Halloween is up there with Christmas in terms of excitement levels in our house from the kids! There’s a lot of pressure to put on a good show, so I’ve now spent the last 4 Octobers fine tuning how to go big at halloween without creating lots of excess plastic and polyester waste. Here are my top tips for eco halloween decorations, outfits and treats:
ECO HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS
Last year, with the lockdown halloween, there was A LOT of pressure to decorate our own house to bring a bit of halloween magic to the house. Here are the best decoration ideas I discovered.
Recycled ghosts. I used some plastic bubble wrap which had been sent in a package a few weeks before, but you can use any white flimsy plastic for this (you could make smaller versions out of white plastic bags). Stuff the head with some old paper and tie some string to create the neck. Then just cut out some spooky shapes from black paper or card and stick them on to make the face. Hang in a tree or from the side of your house. Add fairy lights inside for maximum effect.
Mini milk bottle ghosts. Start saving your milk bottles for this one. In our household, we don’t drink milk, so I asked our neighbours for theirs instead. These are super simple and really effective when you get a whole group of the together. Simply wash out the bottles, draw some spooky faces on the front and you’re done! Putting some lights inside give these a great effect too.
Spooky castle. This is great to stick to a door or wall and the kids love making them too.
Click here for a print out of the spooky castle. You’ll need black and yellow craft card.
Loo roll bats. Cover a loo roll with black or dark coloured paper or card, then cut out some wings, ears, eyes and fang mouth and stick the bat together.
Click here for a print out of the loo roll bats. You’ll need black, green or a dark coloured craft card or paper.
Another really effective natural fabric decoration is the spider webs you can buy. Check the details of the ones you find but a lot of them are just made from cotton so they won’t shed plastics into the environment.
ECO HALLOWEEN OUTFITS
I’m a big fan of buying one fancy dress outfit and keeping it for years. I’m still wearing the onesie skeleton outfit I bought 20 years ago which is for 15 year olds! So for the kids, I went down the same route. For my son’s first ‘walking’ halloween, he was nearly two, and I bought him a felt pumpkin outfit for a 12 year old. He looked super sweet in it, totally eclipsed by the enormous pumpkin, but he loved it. 3 years on he still looks forward to wearing his pumpkin outfit at halloween and we’ve bought his little sister one too (photo above)!
If you’re keen to mix it up and change outfits every year, try to seek out natural fabrics like felt, cotton and bamboo. So many fancy dress outfits are made from polyester which are really harmful for the environment, shed micro-plastics and they’re also quite terrifying around naked flames / candles.
If you’re up for getting really creative, you can always make your own out of old clothes or fabrics you have at home. Here are a few ideas:
Ghosts: All you’ll need is an old white sheet, some scissors and a marker pen.
Spider: Dress up in all black (complete with black gloves) and then add two stuffed black socks on each side as extra spider legs
Skeleton: Dress up in black base layers. Then use an old white t-shirt to cut out holes lengthways from the spine. Use the cut out parts as leg bones to stick to your black trousers. Or if that sounds complicated, just paint the bones on to a black base using washable (eco!) paint.
Zombie: This is probably the easiest to do at home. Mess up some old clothes then use face paint and fake blood to add a zombie effect to face and arms.
ECO HALLOWEEN TREATS
What’s halloween without treats? Don’t miss out on the good stuff because you’re worried about plastic packaging.
Make your own spooky jelly eyeballs! You’ll need gelatine sheets, coconut milk, cherry or cranberry juice and silicone ice cube ball moulds. There are plenty of recipes online to follow!
If you’d rather buy sweets, here are our top picks for plastic free options:
Sweet Lounge do a great range of vegan sweets in compostable packaging.
Plastic Free Weight do some delicious looking fizzy sweets in a jar.