Plastic-Free Halloween Ideas

I absolutely love Halloween! It is fun for everyone, kids and adults! Who doesn’t love the idea of having an excuse to play dress up, eat treats and join in on the festivities? Since starting my low waste journey, each year as the leaves start changing and the whimsical costume ideas start appearing,  I get a little less excited than I use to. I still love Halloween, but now, I can’t help but think of all the waste this holiday generates. First off the costumes, often made of synthetic materials only to get used once, then thrown out. Then there’s all the candy wrappers that eventually end up in the landfill or flying around with the leaves. Lastly, all the plastic, cheap decorations that could be reused or rotted, but simply don’t get there.

With all that being said, I don’t want to scare off anyone or spoke them from enjoying this holiday. It simply comes down to planning ahead and getting a little more creative. Have a spooktacular Halloween and reduce your waste at the same time by considering these not-so-scary Halloween tips to keep things green this year. These tips are shared with you in three categories: costumes, decorations and trick-or-treating.


Halloween costumes can be tricky, because everyone hopes to find an original, yet cool costume and for some reason it’s taboo to wear the same costume more than once! The challenge of finding the right outfit becomes even harder when you take that challenge to be as least wasteful as possible. Which could mean not buying a brand new costume, or buying pieces made from unnatural fabrics. So here are three alternative ways that I like to find my costume each year.  By taking these three steps to find your costume this year, not only will you create less waste, but you will most likely save a lot of money!

  • Thrift shopping. These stores usually set up a whole section dedicated to dress-up costumes several weeks before Halloween rolls around. I like to scavenge and see what unique pieces I can find. If you can’t find a whole costume in this section, try thrifting single items from the regular clothes section that can be put together to create something special.
  • Make something. I put something together from things that I most likely already have. Classic Halloween characters are easy. Think black cat, librarian, hippy or pirate. I may have to go buy some last pieces that will tie the whole outfit together, but at least the majority of it will be covered.
  • Swap with friends. This is an easy way to get cool costumes that are all set to go. If you have some money to spare, you could even try renting from your local costume shops. For those parents out there, host a pre-halloween party where you and your kidlets can have fun trading and swapping (you could also have the kids make decorations at this party)


Just as costumes can be made, thrifted or exchanged, so too can decorations!  I promise it will come a much better price than buying them new. These tips are especially advantageous if you are throwing a Halloween party this year, as most of us do not throw big parties every year and do not usually reuse the decorations.

  • Thrift shopping. In their Halloween section, second-hand stores will have a huge diversity of Halloween decorations. Don’t forget to look in the rest of the stores to see what you could possibly use and transform into a decorations.
  • Do-It-Yourself. You can make your own decorations with a little creativity. Also a super fun way to keep kids occupied as the temperatures drop!
    For Example:
      – Do you have old plastic plants lying around or are  you are able to find some second hand?, Simply give them a coat of black spray paint to turn them into haunted plants.
      – Save used wine bottles, paint them black and stick a candle in them!
      – Keep old food cans and either paint, draw or write something on them.
      – Use old or second hand plant pots, paint them orange, black or even turn them into jack-o-lanterns.
      – Make a black creepy twig wreath with some dead branches and that can of black spray paint!
    The possibilities are endless. If you get stuck coming up with ideas, Pinterest and lots of blogs have fantastic ideas to help you out! Be sure to share them with us on Instagram – we love sharing great waste-free ideas!


  • Always REUSE! However you get a hold of your decorations, what is most important is that you reuse them. Extend the life of your decorations as much as you can.
  • Exchange. Sometimes you and some friends want to change out their decorations so before anyone throws anything away, ask around and see if anyone would like to swap a few items, or maybe even just borrow them.
  • Now let’s talk pumpkins. As fun as carving them is, most of the jack-o-lanterns will end up getting thrown out. At best, the seeds are sometimes kept and roasted into a snack. This year, consider keeping them whole so they stay good for long, and use them up in a meal when Halloween is over. A simple black marker can draw on Jack’s face in no time! If you still want to carve them, make sure to keep them out of the landfill and compost them instead. Check out our other blog on making pumpkin puree! 


Now this can be a little tricky since you can’t really hand out unpackaged treats as it is frowned upon by parents, but there are a few things that you can still do to reduce your waste as much as possible.

  • Avoid plastic packaging. You know those multi-packs that come with kit-kat, aero, coffee crisps and smarties, instead of reaching for a box full of individually plastic wrapped candy, reach for the ones that are packaged in a more natural wrapper such as only the smarties, nerds, junior mints! These boxes have a chance of being recycled. 
  • Use less packaging. If you choose to buy treats that are plastic-wrapped, try to lessen the plastic wrap by avoiding the big plastic bag that carries the individual packets. Bulk Barn is a great stop with a great candy selection, just make sure to bring your own jar to put the candy in.
  • Handout canned drinks. This may seem out of the ordinary, but there is no plastic waste and it makes the treat unique. Plus aluminum can be recycled endlessly!
  • Use a reusable cloth bag. When you’re out trick-or-treating, bring a produce bag, cloth bag or even pillowcase to avoid any unnecessary plastic containers to hold your treats.
  • Bring an extra bag. This bag will help avoid littering in case you or the children want a snack while you’re out trick-or-treating. You will also be able to pick up any other garbage you come across and keep the streets clean.
  • Get to Know your neighbours, promote a package-free neighbourhood trick-or-treat party. If you are able to get your friends and neighbours with kids together, you could all work together on handing out unwrapped bulk treats or homemade treats like candied apples and poppycock! Keeping it small, with people you know and trust, can ensure everyone has a safe and super fun Halloween. Plus, its a really good way to solidify friendships in the neighbourhood!
  • Lastly, visit London Drugs. Did you know that London Drugs has an in-store recycling program that accepts back candy bar wrappers!! Check the website for more information: 


Wishing you a waste-less holiday season!

~ Caroline & Briana


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I'm a passionate environmentalist at heart. Striving to create a difference in my community and in my home to make the world just a little bit better.