leaves, tie with a string to form a head and hang from trees- instant ghosts
    • Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones and then recycle it
    • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves, and branches from the yard, etc.
    • Reuse your decorations from the previous year
  2. Costumes: Make your own! Store-bought costumes are often made up of non-recyclable, petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers. Here are some tips:
    • Keep old clothes that can be used as good pieces or parts of costumes, like worn t-shirts, black pants/shorts, etc.
    • Special-order vegan makeup, the same goes for hair dye--eco-friendly brands let you rest easy when you see it all going down the drain (aka, back into the water supply)
    • If necessary, shop at thrift shops and yard sales instead of buying retail
    • Arrange a costume swap at your school, church or community center
  3. Parties: When having a party, cut down on waste by avoiding disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Use regular dishes or buy biodegradable ones. From party food to treats to pumpkins, consider composting all organic matter and recycling other items.
  4. Treats: Buy locally produced organic foods, candies, and treats. Look for goodies with minimal packaging and/or those made packaged in recycled materials. Candies that come in individual boxes have a chance at getting recycled, whereas those that come in plastic don’t. When purchasing candies, check labels to see that chocolate and sugar are from sustainable sources. Alternative waste-less ideas include pencils made from recycled money, small coins, or recyclable toys that will find a useful place in a kid's life.
  5. Trick-or-Treat Bags: Use household items to collect candy- a bucket, pillowcase, or old even an old bag can be decorated inexpensively at home and reused year after year. Reusable canvas bags are preferable over paper or plastic for safety and environmental reasons.
  6. Pumpkins: Buy pumpkins from local farms or farmers' markets. Better yet, grow your own! When carving jack-o-lanterns, save the seeds for roasting and save the pulp for pies,  muffins, soup and other recipes. Use soy candles rather than paraffin wax ones- they last longer and come from renewable crops. After Halloween, compost your pumpkins so they don’t add to the landfill.
  7. Transportation: Trick or Treat by walking around your neighborhood instead of driving to another destination. This helps to get to know your neighbors, reduce your carbon emissions, and help keep the streets safe for other walkers. 


Trevor joined the PEA Board in 2013 after exhibiting at the Earth Day Fair earlier that same year. Trevor formerly worked at a Triad-based company that specialized in Environmental Services and Household Hazardous Waste Recycling where he served as a Marketing Manager. In his current capacity on the Board he serves as the Marketing Committee Chair. In his spare time he enjoys biking and recently joined the Winston-Salem Wolfhounds Gaelic Football team, much to the chagrin of his ankles and knees.