Eco-Friendly Ways To Have A Green Halloween

halloween costumes and green halloween tips

As an eco-conscientious mother, Halloween haunts me long before it arrives! Halloween is a disposable holiday filled with single-use costumes, plastic accessories, and loads of waste from candy packaging to the pumpkins! Eek! All these one-use items are hard on the wallet and the planet which is why I make every effort to shop locally and source items that can be reused over and over. I’m sharing my top tips for adding some green to your Halloween:

Choose New-To-You Costumes:

Since the summer, my kids have been talking about what they’d like to be for Halloween. Their ideas change on the regular, which is why I wait to shop for Halloween costumes until around mid-October. Costume shopping is an easy way to save money by being less wasteful. First, I look in my children’s dress-up bins to see what we already have that can be used for the costume and then I search for used Halloween costumes and accessories to complete the look via my local UsedEverywhere site. You can search here to find your own site. If my children need a touch of make-up, I avoid the Toxic Ten ingredients found in cosmetics and head to my pantry to make my own using these simple    makeup recipes for fake blood, wounds, and glitter.

Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns:

Pumpkins are more than the blank canvas upon which to create scary Halloween decorations. I like to head to a pick-your-own farm or stop at a roadside stand to support my local farmers and help grow my children’s food literacy by seeing where their food comes from. We usually choose the smaller pie pumpkins to harvest the flesh before we carve them into jack-o-lanterns; it’s an economical and eco-friendly way to make the most out of a Halloween tradition! Pie pumpkins are sweeter that the larger pumpkins making them great for pumpkin pies or pumpkin smoothies and roasting the seeds to toss on salads. Once Halloween is over, place your pumpkin in your city’s organic waste bin or in your backyard compost.


Depending on what’s available, I look for organic or fair-trade candy in bulk to reduce packaging or support local businesses by buying their Halloween treats. Instead of plastic pumpkin shaped buckets, When it’s time to head out the door trick-or-treating, we grab one of our reusable bags, turning it inside out so that it’s plain and an LED-powered flashlight!

By following these above tips you can go along way to having an eco-friendly and fun Halloween!


  • Green Bean says:

    Great ideas here. I love that you have your own recipes for makeup wounds etc. We usually hit the thrift store for our costumes. It is one of the upsides of living in a densely populated area. Lots of other people’s cast-offs. The thrift store, this time of year, offers an entire rack of used costumes or we piece it together from the men and boy’s clothing aisles. How to reduce the candy that they get on the actual night though?

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      Hitting the thrift store is another good idea for sourcing costumes! We’ve managed to curb the mass amounts of candy thus far by having our boys return home to hand out. It’s part of our tradition!

  • O'Boy! Organic says:

    Love these ideas! In my community I’ve hosted costume swap events in my community that were really well received. I’ve also made my own costumes in the past, it’s getting harder now that the boys are getting older.

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      Soon your boys may be hosting their own costume swaps! A friend of mine recently held one and I helped to promote it but couldn’t attend sadly. I think it sounds fun!

  • Betsy (Eco-novice) says:

    Love the makeup recipes! I have a pretty good circle of mom friends through church and play groups and I love borrowing costumes. I just can’t fork over money for those crappy costumes they make these days. If I had more skills and time, it would be fun to make costumes — some of my friends are just awesome with that. We like to get our pumpkins and then paint faces on them instead of cutting them to make jack-o-lanterns. Less messy, and they last a lot longer!

  • lindsay says:

    Great ideas as always Sara! My mom always recycled our costumes!

  • Lori Popkewitz Alper says:

    Fantastic ideas Sara! The best part is they’re all so simple to incorporate into your Halloween celebration. As my kids get older I find they’re actually recycling old costumes. Love it!

  • Tiffany Washko says:

    Great tips! We always compost our pumpkins in the yard and end up with pumpkins growing by spring!

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      What a great way to continue the cycle of life for your kids! We don’t have a place to grow in our backyard yet but it’s something I hope to work on next year.

  • surviving and thriving on pennies says:

    Love the post! I will be sharing for sure. We use pillowcases for holding our candy just like I did as a child. No storing plastic buckets to use once a year. Woot!

  • Jen @ Go Green says:

    I am making B’s costume from scratch this year. TERRIFIED but so excited to have fun and not buy a used costume this year.

    I have never had much luck roasting pumpkin seeds and having them turn out tasty. Any recipes?

    • Sara Vartanian says:

      Ohhh, I’m in awe of you making the costume. That is an aspiration of mine. I can’t wait to see a photo of the final costume-good luck!

      My husband is the one who roasts the seeds and I always love them. I’ll ask him what he adds to them and let you know!

  • We actually do not buy new costumes for halloween we use the dress up clothes we already have. Since we use them all year round we really get their moneys worth (oh and they are all hand-me downs from my older nieces so even better)!