low waste halloween oranges instead of pumpkins

Trick or treating may not be an option this year but you might be keen to dress-up and participate in some fun family activities at home, or decorate your house to give the families in your neighbourhood something fun to look at while they’re out walking during lockdown. Either way Hayley Crawford aka Trash Talking Mama has some great tips to help you to reduce waste for this and future Halloweens.

In these uncertain times, it can be hard to forecast how acceptable it will by the end of this month to be knocking on doors and sharing treats. But because Halloween is approaching I thought I would share some tips on how to keep this event low waste.

Costumes are possibly Halloween’s largest contribution to landfill, including synthetic wigs, hats, masks, buckets and make-up. Making your own out of upcycled materials could become a fun tradition for your tamariki or find some pre-loved outfits second-hand. Re-using what you have is the ultimate mantra for zero waste so squeezing into last year’s unicorn onesie is a great move. If you must purchase new then choose something that can be worn on more than one occasion and that will fit long term.

The obvious problem with trick or treating is the packaging. If you feel comfortable, you could use tongs to serve unwrapped lollies from bulk food stores. Or keep dentist bills low and avoid sweets altogether by gifting items like stationery, coins, op shop trinkets or books your children may have grown out of. A thrifty option is to put out a bowl of pretty shells with a sign declaring ‘Trick or Treasure’. Mandarins make great mini pumpkins and are fun to decorate and give away. We have Halloween themed cookie cutters so it has become a ritual for us to share home baked bikkies with our neighbourhood.

As for setting the scene, you can use chalk to decorate your driveway instead of balloons and record ghoulish howls on your phone to play through a Bluetooth speaker. In supervised areas, candles can light up decorated jars imitating pumpkin lanterns. Or wrap repurposed tin foil around old jars and poke holes in the foil to create letters so that three jars can say the word ‘BOO’.

Ignoring this festivity altogether may be the ultimate zero waste approach but since Halloween has grown in popularity here in Aotearoa it’s nice to have some eco-friendly options.