Are you hoping to make less waste this Halloween? I’ve got some easy zero waste Halloween ideas that you AND your kids can get behind. Read on to learn about:
Our 2019 zero waste Halloween ideas
Halloween again already?? I’m not complaining – it’s actually one of my favorite holidays. And although it’ll look different this year cuz of COVID, we’re still aiming for a zero waste Halloween. Last year we made even more strides towards a zero waste Halloween, so I thought I’d share our low waste Halloween ideas with you.
For last year’s Halloween, we were inspired by Amanda at mamaeatsplants.com. She described their zero waste Halloween in 2018 and I knew that was what we would aim for in 2019.
How we had a zero waste Halloween in 2019
Here’s what we did. Each year, the kids get a UNICEF box from school to collect spare change and bills that get donated to UNICEF – trick or treat for UNICEF, it’s called. In the past, my partner and I have done our best to fill the little cardboard box with coins & bills.
We didn’t want our kids asking strangers for candy AND money on Halloween. It felt like asking for too much. So we figured we’d do the UNICEF part at home and let the kids do the candy part on the streets.
But this year, we got behind trick or treat for UNICEF, instead of trick or treat for candy. And one of the friends who came along collected spare change for a couple of other non-profits that support immigrant children at the border. How cool is that??
Let me explain how we got the kids into these zero waste Halloween ideas.
- First, I told the kids what Amanda and her family did – trick or treat for UNICEF, followed by a homemade dessert party at their home. Isn’t that a great idea? Says mom.
- Second, I proposed that if the kids decided to trick or treat for UNICEF instead of for candy, we’d have a literal BUFFET of homemade vegan desserts to come home to and pig out on. And plenty of leftovers to carry us through the next few days, fully sugar-fueled.
- Third, I proposed that the kids could each pick TWO desserts that they wanted to have on Halloween, and that I’d make them (within reason, of course, and with help from the kids if they were inclined). Basically, we were aiming for a dessert BONANZA.
- Fourth, I reminded the kids that the fun of Halloween is not about the candy. It’s about the planning, the costumes, the friends, the walking around, the excitement of it all. The energy on the sidewalks from throngs of kids and parents walking in the streets, having a good time. Such a fun night.
- Fifth, I reached out to another family who cares about low waste living to see if they would be interested in joining us and being a part of trick or treat for UNICEF with a dessert buffet to follow. They were in!
After going through all this, my girls had no qualms about giving up the candy in exchange for a dessert party with their buddies.
The kids each picked desserts (rice pudding, cupcakes, chocolate peanut butter bars, and cookies).
I started with a shopping list the weekend before to make sure I had all the ingredients on hand, in a low waste form (planning ahead for groceries always works better than last-minute shopping and not finding what you need in bulk). And then I started baking some of the goodies a couple of days in advance. That way I wouldn’t spend all of Halloween baking (I’ve got other work to do too!).
On Halloween, our friends came over and we had a healthy dinner of vegan pesto pasta and a green salad – yum! – before we started on our walk. Kids also got a little dessert before we hit the road.
I was a little worried about how people would feel about donating cash on Halloween for UNICEF. Surprisingly, no one blinked an eye or had any problems with the request! Full success. I forget the exact amount we raised but I think it was close to $100. Go kids, go!
After getting worn out walking around, we came back home and ate desserts. Also, instead of counting candy, the kids had a great time adding up their UNICEF donations.
Everyone was happy and full of sugar. No complaints at all.
This felt like a more zero waste Halloween than the previous year. You can read about our first zero waste Halloween ideas here. This year we didn’t actually take home candy and then give it away – we avoided that trash altogether.
If you’re hoping to have a low waste Halloween this year or next year or whenever the world goes back to semi-normal again, here are my key tips for a low waste Halloween
Tips for a low waste Halloween.
- Talk way in advance with your kids about your ideas
- Talk about the charity you’d like to trick-or-treat for, or ask your kids if they have any ideas. UNICEF provides cute boxes but you could make your own!
- Make awesome desserts. My favorite cookbooks for vegan desserts include Vegan with a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. I also love NoraCooks.com for amazing vegan recipes.
- Find another family who is on board with your idea. Are some of your kids’ friends into zero waste living? Or some of your friends? It’s more fun with a group!
- Remind your kids that the night is fun because of the dressing up & hanging with friends & and (post-COVID) having a good time in the neighborhood. Not because of the candy!
BTW, this year we’ll do something different to accommodate COVID. We might go on a treasure hunt with hidden bulk candy in the neighborhood! Or we might just go to a few select homes of people we know and trick-or-treat for UNICEF or homemade goodies at their door instead.
That’s what we did last year! Do you have any other thoughts on a low waste Halloween? I’d love to hear so leave me a comment below!
Liz at No Trace