Halloween

Eco-Friendly Halloween

Most people think that the scariest things about Halloween are the ghouls, goblins, zombies, vampires, and giant spiders that come out of hiding. What’s our biggest fear during this eerie holiday? An eco-UN-friendly Halloween! Sometimes decorations and celebratory choices can unknowingly be harmful to the planet and our animal friends. Below are some tips on how to celebrate Halloween in the most ecofriendly way!

Ecofriendly Halloween tips

(here's what to do)

Compostable items

Decorations like pumpkins and gourds are perfect for Halloween. They transition into November well — hello Thanksgiving, we see you! Once you’re done using them, they can be composted. Bonus points, pumpkin seeds can easily be roasted in the oven for a delicious snack.

Paper decorations 

One way to get the kids excited for Halloween is by giving them some of the responsibility of decorating! Paper decorations are generally easier on the wallet, allow for some creative exploration, and are recyclable! You can come see our black paper bats at our own Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo! We also love these cereal box tombstones.

Recyclable candy packaging 

You may not think that your choice of candy could be environmentally friendly, but it can be! Next time you’re in the candy aisle pay attention to how much plastic is used for your Halloween candy choices.  Lots of candies are individually wrapped with plastic. Other candies are individually wrapped with material like cardboard that can decompose easier than plastic. Some earth friendlier options are Nerds, Dots, Junior Mints, and Milk Duds.

LED and solar powered lights

Lights are incredibly important when we are all tiptoeing around in the dark. Opt for LED and/or solar power when purchasing flashlights and decorative lights. They even come in a variety of colors and designs! These options are energy efficient, have a longer lifespan, and can save you money on your electric bill.

REPURPOSE COSTUMES

Most Halloween costumes are usually worn once. We don’t want to dress up as the same thing we were last year either, but someone else could want the costume. Host a costume swap party to help cut down on the wastefulness of a one-night outfit. You can even put out some craft supplies & show off your DIY skills. Perhaps last year’s Cinderella costume could transform into this year’s witch costume.

ECO-UNFRIENDLY HALLOWEEN TIPS

(HERE'S WHAT TO AVOID)

Fake spider webs & other decorations made with entangling fibers

If you like to use these as decorations, keep them inside your home. Wild animals can get stuck in them and as they try to free themselves they become more tangled. It is like a human size spider web that catches birds & bats, rather than bugs.

Decorations with loops or closed circles

Animals are curious and might get their heads stuck!

Decorations with tiny, dangling, edible-looking parts

Birds, squirrels, and other creatures spend a large portion of their day scavenging for food. We don’t want wildlife confusing Halloween decorations with a yummy snack.

Hanging string lights or other rope-like decorations near paths where deer may cross

Deer antlers are larger than you might think! They can get tangled in the string lights and ropes.

Leaving candy outside & and its wrapper

For houses that leave a bowl of candy out for Trick-or-Treaters, be cautious of how long candy is left out. You may have more than people visiting your porch. Unattended candy can be a hazard to hungry critters.

Animal crossing

We know drivers are already on extra alert for children on Halloween night, but don’t forget about those animals that may be spooked out of hiding due to all of the unusual nighttime activity.

Plastic trick-or-treat containers

Here’s an opportunity to reduce, reuse, recycle, and perhaps even get a little crafty! Decorate a pillowcase or tote bag. Perhaps you can use that old basket that collects unread magazines in the bathroom. You can even dig out an old oversized purse! Many items that you already own will hold candy. Save money and the planet by refraining from plastic usage.

Written by Christa Fryling

Green Your Halloween

As we count down the days to Halloween, many people enjoy the decorations and costumes that come along the way! Holidays don’t have to hurt the planet (or your wallet)… take a look at the following ways to “green” your Halloween this year! 

Green Tips:

  • Make decorations from recycled materials like toilet paper tubes, tin cans, newspaper, and glass jars!
  • Give out locally sourced treats from farmers markets or make your own treats
  • DIY your costume using materials you already own, or from purchased items at a secondhand shop
  • If giving out candy, be sure it's free of palm oil! Irresponsible harvesting of this harmful ingredient causes deforestation and habitat loss in the rainforest!
  • Use a reusable item to collect candy while trick-or-treating! Pillowcases, drawstring bags, and reusable shopping bags are great resources!
  • If carving pumpkins, save the seeds to roast as a healthy snack, and compost the "guts"!
  • Don't throw those decorations away! Save them to reuse year after year.
  • If it's safe to do so, walk from house to house while trick-or-treating instead of driving! This cuts down on harmful vehicle emissions.

additional resources:

Written by Ali Chiavetta

Palm Oil-free Halloween candy

You can do your part to help by only supporting companies that make sustainable, palm-oil free candies this Halloween.

Go the extra mile and help write letters to ask large companies to stop using unsustainably-sourced palm oil! 

Our friends at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo made this helpful PDF to use as a template when writing your letter! 

You can also download their sustainable palm oil shopping app to help you make easier decisions when you’re in the grocery store! 

Learn more about what’s being done around the world through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil HERE.