Zero waste Halloween
Wow where did the Summer go? We’re now well into September and the leaves are starting to turn on the trees and the mornings are beginning to have that Autumnal feel. I love this time of year. And, I love all the Harvest festival celebrations and other traditions such as Halloween.
Did you know that Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Marking the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter
Later, in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints; soon, All Saints Day. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later became known as Halloween.
Today Halloween is more about letting the kids have fun dressing up and going out Trick or Treating and an excuse for a Party.
Just because you’re on a Zero Waste, or Low Waste, journey and trying hard to reduce your waste doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun and join in with Halloween celebrations if you want to.
You just need to be a bit more conscious of your choices and put a little bit more effort into planning your Halloween.
Everyone needs a little bit of fun in their lives.
Zero Waste 5 Rs
If you start off by remembering Zero Waste is all about the 5 Rs:
- Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to plastic, say no to single use disposables.
- Reduce – Think before you buy.
- Reuse –Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away.
- Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recyclable rubbish in the recycling bin.
- Rot – Don’t forget to compost those pumpkins once you’ve finished with them.
If you follow the 5 R’s when planning your celebrations, you’ll be on the right track for a Zero Waste Halloween. But, if you need some inspiration I’ve got 5 ideas to get you started below.
5 Ways to have a Zero Waste Halloween
Zero Waste Halloween Trick or Treating
If you let your kids go Trick or Treating, which can be great fun, you won’t have much control on what they receive. However, you can influence what you hand out and also what your kids take with them to collect their goodies.
Remember Zero Waste is all about Reducing and Reusing. There’s no need to go out and buy a container for them to collect their treats in. An old pillow case can easily be turned into a booty sack, they can have fun decorating it. Or, if you have an old plastic bucket that the kids have used on the beach then why not decorate that for them to collect Treats in. You could even have a craft day with the kids beforehand making your own Treat collecting bags from old fabric or paper. There are loads of great ideas on Pinterest.
When it comes to the Treats you give out try to make sure they come wrapped in paper or cardboard. Packets of raisins are great, or you can make up bags of penny sweets in small paper bags. Even better you could decorate some tangerines or give out apples or a few coins.
Zero Waste Halloween Costumes
It’s fun for the kids to dress up for Halloween if they are going out Trick or Treating. And, if you’re having a Halloween party then you’ll probably want to dress up as well.
You can make Halloween costumes from old clothes and fabric you have or go and have a rummage through the second-hand shops. A ghost is always an easy option using an old sheet.
Makeup is a great way to get a spooky Halloween look. And, don’t forget to see if anyone has some old Halloween costumes they’d like to swap with you.
If you’re using face paints you want to go for the most eco friendly ones that don’t contain any nasties. There are quite a few recipes for homemade face paints which sounds good. However, most of them use food colouring and I’m always worried it will stain.
My favourite brand of face paints are from Natural Earth, the paints come in small glass jars and eco-friendly makeup applicators (with bamboo and corn resin handles) you can buy them from Conscious Crafts.
The face paints themselves are safe and eco-friendly with over 70% Certified Organic ingredients. The face paint washes off easily with soap and water. And, not only are the paints safe, but you will nourish your skin as they contain organic, fair-trade shea butter and organic castor seed oil. The facepaint is certifed non-toxic, and it is free of nano particles, heavy metals, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and animal products such as carmine.
Zero Waste Halloween Decorations
The perfect Halloween decoration must be the Pumpkin. They look brilliant when they’ve been carved and have a candle inside them. But remember to use the inside of the Pumpkin and not just throw it away (see below under food). And, when Halloween is over make sure you “Rot” and pop your Pumpkin in the compost bin.
You can also decorate mandarins with scary faces and pile them up in a bowl. Bats from old toilet rolls and bits of fabric. Mummy jars (take a look on Pinterest) candles and autumn wreaths for your front door. The list is endless you just need to release your creative skills.
Zero Waste Halloween Party Food
If you’ve carved your own Pumpkin rather than let all that Pumpkin flesh go to waste, why not make a Pumpkin Pie.
And don’t forget you can easily roast the Pumpkin seeds for a snack. Just preheat the oven to 300⁰F. Toss the pumpkin seeds with oil and salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool the seeds.
There are lots of great ideas for Halloween party food on Pinterest, including apple shrunken heads, spooky cupcakes, witches’ hats, cheese graveyard. I’ve saved lots of my favourites to my Zero Waste Halloween Board so pop over and take a look for some inspiration.
- 500g (1 1/4 lb) pumpkin, cooked and pureed
- 1 (410g) tin evaporated milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175g (6 oz) dark brown soft sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 350g (12 oz) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 200g (7 oz) butter
- 125ml (4 fl oz) cold water
- Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6.
- Scoop out Pumpkin seeds (keep for roasting) and stringy portions.
- Cut pumpkin into chunks.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, cover the pumpkin with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Drain and cool.
- Return pumpkin to the saucepan and mash with a potato masher.
- Drain well, and measure 500g of the mashed pumpkin
- Prepare pastry by mixing together the flour and salt.
- Rub butter into flour and add 1 tablespoon cold water to mixture at a time. Mix and repeat until pastry is moist enough to hold together.
- With lightly floured hands, shape pastry into a ball.
- On a lightly floured board, roll pastry out thinly.
- Transfer to a 20cm pie dish, gently pressing pastry into the bottom.
- Cut off any excess pastry hanging over the sides of the dish, and pinch pastry securely.
- In a large bowl beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- Pour into the prepared pie dish.
- Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Zero Waste Halloween Games
A party’s not much fun with some games. Our Grandsons love apple bobbing and it’s really quick and easy to organise and you only need a bucket some water and a few apples.
You could also try tin can bowling. Decorate some old tine cans then line them up and use a ball to try and know them down.
Thrifty fun also has a fun spider web game which looks fun Kids Spider Web Game
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fun Halloween whilst still working towards the amount of waste you produce it just takes a little bit more planning and creativity.
Hope you all have a fun time and I’d love to hear your tips on how to make Halloween Zero Waste.