A large pumpkin surrounded by a basket filled with decorative pumpkins a nod to a green halloween.
October 19, 2023

A Complete and Fun Guide on How to Enjoy a Green Halloween Starting This Season!

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here’s a persistent misconception that sustainability sucks the fun out of things. We are here to prove that wrong by showing how a green Halloween can maintain all the strangeness and silliness you love most about the holiday without leaving the planet haunted by waste and remnants of that ghoulish joy.

In this guide, we’ll share tips on sustainable Halloween costumes, picking more eco-friendly candy, what to do with all your carved pumpkins and more! Our approach is all about protecting the fun while reducing waste and environmental harm. The only hauntings on Halloween should come from the ghost in your attic, not the shock of litter-lined streets.

Table of  Contents

1. Sustainable Halloween Costumes

A woman, man, and child wearing halloween costumes walking into the fall sunset on halloween night.

Most Halloween costumes are a one-time thing. You wear it, give your friends an almighty fright (and get it on video), and then it ends up gathering dust in your closet for years until it’s thrown out – that is, if it even lasts the night. Too many Halloween traditional costumes are poorly made and quickly land in the trash. In 2019, a UK study found that Halloween outfits generated the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles in waste.

If you’re looking to make your Halloween green this year, consider starting with more sustainable Halloween costumes. We’ve put together a full guide on just how to do it, from easy DIYs with accompanying videos to smaller steps on how to make existing costume ideas a little more eco-friendly. Click here to read it. There’s a paper mâché pumpkin head in there that should not be missed.

2. Face Painting Fun

A child having her face painted by an adult.

Face painting for Halloween can completely transform a costume and is usually a highlight for young kids. Unfortunately, many face paints on the market contain chemicals that aren’t great for humans or the environment.

Here are 3 face-paint brands with safe, non-toxic ingredients to make your eco-friendly Halloween even greener:

Earth Paints Natural Face Paint Kit

This is the best of the best. With 70% certified organic ingredients, this vegan paint brand is free of nanoparticles and heavy metals and even comes with bamboo applicators as a final eco-friendly touch.

JOYIN Face and Body Crayon Pack

These crayons are non-toxic, FDA-approved, fragrance-free, and suitable for sensitive skin.

Craft Pro Kids Face Paint Kit

The kit is vegan, cruelty-free, nontoxic, and comes with stencils and a guidebook for easy application.

3. Sustainable Halloween Candy for Trick-or-Treaters

A bowl of colorful bulk candy representing waste free and thus sustainable Halloween candy with festive decor in the background.

What even is Halloween if not a socially approved day to run around on a sugar rush? Americans bought about 600 million pounds of candy for the spooky holiday last year with the vast majority of it creating excess landfill waste. It’s not just the wrappers that need watching out for, but some of the environmentally harmful ingredients. Click here for a list of 15 sustainable Halloween candy options for trick-or-treaters that can help cut the waste this year and do better for the planet.

4. Environmentally Friendly Trick-or-Treat Bags

decorated recyclable paper bags for trick or treating

Beyond the treats themselves, trick-or-treat bags can be yet another source of unnecessary waste on All Hallows Eve. Here are 3 sustainable options:

  • An old pillowcase (this way you get to put your upcycling knowledge into practice!).
  • Paper bags that can be recycled. Here’s a quick and easy guide on making ones that look like pumpkins.

5. Eco-Friendly Halloween Décor

An example of more Eco-Friendly halloween decorations such as decorated pumpkins and candles hanging on a wooden porch at sunset with string lights in the background.

Like the costumes, Halloween décor tends to involve large amounts of plastic and items that are quickly disposed of. Going for more sustainable Halloween decorations, however, is easier than many realize. It can be as simple as buying second-hand, supporting smaller Etsy creators, or just getting creative with a few at-home upcycling DIYs. Click here to see some of the best places to buy your sustainable Halloween decorations and a few easy projects on making your own from eco-friendly materials. 

6. Sustainable Halloween Candles

Sustainable halloween candles in the shape of ghosts from Etsy.

The general rule of thumb when considering sustainable Halloween candles is to avoid anything that uses non-recyclable packaging, artificial fragrances, or paraffin wax which releases harmful chemicals when burnt. It’s also worth getting candles with a cotton wick as it burns cleaner than other materials. 

Here are four of our favorite Halloween candles that don’t skimp on spookiness or sustainability:

  • Slow North Limited-Edition Halloween Candles: Not only are these beautifully hand-painted candles vegan, made with soy wax, and a cotton wick, but they are also fragranced with essential oils and come with plastic-free shipping.
  • Spiced Maple Butter Candle Making Kit: Make your own candles with this kit featuring coconut wax, a non-toxic fragrance, cotton wick, compostable bag, and plastic-free shipping.
  • Bulk Beeswax Tealight Candles: These are a great option if you are looking for sustainable mini candles to place inside your carved pumpkins. They are waste free and are made with beeswax which is renewable and sustainable!

7. Sustainable Pumpkin Carving

Locally grown pumpkins sitting on a wooden porch of a sunny fall day.

Pumpkin-lined porches are a beautiful Halloween tradition, but there’s a dark side to it. 1.3 million pounds of pumpkin goes to landfill each year after the holiday. Here are a few tips on how to bring down that frightening statistic and keep your Halloween green:

  • Purchase pumpkins from local growers, especially those who use organic farming methods.
  • Buy “pie” pumpkins that can be used as décor on the day but then be used for food afterward.
  • Leave a carved pumpkin out as a bird feeder and compost the remains.
  • Bury the pumpkin! It might sound a bit weird, but it allows it to decompose naturally!
  • Once carved, use sustainable candles to light up your pumpkins. We've provided a good option for this in the previous section.

8. Tips for Hosting a Green Halloween Party

paper and bamboo made sustainable party cups, utensils, and plates that can be used for a halloween party.

Hosting large groups of people can be tricky to do without incurring waste, but here are some quick tips on creating a green Halloween for your coven gatherings:

  • Stick to drinks in aluminum containers where possible as it’s easier to recycle than plastic or glass.
  • Mark your recycling bins with fun paper signs so partygoers use them.
  • Swop plastic cutlery or cups for paper and bamboo instead. Items like this can also be rented out or purchased for discounted amounts at thrift shops.
  • Encourage your friends to carpool or walk so that transportation is more sustainable.
  • Source food from local farmers’ markets if possible and avoid plastic packaging where you can. 
  • Compost any leftover food yourself or check out local composting projects.

Go Green This Halloween

Ultimately, creating a green Halloween comes down to reducing waste and environmental harm wherever you can. Take the tips from this article that work for you and leave the ones that don’t. Even small steps of sustainability like using paper cups instead of plastic or re-thinking what you do with old, carved pumpkins help protect our collective spooky fun on this planet.

Happy Halloweening!