Go green for Halloween

Make DIY Halloween decorations with what you already have at home or with fallen leaves, cones, twigs and branches you find outside. (Photo: Mathias Reding, Pexels)

The volume of resources used and wasted at Halloween can be scary! But it doesn’t have to be. Make your spooky season eco-friendly. 

Dog in a ghost costume

Get your costumes ready

People dress up for many events, festivals and occasions, not just Halloween: Burning Man, Mardis Gras, Mummers, Navrati, Pride and Purim (to name just a few). Check out these easy, inexpensive, eco-friendly costume options.

  • Borrow or swap with friends and family or through a buy nothing group.
  • Mine thrift stores.
  • Hone your sewing and crafting skills.
  • Reuse what you already have — maybe give an old costume new life.
  • Search online for DIY ideas.
  • See if there’s a costume rental company where you live.

Donate costumes after use to local charities, thrift shops or schools or hand them down to friends and family.

Use non-toxic cosmetics and eco-friendly hair dye or make your own! Many online DIY recipes use simple ingredients such as vegetable glycerin (found in health food stores), cornstarch and food colouring.

Organize costume contests with categories like “best homemade” or “most creative nature-inspired.” Make it an online or hybrid gathering to increase accessibility and encourage connection between friends and family near and far.

Carved pumpkin


DIY with what you already have at home (e.g., boxes, bed sheets, etc.) or can find outside (e.g., fallen leaves, cones, twigs and branches). Store these to reuse year after year.

Use locally made beeswax or soy candles to light rooms, stairs and carved pumpkins. Conventional candles are made from paraffin wax, which comes from petroleum, coal or oil shale and can be toxic. Pop them in painted recycled glass jars for a haunting ambiance.

Decorate with solar-powered lanterns that charge during the day and light up at night.

Pumpkins are edible! Choose one that’s organic and/or local if possible (U-pick is a good idea and often supports local farmers). Scoop out the seeds and roast them in the oven. Pumpkin flesh can also be eaten, but only eat the parts recovered from carving while the pumpkin is still fresh. Make cakes, pies, muffins, soups — even pumpkin-spiced lattes! Check out these scrappy cooking tips!

After Halloween, compost your vegetable art.

Carved pumpkins illuminated at night

Go trick-or-treating

To reduce packaging, buy treats in bulk. Opt for fair trade, organic or vegan chocolate and candy. A less expensive option is to buy from a large wholesale or bulk food retailer.

Consider giving out non-candy alternatives, such as pencils or erasers.

If possible, leave the car at home and walk door-to-door. Or carpool with your children’s friends or your neighbours.

Collect treats with a reusable bag or container. (A pillow case is great!)

After Halloween, re-use wrappers and packaging in crafts and other creative kid activities. Search online for ideas.

Happy Halloween!