4 Tricks to having a Green Halloween

Hazel Needham

Hazel Needham

Halloween is the season for all things spooky, and its impact on the environment is no exception. When it comes to the unsustainable biggies like fast fashion and single-use plastics, we’re heading into the realms of outright horrifying.

So what can we do about it? Reducing carbon footprints doesn’t mean reducing avoiding the treats – it means using our tricks on how to have a green Halloween!


Spooky green pumpkin carvings taken from Alphamom.com

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Green Halloween Trick Number 1: Repurpose

Everyone knows that the most important thing about Halloween is finding a super spooky costume. But, unsurprisingly, scrolling through Amazon and having your plastic devil horns and flimsy pitchfork delivered to your door, for one night of halfhearted glory, is not the secret behind a green Halloween.

In 2019, it was estimated that 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste – equivalent to 83m bottles – was generated from throwaway Halloween clothing sold by leading retailers in the UK.

Hubbub, an environmental charity, researched Halloween costumes sold by 19 supermarkets and retailers – including Aldi, Argos, Asos, Amazon, Boden, John Lewis, M&S, Next, and Tesco – and concluded that 83% of the material used was polluting oil-based plastic destined for landfill. Ouch

Re-purpose stuff around the home

But who wants a costume that everyone else could buy anyway? Rather than splash out on a brand new outfit, feeding into the unsustainable fast fashion cycle (read more about fast fashion in our article here), get your green Halloween underway by choosing a complete one-of-a-kind outfit. One that no one has seen before!

Got an old bedsheet? Why not be a ghost? Or cut out an apron, add a little red paint and be that crazy scientist? Or butcher? Got some old stripy pyjamas – and suddenly you’re a bank robber? Any clothes with rips in? Rip them more! Add some white face paint and a whole load of dark eyeshadow, suddenly you’re a zombie! (For those of us who have been up early cutting out an apron, we may even be able to cut the eye shadow…)

Who said your old and tatty clothes couldn’t be used to become THE outfit of the year? Having a Green Halloween doesn’t only save the environment – but your street cred, too!

Green Halloween Trick Number 2: Thrift

Granted, not everyone has a set of old stripey pyjamas that can conveniently turn them into a terrifying Green Halloween robber. But repurposing doesn’t stop at your own wardrobe – there are plenty of other places to source an outfit without using the planet’s valuable resources for the sake of a few hours – which is what we do when we buy new.

Thrift shopping is a great way of getting one-off items at a bargain price and without a cost to the planet. Charity shops, online sites like Depop, Vinted and eBay and second-hand markets are all great places to look for a banging bargain. Bridezilla in a real second-hand wedding dress? It may be a Green Halloween, but next, you’ll be demanding something blue!


Green Halloween Trick Number 3: Get Hands-On

When you’ve got that Green Halloween environmentally-friendly outfit sorted, it’s time to address the decoration dilemma. Plastic cups, plastic pumpkins, plastic straws, plastic spiders, plastic skeletons…. you get the idea.

Here are some recommendations from the WWF website on how you can get (witch) crafty with your decorations this year:

  • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
  • Paint foam peanuts (packing materials) and turn them into worms
  • Clean Styrofoam and make Halloween masks
  • Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones
  • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves and branches from the yard, etc
  • Reuse your decorations from the previous year
image from Alwaystheholidays.com of pumpkin cookies, showing how to have a Green Halloween

Green Halloween Trick Number 4: Treats

Plastic doesn’t just stop at outfits and decorations, but it’s in sweet wrappers, too. We understand the convenience, but choosing plastic-free alternatives is a great way to have a Green Halloween. Buy sweets in bulk from plastic-free stores and distribute them in reusable or recyclable jars. Or try baking some goods – pumpkin cookie, anyone?

There you have it, our four tricks for a Green Halloween. For more tips on how to enjoy a night out AND look after the rainforest, take a look at our article – Sustainable Partying Tips!

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