Halloween is a holiday full of special traditions—some of which happen to involve a lot of waste and a lot of sugar. If you’re looking for a healthier and more sustainable spooky season this year, here’s how to lean into a low-waste Halloween!
Trick or Treats?
FACT: Americans fill up on about 600 million pounds of Halloween candy yearly. If you have kids, Halloween candy might just be unavoidable. But the sugar rush and excessive plastic waste don’t have to be!
Choose plastic-free candy
While packaged candies are a safety must for passing out to trick-or-treaters, some are better than others. Look for plant-based candies and/or ones that come in recyclable materials like cardboard (example: Nerds and Dots).
Make your own goodies
Looking for a fun Halloween activity to do with your kids, or need something to send to the class Halloween party? Making your own candies and baked goods not only allows you to avoid wasteful individual packaging, but you can also control the ingredients to make them healthier.
Head to our Instagram to get ideas for festive and healthy Kibo Halloween treats with extra protein and crunch, like these no-bake, 3-ingredient Halloween Haystacks, or these Mini Caramel Apple Bites.
Choose a’peeling treats
Treats that already come with their own compostable “wrappers” make for great party favors—plus they’re healthy! Clementines can be decorated to look like little pumpkins, while bobbing for organic, locally sourced apples is always a crowd pleaser.
Fill up on the good stuff
Looking to lessen the amount of sugary candy you or your kids are consuming on Halloween? The TRICK is to start with a balanced meal and healthy snacks ahead of time. Made with sustainable, plant-based protein, Kibo Chickpea Chips and Lentil Chips help keep tummies satiated ahead of time and provide a base so candy isn’t eaten on an empty stomach. Eat them with this Vegan Jalapeño Pumpkin Dip for a festive, filling snack.
Buy in bulk
Hosting a Halloween party or haunted house? Make it a zero waste affair by getting your candy in bulk at the refill section of your local grocery or candy store—no plastic packaging necessary.
FACT: 35 million Halloween costumes are thrown away in the United States every year. 85% of Halloween costumes end up buried in landfill, about 2,000 tons. 63% of costumes can take up to 20-200 years to decompose. Talk about scary!
Many store-bought costumes are made using cheap, petroleum-based plastics that aren’t made to last OR be recycled. What’s more, toxins are often lurking in vinyl costumes and masks—and that’s truly creepy. When searching for a costume, you can be healthier and more sustainable at the same time with the following ideas.
Do a costume swap
Costume swaps and take-back programs at local sustainable stores are becoming more and more popular, and it’s easy to see why: You can spend zero dollars and create zero waste by switching out a costume your kid has outgrown for something fun and new (to them).
Rent or thrift
There are so many showstopping Halloween costumes already out there. If your city has a costume rental store, this can be a great place to find a really neat piece at a fraction of the price. Sourcing a thrift or vintage costume also adds a special charm to your costume!
Use what you have
Chances are, there’s something in your closet or recycling bin that could be turned into a costume. Plastic milk cartons and cardboard boxes are perfect for upcycling into masks, headpieces, and costume cutouts. Pinterest is your friend here.
Pro tip → What’s already in your closet? If you’re a minimalist, neutral whites or blacks tend to be a great base for scary costumes like mummies, ghosts, witches, or demons. If you have lots of colorful or metallic pieces, let one of those spark your inspiration for a more out-there look. Something as simple as a robe can become the starting point for a variety of creative costumes.
Revel in a repeat look
Listen, there’s no rule that you have to be something new for Halloween every single year. Finding a signature costume to nail can be a good reason to invest in a special or even custom-made piece that you’ll look forward to wearing year after year.
FACT: Around 1 billion pounds of pumpkins are sent to landfills every year. And when pumpkins rot in landfills, they release methane, a harmful gas that contributes to global warming. 40% of consumers buy pumpkins to carve for Halloween, and 60% of them just throw them away. Can you hear our scary-movie scream?
Plastic and disposable decorations add up. And faux spider webs look spooky around a bush, but did you know they can be harmful to wildlife like birds? Here’s how to be mindful when decorating your haunted house.
Choose home grown
Buy your pumpkins from the farmer’s market or off the vine at your local pumpkin patch. Supporting the farmers in your area is a great way to be more sustainable, and many farms offer fun activities for your family, like hayrides for your kids. Another option? Grow pumpkins yourself—your kids will love to watch them getting bigger!
Eat your pumpkins
Pumpkins offer so much besides just a glow. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Pumpkin “guts” can be blended into a puree for veggie stock, smoothies, juices, and more. The flesh is good in curries, soups, salads, and baked goods.
Compost your pumpkins
When you’re done carving, eating, or enjoying your pumpkins, make sure to compost the scraps. Many cities have drop-off sites for pumpkins or other compostables. Some farmers will accept your old-ish-but-still-good pumpkins to feed to their pigs.
Try natural decorations
With all the beautiful fall foliage this season, there are so many ways to decorate your place sustainably. Preserve colorful leaves to display, or use pine cones, dried gourds, and other plants to create a fall effect.
Use what’s there
Reuse the decorations you already have each year by creating a Halloween box where you keep your family’s treasured favorites, or get creative and upcycle what you have. Ripped stocking and old hangers can make for great spider webs.
If you buy decorations, many secondhand and antique stores will have unique (and often nostalgic) Halloween decor for your family to love.
We hope this read was helpful in sparking ideas for a healthy and sustainable Halloween. Want more ideas? Check out our blog, follow us on social, and subscribe to our emails for all the eco-friendly tips and chips!