• Hayley

Waste-free Halloween

Halloween is becoming more and more popular in New Zealand. But with this celebration comes a huge amount of waste! Cheap costumes largely made from polyester, individually wrapped lollies and disposable decorations. While I like the fun aspect for kids and the community events organised at Halloween I'm still struggling with the concept of knocking on strangers doors to ask for a treat. I also hate how commercialism is making this holiday a thing in New Zealand where it hasn't traditionally been celebrated just to sell more stuff! Regardless of my own opinion if you're planning to get into Halloween this year here are some tips for reducing your waste.


Halloween costumes are so cheap and this should be a good clue as to their quality and the materials used to make them. Most costumes are made from polyester, a plastic which can't be recycled and won't breakdown. I would also question given the price of these items how ethically they are made. To avoid buying a new costume this year why not try one of the following;

*Re-use costumes you already have

* Check out second-hand shops

* Borrow or swap costumes with friends

* Make your own using things you already have (check out these 52 DIY costume ideas - 1, 26, 33 and 41 look pretty easy to do. I think I can manage number 1 with things we already have)

* Use facepaint instead of a costume

Our site Live Love Lend (www.livelovelend.co.nz) is also perfect for sourcing or sharing a costume. You can sell costumes you don't need, rent ones you aren't using or just pass them on to others to help avoid waste.


Many people who participate in Halloween have a bowl of lollies at the door ready to hand out to kids who knock on their door. This is probably the most popular way to give a treat but there are other alternatives that don't involve individually wrapped lollies. Obviously hygiene still needs to be considered but here are some other ideas for treats you could give. If you get strange looks from kids for not giving lollies don't worry - it's pretty strange to knock on someone's door and expect anything, so my view is they should be pretty grateful for anything they get. That said I'm not promising they won't egg your house.

* Home made biscuits

* Mandarins (you can even draw crazy faces on them to make them Halloween themed)

* Home made fudge

* Buy sweets without wrapping from the bulk bins (use tongs to hand them out)

* Popcorn in paper bags

* Boxed items like smarties or raisins

You could even give out non-food treats such as a pencil, some home made playdough or some books from the second-hand shop. I recently bought 12 kids books for $8.


I've never decorated our house for Halloween so wasn't sure exactly what might work here. However I came across some great ideas from TreeHugger . Check out their page for the full ideas but I've summarised below;

* If you have decorations from other occasions like fairy lights or Christmas decorations that you might be able to repurpose drag them out

* Create spider webs using natural twine or string

* Create signs warning of danger ahead or make gravestones using old cardboard boxes

* Paint light bulbs to create spooky lighting or paint glass jars and put candles or tea lights inside

* Create ghosts or scarecrows with pillowcases or white sheets

* Use cardboard to cut out bats or even pumpkin shapes to hang around outside

* Alternatively cut up egg cartons and paint black for pretend bats

* Use old milk bottles to make ghost faces

* Have some scary music playing

However you choose to celebrate Halloween I hope you and the kids enjoy it. We've got a daycare organised disco and then I'll be turning off the lights and pretending I'm not home while the trick or treaters knock on my door :)