The other day I woke up stressed about Halloween. Motherhood alone is all consuming and overwhelming, let alone the expectations of traditions and holidays. Toss in a few strong feelings about the consumption of goods and my finances, I’m less than impressed with Halloween.
But just because I want to cross off all the consumeristic aspects of Halloween off my to-do list this October, doesn’t mean I don’t want to take part in the season and have fun like everyone else.
Here’s how we’re going to celebrate a Zero Waste Halloween with Kids. Or, with less waste. I’m not a zero waste family, but I am family dedicated to reducing our consumption of things and the environment.
Probably the biggest way to start a Zero Waste Halloween with Kids is to talk about it with your kids. Make what you do as a family your normal and emphasise your values as a family. Talk about why you choose to create your own costumes or go without. Talk about the impacts of waste and how by doing something different we aren’t missing out but enjoying a different experience.
Zero Waste Halloween with Kids
- Dress up in Orange & Black, or use costumes you already have. Perhaps your kids already have a collection of dress-up clothes, this is a great time to wear it out in public and show off your personality. Or, if dressing up in costume is really the bane of your introverted existence, just stick to rocking the colours of the season: orange and black.
- Skip Trick or Treating because there’s no good way around handling all individual candy wrappers. There are fun other things you can do instead.
- Halloween Movie Night – There are a ton of great Halloween movies for kids and this is a great time to hunker down with a bowl of popcorn, and turn off all the lights for that spooky feel (and to give off the hint you might not be home).
- Halloween Party – Not all Halloween parties will be zero waste since many party planners opt to keep things simple with single-use things, but sometimes, a simple Halloween Party hosted in a home with washable plates or compostable plates can help enjoy the season without the waste.
- Halloween Walk/Parade – In years past, I’ve hosted a Halloween walk with my local Hike it Baby where we’ve dawned our costumes and enjoyed the local forest. It’s a great easy way to celebrate the season with kids.
- Choose a Zero Waste Trick or Treat – Remember that house that gave out apples or oranges? While I’m pretty sure you can’t do that anymore, you can look for other lower waste options for trick or treat bags. Check out this great list for some ideas.
- Skip the fancy plastic bins for trick or treat collection and opt for the classic pillowcase. Reuse a different container and keep it practical.
- Stick to the houses in your neighbourhood. It seems ideal to visit the ‘rich’ neighbourhoods, but isn’t the best part about trick or treating about interacting with your neighbours?
- Haunted Houses – I’m mixed about Haunted Houses, but many Haunted Houses are budget productions that happen year after year. These are a fun way to enjoy the season without needing to decorate yourself, and for many Haunted Houses decor and props will be reused and enjoyed by many over the years to come. This is not the ideal zero waste situation, but I think communal are better than solo experiences.
- Think Before You Craft – I don’t have any advice or suggestions besides to encourage a conscious mind when crafting for Halloween. Think about the waste and process that goes into this process.
- Decorate Pumpkins – and then bring them over to your friend’s house for her chickens. Try source pumpkins from local farms and make a day out of it. We don’t have any local pumpkin farms to us, but we did visit one on our trip to Vancouver and brought back some pumpkins to enjoy and then feed to chickens. I’ve opted to carve them because while the ideas of painting seem safer with children it also requires more stuff.
- Save it All for Next Year – Don’t forget to think about those decoration, costume, or other Halloween purchases you’re making this year and save them for next year. I have a special orange bin I keep all my fall and Halloween decor in. It keeps it safe and in good condition to be used year after year and appreciated forever.
What are some ways you’re reducing your waste this Halloween?
Do you struggle with the over-consumption of things during the holidays? I do. It really bugs me and makes me feel less than and inadequate as I juggle expectations of society, myself, and the Earth.
And just because I can recycle something, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for my family or the environment. Recycling doesn’t mean green.