I get it, putting up a firm hand against excessive consumerism is hard. Especially during the festivities when everyone wants to come together and have fun. It doesn't help that the supermarket aisles are breaking at the seams with knick knacks that are screaming for you to take them home.
But going zero-waste or simply trying to be adopt a greener lifestyle, doesn't have to be boring.
Sure, it requires certain compromises and a tad bit more effort, but it's also the perfect opportunity to foster creativity and spend some quality time with your family.
Whether you’re looking for Halloween decorations, an easy solution to the ‘trick and treat’ tradition or some eco-friendly costume ideas; this ultimate zero waste Halloween guide has got you covered.
Little discliamer: Paper remains one of the most easily recyclable materials which is why this post includes some tutorials that comprise the use of paper.
There's no denying it; the mechanical arms and spooky doorbells that fill the supermarket aisles around Halloween have a knack to bring out the glee in me. Luke and I can spend hours in that aisle giggling and turning every single gadget on. Especially Luke.
Unfortunately, they're not the most environmentally-friendly things. They're all made of cheap plastic and made to not last (so you can buy some more the following year).
So this Halloween, we've found ways to get the Halloween spirit going in our home without having to buy a pile of junk. It's definitely more on the poetic and subtle side, but the place feels so cosy and autumnal; I am absolutely in love with it. Plus, you can definitely twist things up to add a more macabre feeling to the setting if that's more your vibe.
Okay, let's get started!
Upcycled booze bottles
- Print the downloadable labels on an A4 sheet of paper.
- Cut out the labels. This can be slightly challenging because of the shape of the labels, but just take your time with it and don't worry if it's not perfect. It's all part of the Halloween charm!
- Apply paper glue to the back of the labels. They are sized for the average wine bottle and should, technically, fit perfectly.
- Ta-dah! There you have it; upcycled Halloween decorations.
DIY Pumpkin Scarecrow
- Carve the head of the scarecrow using the medium pumpkin. You can do whatever you like; a goofy one, a scary one or a happy one. It's completely up to you!
- Place the large pumpkin where you want your scarecrow to reside
- Add some hay on top of the large pumpkin making sure some of it is overlapping
- Add the carved pumpkin (the head) on top of the large pumpkin and the hay
- Add the scarf around the "neck" area
- Stuff some more hay in the scarf
- Add a hat or any other props you like. You could add stick arms etc.
- Don't forget to give a name to your scarecrow!
DIY black flowers
- Using the different circular shapes, make circles on the piece of black craft paper
- Cut out using scissors
- Once cut, fold each circle in 4 quarters
- Roll into a cone shape (see video)
- Pinch the end and twist (see video)
- Play around with the inner folds to shape them into petals
- Add them to a bowl or spread them around individually
You'll have to excuse the fact that I'm wearing my bathrobe in this video!
'Twas a cold day. xD
This bit is all about your sense of imagination and aesthetic. You can them as you like. I've found that starting off with one element and scaterring them in a random way before moving on to the next one works best. For e.g, I placed all the pine cones in a hapazard way first, then moved to the pumpkins and, finally, the leaves. It gives me a sense of order whilst trying to create chaos.
If you're wondering where to get leaves from, just go to your nearest park or forest and pick some up. For anything that you want to cut, you're better off going to a forest. Bring some pruning shears, so you don't end up damaging any of the plants. Depending on where you live, you might have to ask permission before picking something. But most of the time, it's fine.
If you have a garden, then you're pretty much sorted without having to go anywhere!
This one requires a bit of equipment but is still one of my favourite things to do. Once you get the hang of it, you'll not only be glad that you've acquired a new skill but you also won;t have to buy super expensive candles anymore!
Made with soya wax and essential oils, they smell incredible and are not harmful to your health and the environment.
Candle making usually requires some form of powerful glue or plastic stickers to keep the wick and tab stuck at the bottom of the candle. Since this is all about zero waste, we are going to make our candles using a slightly different technique so as to bypass the need for stickers.
- To know how much soya wax you need, fill the container you're going to use as a candle with soya wax and double the amount. For e.g. if your jar holds 50g of soya wax flakes, you'll be using 100g of soya flakes in your candle recipe.
- Put your soya wax flakes in a stainless steel bowl and place the latter over a pan of boiling water.
- It should turn into liquid fairly quickly
- Add essential oils to your liking and mix thoroughly. I added 3 tablespoons of cinnammon bark oil, 5 drops of sweet orange, 4 drops of Frankincense and 4 drops of Atlas cedarwood. The amount of essential oils you add will vary according to your jar size and the potency of the scent you're going for.
- Dip your tab in the wax and stick it to the bottom of the jar; do your best to get it in the center.
- Hold the end of the wick, put in a TINY bit of wax; until you've got the tab covered in wax.
- Leave it to cool. Because we're not using a sticker, we need the wax to glue the tab to the jar. If you don't do this step, your wick will start floating around and it will be a nightmare.
- Once it's full cooled, add the rest of the wax carefully. You don't want to dislodged the wick.
- Leave to cool fully.
- Enjoy your candle!
Halloween simply wouldn't feel the same without pumpkin carving. Thankfully, it can be a 100% wasteless activity. Make sure to keep both the seeds and the flesh from your pumpkin as you can roast the seeds in some spices for a delicious snack and you can turn the flesh into pies, soups or stews. You could even make pumpkin crisps out of the pumpkin skin!
At the first sight of an autumn leaf, our stores seem to be breaking at the seams with halloween costumes that will ultimately end up in the back of cupboards or, worst, the landfill.
There are definitely some ways to have a really cool Halloween costume without having to buy unnecessary things. Here are some eco-friendly costume solutions.
As a certified lazy person, my preferred option when it comes to the Halloween costume, is to walk to my wardrobe and have a look at what’s in there.
I don’t think people realise the number of Halloween outfits you can create just by digging into your wardrobe; especially if you use makeup to help bring your outfit together.
Bazaar has some great costume ideas to create from your own closet.
Think of your favourite film, video game and book characters. The list is inexaustible!
Last year my boyfriend dressed up as Joel from The Last of Us (one of his favourite video games). All he had to do was wear his jeans, one of his checked shirts, his watch and a little makeup. He was over the moon with the results.
I've dressed up as a wastelander from Mad Maxx before and Eleven from Stranger Things. All of those didn't require purchasing anything that I wouldn't wear again.
Kandee Johnson has done some amazing tutorials on how to sculpt your face into somebody else’s with makeup.
Renting:Before starting off my sustainable journey, I always wondered why in the world you’d rent clothes.
Now, I see renting as the ultimate solution to preventing unnecessary waste going to the landfill and avoiding your personal space from getting clogged up.
Unfortunately, hiring a costume for Halloween is still quite a new concept in the UK and most of them require you going in store to rent it instead of the quick and easy online option. Give a quick google to your nearest costume store and see if they’ll rent you a costume.
Swapping: Consider swapping with friends and family.
Buying second hand ― You can shop for costumes second hand on Preloved, Ebay and Gumtree.
Trick or Treat!
The Trick or Treat conundrum
Pollute the earth or break the hearts of cute, but too hyper, children? Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The ultimate lazy solution to not disappointing any monsters knocking your door and sticking to your Zero Waste values is actually quite simple. It's pick n' mix.
Bring a paper bag or use their own and fill up with sweets. It won't only bring you down memory lane again but it's also more fun than buying a box of Mars and sticking it on a shelf; that's for sure!
I know Tesco Extra and The Olde Sweet Shop do pick n' mix and there are probably some independent ones around your local area too. The Olde Sweet Shop is a bit on the expensive side, so I don't know about going there for all of your Halloween sweets. However, the The Olde Sweet Shop is an experience in itself and a trip there is always a delight.
I personally ended up going to the Tesco Extra down my street and getting all my sweets from there; which was perfect for the lazy sod that I am.
So there you go! That was my last minute, easy and lazy guide to Halloween that works for us Zero Wasters. I hope you found some of those Halloween tips and tricks helpful. If you do try them, tag me on Instagram, I would love to double tap them! Happy Halloween!
Note: Some of those tutorials require sharp knives and tealights. Please be careful with children and do not leave unattended lanterns around as they do represent a hazard.