Updated: Oct 24
Halloween is scary enough without the horrifying levels of waste it creates. Halloween waste is definitely the scariest monster of them all for a once a year event! In this blog post we share ideas for how to have a more sustainable Halloween.
DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids
An estimated 39 million people dress up for Halloween in the UK and 90% of families buy new costumes every year. Most of these costumes (69%) are made up of polyester, a fabric made from oil-based plastic and highly flammable. 2 in 5 of those costumes are only worn once before being thrown into landfill, that's 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 83 million bottles. Only 14% of halloween costumes are home-made!
I have always refused to buy costumes for my son, but I, like many parents, don't have the time or skills in making a costume. But with a little bit of imagination (or ideas from the internet!) and using materials like felt that require little to no sewing, costumes can easily be put together from items at home. Otherwise:
Search charity and secondhand shops/websites for costumes or items. Last year's wolf costume was a snood I unpicked from a charity shop. The year before, I found a sparkly shawl covered in stars.
Ask friends and class groups on Whatsapp if anyone has a costume or items they are happy to lend you. For our first trick or treat costume we borrowed a witches hat. In the past we've also dressed up as Spiderman that was a secondhand pajama set!
Many schools and children's groups offer costume swaps, often for free or for a small donation. See if anyone is doing this in your area.
Reuse or Recycle Halloween Decorations
If you want to buy some halloween decorations consider decorations that are plastic-free and that you will want to reuse year after year.
Lanka Kade mythical figures are a great example. I use the same wooden house and figures every year for a halloween display at the shop along with some cotton wool and shredded paper.
Felt is a great material to make decorations (and costumes!) from. There are lots of examples online of ideas that can be easily copied, or we have Felt Bat DIY sewing kits available in store. These can be added to costumes, made into hanging decorations or made into a hanging garland.
There are also lots of DIY halloween crafts that can be undertaken with the kids that use recycled materials from home.
We used PVA children's glue to make leaf ghosts for window decals. There are hundreds of eco-friendly ideas online from toilet roll bats to egg carton ghosts, pumpkins, bats and monsters. Find some sticks at your local park to hang them all from.
If you are seeking out real pumpkins to decorate your home with, head to a nearby local farm to get yours rather than from a supermarket, so the money goes directly to the farmer.
Hubbub, an environmental charity, estimates that 30 million pumpkins are expected to be brought for carving this autumn, 16 million of which will go to waste.
This year, instead of carving your pumpkin, how about decorating it instead. Carving a pumpkin is really hard for children anyway and they often get bored during the process. So this year, buy with the intention to eat the pumpkin after Halloween - decorate first using water based paints or even icing pens, which can also be used like an edible glue to stick sweets on with! Then make a wonderful pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones or pumpkin biscuits with the kids when Halloween is past.
Do you have a garden? In store we also have the Willsow plantable children's book's and this includes the story of the Pumpkin Who Was Afraid of the Dark with seeds in the back to plant. How about growing your own pumpkins for next year?
Plastic - free treats for Trick or Treaters
If you plan to stay home this 31st October and share treats to those trick or treating, consider plastic-free sweets.
- Foil wrapped sweets
- Sweets or raisins that come in cardboard boxes
- Loose sweets purchased from sweet shops and refill shops that sell by weight
- Clementines. Draw scary faces on them with black ink!
- Kids toys and plastic-tat at home from party bags and fast-food chains you no longer want at home instead of sweets.
- Stickers, pens, pencils, rubbers, marbles - anything you have at home you need to clear out!
- Savoury snacks like popcorn, Twiglets or pretzels that are not individually wrapped!
Browse our full range of Halloween themed toys and crafts at Timeless Toys from crafts to decorations to toys: