Halloween is the perfect time to indulge in some scary treats and dress up as that awesome character you always wanted to be when you grew up. But it can be a real nightmare for our environment. More than 40 million kids go trick-or-treating each year and this adds up to a scary amount of waste: discarded packaging and store-bought costumes made of non-recyclable plastic and synthetic fibers. Plus, many of the costumes can include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic and known carcinogen that can release harmful toxins.

But, we love Halloween!! So what to do? Make your Halloween GREEN! Here are some ideas on how to do it, easily.


  • Leave the toxic Halloween costumes on the rack. Go for a green Halloween costume made of natural fabrics and materials. Have fun sorting through costume selections at thrift shops like Good Will or ARC. Arrange a Halloween “costume swap meet” at your school, church, or community center. Send invitations that include details to bring any old costumes they might have stashed around their house. Spend an evening mixing and matching costumes until everyone is dressed for Halloween!
  • Face paint? Look for organic, non-toxic face paint that complies with standards set by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. You can even make your own face paint by combining cornstarch, solid shortening, and food color. With a little time and patience, you can create the perfect faux mask!
  • Avoid the ubiquitous (and b-o-r-i-n-g) bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns that have zero chance of ever breaking down in a landfill. Instead use reusable shopping bags, canvas totes, gallon-size ice cream buckets, or the old pillowcase trick. Decorate them with reflective tape, fabric paint, glitter, or felt cutout shapes. These can be reused and redecorated for years to come. A funky thrift shop handbag can add a fun twist to a green Halloween costume as well!
  • Minimize candy packaging waste by buying in bulk and selecting Halloween candy that uses the least packaging.
  • Don't be spooked by old-fashioned tradition. For a never-fail and eco-friendly Halloween costume, be a classic bed sheet ghost! Woo!
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