How to Celebrate Halloween (Without Creating Mounds of Plastic Garbage)

By Emily DiFrisco

Halloween is a fun holiday for kids and adults alike, but the garbage left behind from parties and Trick-or-Treating can be downright scary.

Food wrappers, including those for candy, are the number two most common item found on beaches worldwide on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Plastic food wrappers often cannot be recycled, and the ones that end up in our landfills will stay there, forever. Plus, costumes with plastic components may be hazardous to our health.

You can still celebrate Halloween without contributing piles of garbage to the earth. Read our best tips below.

1. Forgo the plastic treat bucket. A cloth bag works for Trick-or-Treating and can be reused again and again.

2. Choose a plastic-free costume. Avoid costumes made with PVC/vinyl, which are more likely to be contaminated with chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates can disrupt your endocrine system... Scary, indeed! Make your own costume from natural fabrics, repurpose items you already own, or visit a thrift store for the perfect outfit.

3. Consider an alternative to plastic-wrapped candy. Choose candy in paper boxes or make parents everywhere happy by handing out apples (in season now), small oranges, or art supplies like pencils and crayons. Even better: recycle old crayons into colorful new crayons using this easy method. If your Trick-or-Treaters are friends or acquaintances, you could give out homemade Halloween cookies in a paper bag. 

4. Use Real Stuff. Decorate your home with pumpkins, gourds, and autumn leaves. Use leaves like paper to make festive cut outs. Carve pumpkins into Jack-o'-lanterns for spooky decorations—you can even roast and eat the seeds. After Halloween, toss your pumpkin in the compost pile.

5. Throw a Green (and Orange) Party. Hosting a party? Just say no to "disposable" plates and cups. Use your own cups and dishes and wash them afterward. Use real forks and spoons or for an easier option, serve finger foods. Get creative with your Halloween-themed food (shrunken head cider, anyone?)

Have fun! Don’t forgot to enter our plastic-free Halloween costume contest. Simply post of photo of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #PlasticFreeHalloween.

For more tips visit our Guide to Plastic Free Events.