This year I’m mindful of all of the celebrations and events that have gone before and I’m more determined than ever to have Halloween without the horror this year! The waste generated can be such a lot and if you’re trying to be careful about waste it can be a really stressful time. But I want to reassure you that you really can still have family fun and lessen your waste!

Dressing up solutions

I don’t know about you but over the years I’ve had my fair share of last minute requests for weird and wonderful fancy dress costumes, the body bag was probably the weirdest of all and the pot of popcorn the most difficult by far. But I’ve always been up for a challenge, whether that’s for Halloween, birthday parties or for the dreaded World Book Day! Here are my top tips about how to manage this without spending a fortune and buying something that will only be worn once:

  • Team up with a group of friends or suggest to the school/nursery PTA that you have a shared store of costumes
  • Customise old dressing up costumes so they last longer, maybe add some length with some trimming
  • Old sheets and pillow cases are perfect for making into easy costumes and your children can help to design and draw directly onto them to make something fun – pillow cases make a brilliant tunic for children and all you have to do is cut out the arms!
  • Make your own or ask a lovely friend or relative to make it for you – you can use fabrics or clothing that you already have
  • Buy a size up, that way it might last a couple of years at least!
  • Check out the charity shops as they often have amazing costumes at affordable prices
  • When you’ve finished with costumes get in touch with local groups, drama groups, school groups etc, to see if they need any costumes donating
  • Buy themed pyjamas, that way they’ll be able to wear them for a good while, especially popular if they’re glow in the dark ones!
  • Use old clothes to get creative with your characters
  • Make accessories at home, like masks, as these can be a great effective finishing touch to your costume
  • Hand-me-downs are great with a bit of adjusting or adding some embelishments to.
Halloween without the horror
Dressing up solutions
Autumnal reflections

Other less waste options

So what about other less waste options? Like sweets if you’re doing trick or treating, and pumpkins. My advice for those would be to go to your local sweet shop (if you’re lucky enough to have one still) and get a good deal on sweets. You can pick up little paper bags really easily and then portion the sweets up beforehand. Alternatively look for tubs of wrapped chocolates as lots of the brands are now opting for compostable packaging. Things like boxes of smarties are available in multipacks, so this might cut down on plastic.

With pumpkins there are so many lovely tips for using them up, so that they don’t go to waste, here are some of my favourites:

  • Make pumpkin soup – fabulous recipe on BBC Food
  • Roast your pumpkin seeds – they make a deliciously healthy snack
  • Plant the seeds to grow your own pumpkins for next year!
  • Make pumpkin pie – lovely recipe on CBEEBIES for this!
  • Roasted pumpkin is delicious – chop into chunks and pop in the oven (add seasoning if required)
  • Leave chopped up outside for squirrels, foxes, badgers and birds to enjoy, even minibeasts will love leftover pumpkin
  • Make sure you compost anything you can’t use up.

If you’re hosting a Halloween party for your little or big ones this year, then I’ve got a few games which mine have absolutely loved over the years and all of which are plastic free:

  • apple bobbing – this one you can do outdoors to save the floor flooding, lots of fun and healthy too!
  • marshmallow bobbing – you can use icing sugar for this (flour is good but can get quite gloopy), it’s a bit messy but loads of fun
  • mummy wrapping – in teams using a toilet roll each, wrap one of the team from toes to head, best mummy at the end of 5 minutes wins a prize
  • pumpkin carving – mini pumpkins are great for kids to carve or to draw on for a fun Halloween activity
  • spaghetti treasure hunt – hide toys or sweets in cooked spaghetti for a fun activity.

Whilst these aren’t completely waste free, they are plastic free fun activities that children can enjoy.

I hope these tips are helpful and that you have a really fun plastic free Halloween without the horror this year!!

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