As Halloween approaches, we have put together a list of ideas to help reduce your plastic footprint. If you would like to join Plastic Pollution Coalition, please click the purple JOIN button on our home page.
Have a safe, fun, and plastic-free Halloween!
Plastic-free Halloween at a Glance
1. Skip plastic-wrapped candy and opt for mini boxed candy. Remind trick-or-treaters to reuse and recycle the boxes! DIY crafts like finger puppets ghosts and origami bats can replace plastic-wrapped mini candy bars for trick or treat.
2. DIY decorations are the best! Natural twine woven spider webs, leaf stuffed pumpkin headed scare crows, and corn stalks look more authentic and interesting than pre-packaged plastic junk.
3. Home-made Costumes are so much cooler, cheaper, and they tend to stick around longer. They can be passed down or donated to others. They make for more memorable times. Who is going to remember that plastic Dora mask if it gets thrown out a week later?
4. Plastic-free parties are simple if you just go back to the classics. Bobbing for apples, baked pumpkin seeds from carving leftovers, glass containers of cider, and plastic-free crafts that involve recycled items.
5. Lights those Jack-O-Lanterns with matches. The ocean is full of lighters as it is!
If you must purchase candy because you can’t bear the thought of going without, we suggest non-plastic wrapped candies. We don’t like endorsing anything that has throw away packaging, but these items use materials that can be reused and recycled easily.
- Boxed mini candies (Note: Some boxed candies do come with a plastic coating and some do not. Internet searches can provide you with specifics on this.)
- Foil Wrapped Coins in from Bulk Bins
- Mini DIY toys made from recycled materials
Get creative and skip the candy this year. Passing out DIY toys made from recycled materials is a great way to refuse disposable plastic! And, it’s not as time consuming if you have your kids or family help you. It’s a great Halloween activity. Ideas? Finger Puppet ghosts Origami Pumpkins, Cats, Bats, Spiders, etc
Some of these decorations will take a few minutes, others might require a sewing machine. Mostly, they are just meant to be fun substitutes and fun family projects.
- Carved pumpkins – Skip those horribly ineffective plastic carving tools. They don’t work and you have plenty of knives at home. If you’re interested in having your kids help you carve but don’t want them wielding knives, then have them help you pick a design, draw it, and scoop the seeds
- White Sheet/T-shirt Ghosts
- Natural (non synthetic) twine tied spider webs
- Mini pumpkins and gourds – Put them in your garden when you’re done and get ready to harvest them next year! Most are not organic, but if you live by an organic patch, try and support them if possible! Or grow your own organic pumpkins! At least let the pumpkin decompose or compost.
- Black socks stuffed to make a giant sock spider
- Pumpkin Head Scare Crow stuffed with Leaves Dried Corn Stalks
- PPC Member totes!
- Reusable canvas or cotton grocery totes
- Orange or Black pillow cases
Home made costumes are the best. Don’t buy those tacky plastic masks and shirts. They are expensive, unoriginal, and most importantly, they get worn, torn, and thrown out. (Also, just a side note, super heroes don’t normally wear a picture of their own face on their chest. Come on people, let’s not break the fourth wall.) Here’s a list of costumes that can be made with stuff around the house.
- Flower Child – dust off those bell-bottoms, headbands, and John Lennon sunglasses. And if you’re trick or treating in San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair
- Zombie – ripped up, old jeans, Misfits tshirt, sunken eyes make-up, messy hair, and a lot of “UUuuughhhhhhh Brrraaiiinsssss!!”
- Captain Mega Awesome Super Kid – Made-up super heroes are the best. Tights or leggings, underwear on the outside of your clothes, blanket cape, and homemade bandanna mask, balled up socks for bicep enhancement, bracelets, a sense of altruism and inflated ego. This will be a great photo to bring out when your kid grows up and brings home a date.
- Mini metal cauldrons full of pumpkin seeds
- Internet Halloween radio stations – Instead of buying Spooky Sounds or Halloween music wrapped in plastic CD cases, download music from iTunes or go to www.pandora.com and they will create a Halloween Station for free! Hook your computer up to speakers and have endless party music. Purchase a membership and there won’t be any commercial interruptions.
- Bobbing for apples – Classic and always plastic-free if you buy those apples in bulk (using your reusable produce bag!)
- Reusable Cups, Silverware, and Dishes – Although clean-up times for parties vary, and many people want to avoid the dreaded dish washing task at the end of the night, some people will spend as much time, money, and effort finding ways to avoid washing dishes that by the time they are done it would have been more time saving to load the dishwasher. There IS a significant money saving element to consider and, let’s face it, throw away items aren’t nearly as impressive-looking.
- Jack-o-Lanterns – line the stairs with a couple of small jack-o- lanterns instead of buying those plastic skeleton lights. Pumpkins are classic. Remember to use matches instead of lighters to light them!