Sustainable Living

7 Ways to Reduce Your Waste This Halloween

Any holiday and celebration can create a lot of waste. Halloween with its abundance of candy wrappers and one-time-wear costumes is no exception.

To help make this Halloween a little more financially and environmentally sustainable, we’re sharing seven ways to reduce your waste.

Ways to Reduce Your Waste This Halloween

1. Shop second hand stores for decorations (or make your own!)

Since seasonal decorations are put out for such a short time, shopping second hand stores or online marketplaces are a great way to save money on these items.

The added bonus is that second hand items are better for the environment as they create less waste!

If you feel like getting crafty, you can also upcycle items into Halloween decorations. Here’s a little bit of inspiration from Angela at theswingontheoaktree.

2. Shop second hand stores for costumes

While you’re shopping for your decorations, check out the costume options too!

Most costumes are only going to be worn once, so thrift stores are a great place to look for them. This can be for a pre-made costume or one you are putting together with various pieces.

The bonus to buying second hand pieces for a costume is that you can feel less guilty for adding a Halloween flourish of fake blood or makeup to an article of clothing.

One of Krista’s favourite places to shop for her kids’ second hand costumes is Once Upon A Child as they have great sales and selection every year.

3. Borrow or trade costumes for kids

Kids grow so fast! So it’s unlikely they’ll be repeating costumes from year to year. If you have a local mom group or friends with kids, check in to see if they have costumes you can borrow. Another option is trading costumes you no longer use for ones you need.

If you can’t trade with other people, perhaps there’s a consignment store you could trade in your gently used costumes at.

4. Make your own costume

Instead of buying new, you can make your own costume with items you own or with thrifted items. We’ve even compiled a list for you to get inspired!

Check out our list: 20 DIY Halloween Costumes.

5. Save your candy wrappers and recycle them

In British Columbia we are lucky to have a number of great recycling programs. Some places will accept soft plastics, like your Halloween candy wrappers. Locally, our London Drugs Stores will accept these.

Here is some more info: Halloween Candy Wrapper Recycling

Check out if you have one local to you too!

6. Make treats instead of buying ones with wrappers

If you are keeping your circle small and with people you know, this is a perfect opportunity to make some treats yourself! Homemade items are not only a great way to reduce waste, but also a way to have healthier options because you know exactly what is going into your treat.

A few delicious looking options to try out are:

Epicure’s Halloween Cockroach Cake
Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
Apple Teeth Treats

Or make your own Caramel Apple Bar! (Find the Caramel Sauce and other products here: Christy Eldred – Epicure)

Photo from Christy Eldred – Epicure

7. Use your pumpkin leftovers

I always loved to carve pumpkins when I was a kid. I was never very good a intricate designs, but it was still so much fun. If you have a way to do it, you can compost your pumpkin innards and cuttings, but why not try and use them up first! (Keep in mind, your used Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin is not safe to eat.)

Krista’s shared some of her favourite pumpkin recipes in her post:
Eating Local in Every Season: Pumpkin

When I was growing up, we loved to attempt roasting the pumpkin seeds, but weren’t always successful. It’s always fun to try something new, though!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe adapted from

1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons butter, melted
Salt to taste (substitute garlic salt or other flavourings as desired)

1. Prepare the pumpkin seeds by rinsing with water. Alternatively, you can boil the seeds for approximately 20 mins to help in cleaning them.
2. Lay out the seeds to dry overnight.
3. Once dry, toss pumpkin seeds, butter, and salt in a bowl
3. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure they do not overlap
4. Bake at 300*F for 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally

What are your best low-waste, sustainable Halloween tips?


  • Ming Qian

    Hey Alison, we are not very big on halloween here, but I love that you put out these tips to help others reduce waste. I see a problem in how wastage increases during festive periods in general, your tips can certainly apply in different contexts too. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks, Ming! Holidays and festivals really do create a lot of waste. Thanks for bringing up how this post could possibly fit for other contexts too πŸ™‚

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