Eco-Friendly Living

How to be green this Halloween: Why we need to be eco-friendly this spooky season

As much as I adore Halloween with every fibre of my being, it’s not an eco-friendly holiday. With so much cheap, over-processed single-use items plaguing the season, it’s not a green holiday. An estimated 2000 tonnes of waste will be generated from Halloween costumes alone this year. There’s so much single use waste from costumes, to candy, and cheap decorations, and there’s no need for it. We can make the most of spooky season without contributing to plastic pollution and the climate crisis. An estimated 2000 tonnes of waste will be generated from Halloween costumes alone this year. Here’s how to be eco-friendly this Halloween:

Green Costumes

Untitled design (8).png

Halloween is probably the biggest night for single-use costumes. I love good Halloween costumes as much as the next person, but buying an outfit and wearing it for a few hours once is not sustainable. The environmental impact that goes into making just one outfit is huge, so at least get the wear from your wardrobe!

I’m not saying you can’t dress up. I start thinking about my costume very early in the year, I’m just suggesting to be more considerate with it. Most single-use Halloween costumes are so cheap and flimsy they don’t even look that good!

Untitled design (7).png

I always try to use things I already own as part of my Halloween costume.

When I was Veronica from Heathers I didn’t need to buy a single thing because all the clothes were either mine or my sisters! When I was Wednesday Addams I wore all my own clothes too.

For other costumes I bought accessories to accompany things I already own, like buying the wig and bullet belt for Black Widow, and the wig, gloves, feather boa, and cigarette holder for Cruella. When I buy new things I always get something I feel can be used for another costume down the line or I’ll actually wear again. Last year I was Esmerelda, and only had to buy the corset and skirt, which I would actually wear in my day to day life.

This year, I only bought secondhand; I got the red blazer on Depop, and I’ll pick up a sword in a charity shop. Everything else was something I already owned, the shirt for Elizabeth and Esmerelda are the same!

Instead of buying a new costume, shop second-hand, have a look at what you have, or borrow something.

Untitled design (6).png

Zero-waste, palm oil free candy

zero waste chocolate apples for halloween

Unfortunately most wrappers from sweets aren’t recyclable. If you stop and look at the waste that washes up on the beach, a lot of the single-use plastic is decades old. Halloween candy is no different, the fact that these companies make new packaging for Halloween is a waste of plastic.

I’m not saying the solution is to hand out loose fruit, because the kids will throw it back at your house. I think the solution is to track down sweets in sustainable packaging – which is few and far between right now. Chocolate brands like Seed & Bean and Vego’s white chocolate bar have biodegradable packing. They also have the added bonus of no palm-oil. You could make chocolate apples with these! 

At the very least, if we can’t get to zero-waste or plastic free sweets, then avoid palm oil.

DIY or Buy Eco-friendly Decorations

pumpkin jack-o-lantern with green smoke halloween

I love seeing Halloween stuff in stores. Usually I buy at least one thing a year, but I only buy good quality things I love. I actually keep a few Halloween things in my room all year. A lot of decorations are low quality and won’t make it until the next Halloween. Get things you can reuse the next year. Have a look in charity shops first for new decorations.

The greenest thing you can buy, is nothing. However, I’m goth and love Halloween, so it’s not realistic to say “just don’t buy Halloween decorations”. You can shop sustainably, but before buying something ask yourself a few questions for your eco-friendly Halloween: 

  • Do I need this?
  • Do we have enough decorations?
  • Will it last a few Halloweens?
  •  Is this an impulse buy?

The most important decoration, after all, is the pumpkin, which is already biodegradable.

Better again, DIY some decorations, Pinterest is a goldmine for these kinds of projects.

Reuse What You Can

dad and daughter dressed as snow white trick or treating; green halloween

This leads on from my point about getting good quality decorations or DIYing them for your green Halloween. Reuse what you can!

There’s a lot of throwaway culture surrounding Halloween; when I was a kid I rewore the same costume for years on end because my family didn’t see the point in being something new every year but for some reason, we always got new trick or treating bags. Trick or Treating bags are often so low-quality they only last the one Halloween. One year mine broke, and some kid just followed me, eating the trail of my sweets. It makes much more sense to buy a good quality bag, like a canvas tote bag, to be used for many Halloweens to come. 

Even if you’re not going to be the same character every Halloween, keep your costumes to mix and match! For example, a Daenerys wig could be braided for an Elsa costume, my Esmerelda corset would work for a pirate-look! 


Are you planing on having an eco-friendly Halloween? If so, what green practices are you adopting?

14 thoughts on “How to be green this Halloween: Why we need to be eco-friendly this spooky season

  1. I don’t really do Halloween costumes because my clothes are so out there and unique that it’s like Halloween every day for me. One other thing I thought about for environmentally friendly Halloween costumes that anyone can do without buying anything is Disneybounding, where you wear outfits inspired by Disney characters colour schemes. Like for a Winnie the Pooh Disneybound wear yellow and red and for Piglet wear pink. This could work well in a friends group.

  2. I love this! I haven’t seen anyone go over how to be green this Halloween yet. I always do DIY costumes with clothes I already have, I think its funner and more of a challenge (and they look better than store bought that way). I also get a few things each year; usually ceramics or investments. Now times have changed it is a bit strange seeing so many throw-away plastic masks and things of that nature. Pumpkins really are the best Halloween decorations for their eco friendly nature! (I especially like going to pumpkin patches; seems extra authentic that way!) Great post and tips 🙂

  3. Great post and probably something not many people think about when it comes to Halloween celebrations. I don’t ever do anything for Halloween, so that’s good in that I’m not adding to the damage! x

  4. I agree to buy something that lasts for years – after all, it is only used once a year. Why not display it over and over? We do that with Christmas decorations!

  5. We try and DIY for Hallowe’en as much as possible – pumpkin carving and making our own sweets. But I do know what you mean, the majority of crap that’s pushed at us for what’s essentially one night is dreadful! Great eco-tips here 🙂 Lisa x

  6. Loved this post! I always try and reuse or repurpose costumes – and I agree with the point about wrappers being tough to find eco-friendly alternatives, but avoiding palm oil is a good start!

    Jess xx

  7. Such a great post! I love Halloween, but always feel a bit strange about all the plastic decorations etc.. It’s definitely a good idea to buy something that’ll last, rather than some single-use poorly made decorations 🙂 I’m going as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery services this year – just a black dress, some red shoes and a red bow, super easy c:

  8. This is a great post and a topic I haven’t seen discussed before. We love Halloween in my family and try to get costumes we will reuse, or use items already in our wardrobes. One thing I have tried before is making our own chocolates or cupcakes, which is a great alternative to anything store bought. The kids loved them. 😊

Leave a Reply