The Sustainimals' Tips for a more Sustainable Halloween

Posted by Julia Nachman on

Halloween brings up all kinds of mixed feelings over at Sustainimals HQ. On the one hand… FUN! Candy, decorations, costumes, staying up late… on the other hand, SO MUCH TRASH. Between cheap, polyester costumes that are worn once and thrown away, to flimsy plastic decorations that only last one season, to parties with paper plates and plastic cups, Halloween generates so much waste, much of which is single use plastic. And don’t even get me started on pumpkins. Too late! Pumpkins take water, fertilizer, and land to produce, energy to transport them to markets, only to largely end up rotting in landfills where they decompose and produce methane gas which contributes to global warming.

So, is Halloween canceled!?!??! It doesn’t need to be if we all get smarter and more intentional about how we celebrate:


  • Costume swap – check with other parents in your orbit who may have costumes from years past that don’t fit their kids anymore
  • Get creative – what do you have in the house that could work? Maybe an old sports uniform or a jersey, with some eye black using mascara? Maybe an old flannel shirt, a bandanna and cowboy hat? A Rosie the Riveter outfit using a jean jacket or denim shirt and a bandanna? Maybe a mummy using (recycled – see our blog post about Who Gives a Crap) toilet paper (ok, that one is not great, but better than some other options), or a bedsheet toga? A striped shirt, a beanie, and some glasses for Where’s Waldo?
  • Get crafty – try making a DIY costume, like using pipe cleaners to make animal ears on a headband, or construct a milk carton or pizza box costume using some of those Amazon boxes we know you have lying around
  • Hit the thrift store – no explanation needed!

Trick or treating:

  • Use a pillow-case or reusable grocery bag to collect candy, rather than purchasing a plastic pumpkin bucket
  • Hand out candy that comes in a box, rather than a wrapper – think Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Hot Tamales, Nerds, Dots… I’m not even going to suggest raisins. No one wants raisins
  • Buy local! Going to the local pumpkin patch is a fun activity, and a great way to make sure you are buying local
  • Wait until the last minute to carve your pumpkin so it doesn’t rot, and then actually use your pumpkin for food (or at least, compost it) rather than throwing it out
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack, there are tons of great recipes out there for pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin curry… If you find that you pumpkin was grown perhaps for aesthetics rather than taste (or you just don’t like pumpkin), guess what? Dogs LOVE pumpkin, and it is really good for them. You can freeze a bunch of pumpkin, and then thaw it as needed to use to fill Kongs or make homemade dog treats



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