Sustainable-ish Hallowe’en Costumes, Decorations & Treats

Hallowe'en Apothocary Display

Halloween used to be my favourite time of the year. It was the one holiday that didn’t involve buying copious amounts of gifts and seem to involve more fun than preparation. Well I can no longer say that this is the case. I have found that avoiding plastic at Halloween is impossible if you’re going to participate in the celebrations, particularly when you have children who don’t buy into the whole Zero Waste idea.

I know some of you will probably be shouting at your devices telling me that I should just inform my kids of how it’s going to be. I could do that, but I want them to embrace sustainability of their own volition and in my experience the quickest way to turn somebody off something is to force them to do it. So everyday I nudge, nudge them towards experiences instead of toys, nudge them towards package-free treats, nudge them towards sustainable Hallowe’en celebration and on and on.

But it’s not as if the more sustainable option is always clear. Take Halloween costumes. I fondly remember when I used to be able to cajole my kids into a pre-loved costume from the local charity shop, which i would pass on. Unfortunately a generic witch / vampire / zombie costume just doesn’t cut it any longer with them. Both of my kids have very clear ideas about being obscure characters from either a cult video game or a YouTube video. Groan! I’ve been researching materials and when you factor in the energy required to travel to the shops and packaging the materials come in you start to wonder if reusing materials or making costumes from card and paper is really sustainable at all. And that’s to say nothing of the time, something I seem in increasingly short supply of!

If this post sounds like a moan, it’s because it is! But fear not I have a solution brewing in my head. It’s too late for this year but it’s a project I’d love to get involved in for next year. I’ll keep you posted.

So avoiding plastic completely might be impossible but reducing your use of it is not. Here are some ideas for sustainable costume and decorating ideas that you can enjoy.

Decorations
The photo above is of my hall table which I’ve decorated with jars and bottles upcycled into apothecary paraphernalia. I store them empty in the attic and then just fill them with dyed water when Hallowe’en rocks around. You can download template labels online. My favs are from iDIY.com, Domestically Creative, Hallowe’en Forum

Happy Halloween Burlap Banner

This Hallowe’en banner , made in burlap / hessian by the author of the brendid.com blog, could be even more sustainable if were able to recycle food sacks and used tea to dye it instead of spray paint.

Illuminated Spider Jars

A blog on sustainable Hallowe’en decorations wouldn’t be complete without featuring some mason jars and here they are. Just fill up any empty jars with fairy lights, cotton balls or cheesecloth and either place a plastic inside or if you don’t have any paint one on the inside of the jar.

Upcycled Mummy Luminary

If spiders aren’t your thing then maybe you’ll be charmed by the delightful Mummy Luminaries, inspired by the Pottery Barn and created by the same person who did the banner above. What a talented lady!

Creepy Hedge

But let’s face it you put a pair of eyes on anything and it makes it look creepy. Am I right?

Costumes

Head on a Plate Costume

Made substantially from reusable and compostable items, Tesco have a tutorial on how to create this simple but effective Head on a Plate costume on their website.

Ring Pop Costume

So I have a think for card-based costumes. I think it’s my love of paper leaking out. Anyway I looooooove this DIY Ring Pop Costume by Studio DIY.  I don’t have time to make it this year but it’ll be on my to-do list next year.

pacman dress

I’m loving this easy-peasy Pac-man dress that allows you to use a simple black dress. So much so that I’ll be sporting it come the 31st! I find Costume Works a great resource for DIY costume ideas and if you’re a sewer you’ll find free Hallowe’en sewing patterns on So Sew Easy.

Paper Dinosaur Tail

If you’ve a dinosaur fan in the house you may like this downloadable template for a paper dinosaur tail.

Hessian / Burlap Sack Mask

And if you’re looking for something a bit more terrifying, there’s a whole series of tutorials on how to make your own burlap / hessian masks online. This is the tamest of the ones I found. The others totally freaked me out!

Treats
Every year I ask myself the same question how do I avoid plastic when buying treats to give out at the door. In the past I’ve made my own honeycomb but stopped when I discovered that it turns to gloop if it isn’t eaten straight away – unless you coat it in chocolate, which is too expensive for me. I’ve seen others suggest homemade popcorn, granola, cookies and buns. This might be an option but I’m a bit concerned that this stuff will turn to mush under the weight of shop-bought sweets.

Halloween Goodie Bag Toppers

We get approximately 40 trick or treaters on Hallowe’en night so I won’t be making these gorgeous Hallowe’en goodie bag toppers myself but I think they’re ideal if you’re having a Hallowe’en party with fewer guests. To make them a bit more sustainable I’d suggest replacing the plastic bag with a compostable paper lunch bags instead, which you can get these in most supermarkets.

Next weeks i’ll be featuring some novel Hallowe’en food ideas and stylish table decorating ideas.

If you have more energy than ideas then check out my Hallowe’en posts from last year including;

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Conker Laundry Liquid – Recipe and Verdict

conkers

Zero Waste chatter lately has all been a buzz about using conkers (horse chestnuts) to make Laundry liquid. The word on the street is that they’re a more sustainable alternative to soap nuts, which are flown to us from half-way around the world. Apparently conkers contain the same soap-like substance as soap nuts, saponin. So challenge set all I needed to do was find some conkers!

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Easy Peasy Homemade Rough Puff Pastry

Easy Peasy Homemade Rough Puff Pastry

Trying to live more sustainably has meant saying goodbye to some of our favourite foodstuff, or at least seeing them less frequently. This has often been beneficial to our health, waistlines and pockets but it doesn’t make the farewell any easier. One of those things has been pies and pastry because I haven’t been able to find affordable all-butter puff pastry without plastic easily.

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Plant one Veg this Autumn – Garlic

garlic bulb

It happens all to often. We have the best of intentions and then life interrupts. We swore we’d start growing veg this year and never quite got around to it. Well it’s not too late so I’m setting you a challenge; before Hallowe’en plant some garlic. They’re super easy to grow and now is the perfect time to plant them. You don’t even need a veg patch, a container will do fine.

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Organic Cotton and Natural Latex Mattress

organic latex mattress

 

It’s really not easy finding sustainable plastic-free products in Ireland. It’s still a niche market and I spend way more time than I’d like to admit hunting down ‘healthier’ alternatives to synthetic, chemical-laden mainstream offerings. One area that’s proven to be particularly tricky is the area of mattresses but after a huge amount of research I was delighted one made by an Irish company in Ireland from natural latex, lambswool with an organic cotton covering.

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Self-Sufficiency and Jam

The Good Life

Maybe it was that quirky TV sitcom from the seventies; The Good Life, that led to my hankering for a life of self-sufficiency. It’s a hankering that’s existed for the longest while and one I feed frequently with articles about growing your own fruit and veg, preserving it through the winter and stocking your own pantry with all manner of homemade paraphernalia. Of course this has never actually translated into reality. I have skirted around the edges of self-sufficiency with great aplomb, but actually living off the land completely doesn’t really sit with my very cosy suburban life.

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My Sanity Saviour – Knitting and my Knitwit Friends

Rainbow Wool

I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for over a year without mentioning what has become a cornerstone of my life. I joined my first knitting group about 4 years ago during the winter months. Seemed like a good way to keep these gardening fingers busy while the garden was snoozing. Little did I know how much I’d benefit from the therapeutic click-clacking of needles in the warm and supportive bosom of fellow knitters.

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Greening our Way back to School

Green Schooling

I’m so disorganised this summer. I haven’t sorted out school uniforms or shoes and I’ve only just ordered school books. I think I’m in denial that the summer is over. Where on earth did it go this year? Never mind, it’ll all sort itself out and if my kids have to wear last year’s uniform for a couple of weeks, well so be it. Might mean I get pre-loved ones or new pieces at half-price!

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Minimalism, my way

Minimalism Detail

I’m very late with my blog post this week primarily because I’ve been knee-deep in DIY for the past two-week and only just got finished at 1am the morning carpet was being fitted. We’ve been living in this house for 8 years and had the 40-year-old carpet ripped out when we installed a new heating system 7 years ago. It’s taken us that long to fit a new one, for lots of reason. Now we’re the proud owners of the most sustainable carpet our budget would allow; an 80 % wool 20% nylon carpet laid on underlay made from offcuts of furniture foam. We considered getting a 100% wool carpet or one made from another fully biodegradable fibre but they weren’t as hard wearing as 80/20 wool/nylon blend and when we install carpet we do so for life. This is the carpet people will be spilling tea/whiskey on at our wake!

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