When I started planning my upcoming Halloween party, I wanted to strike the balance between spooky-fun and sustainability. But I found a dearth of resources for green Halloween party ideas. Planning a fantastic green Halloween shindig, it turned out, was not going to be as easy as I’d hoped. But a fabulous party is within your reach. Read on for tips and ideas that will ensure your Halloween party is everything you want it to be.
After many hours of planning and scouring the internet for ideas, here are my best tips and ideas for a spooky, sustainable Halloween party.
Invitations: Virtual or Homemade
The greenest invitations are virtual and Evite has some fabulous Halloween-themed invites. If you prefer print invitations, you can make your own out of recycled materials you find around the house. Recent newspapers, print ads, and magazines are full of great fall-themed photos that you can use to decorate your invitations. You can even make your own envelopes out of festive magazine pages. Or you can design your own invites in Word (or graphic design software, if you’re skilled that way) and print them yourself on recycled paper. Any of the above options will be greener (and cheaper) than buying traditional invitations.
Forgo a trip to the Halloween section at Target and instead hit up your local nonprofit thrift store for festive finds at fantastic prices. You’ll be amazed by the abundance of decorations. On a recent trip to my local thrift stores, I found a haunted house candy dish, an unused jack-o-lantern candle, a witch’s hat, and a pumpkin platter — all for less than $2 each. Garage sales and church rummage sales are also great places to find cheap decorations.
Costumes: Creative or Used
The greenest Halloween costume is one that’s made from materials you have in your house. It’s possible even if you’re not crafty. Do you have a long black dress or skirt and shirt? You can be a witch. Jeans and a plaid shirt? A cowboy costume is calling you. A white sheet and some scissors? A simple ghost costume is just minutes away. Need some inspiration? Check out these 8 Great Green DIY Halloween Costumes.
If can’t find a suitable costume in your house, hit up those thrift stores again. Many second-hand stores, like Goodwill, even have a Halloween section where they put used clothes that would make good costumes. When I went recently, I saw dozens of wedding dresses, bold 70s printed bell bottoms and dresses, sports jersey, scrubs, and more. Just find something that fits and you’re good to go. Another great place to find a unique Halloween costume is Etsy. Whether you’re looking for handmade Wizard of Oz costume or a vintage flapper dress, Etsy has something for you.
If you can avoid face paint, do it. There are toxic chemicals in most face paint and you don’t want to put them on your own skin, let alone your kids’. If you decide it’s a must-have for your costume, check out this less-toxic face paint by Elegant Minerals.
Food and Treats: Healthy Halloween Recipes
As I’ve been searching for Halloween party foods, I’ve noticed an unsettling trend: food coloring, and lots of it. And it’s not just in store-bought candy like M&Ms, it’s in recipes for homemade cakes and cookies. Fortunately, I’ve found ways to avoid artificially-colored food and still have festive treats. One key is to focus on ingredients that are naturally Halloween colors — orange pumpkins and green bell peppers, for example. Also, think less about candy and more about seasonal ingredients. Here are some of my favorite Halloween recipe ideas:
- pumpkin pie squares
- jack-o-lantern mandarin oranges
- witches’ fingers made from string cheese and green bell peppers
- a jack-o-lantern veggie tray
- mummy dogs (which you could easily make vegetarian or vegan with meatless hot dogs)
- pumpkin gingerbread
- orange dream punch (make sure you choose dye-free ingredients)
Party Favors: Eco-Friendly and Edible
Typically made of plastic and with little prospect for long-term use, party favors are one of the most wasteful elements of a party. Plastic spider rings are fun for the first 5 minutes, but will likely end up in the trash in a few days. To come up with a truly green party favor idea, focus on making your party favors useful and memorable.
One of my favorite ideas for Halloween party favors is a cookie or cake mix in a Mason jar. You can use any recipe, but recipes that are make of appealing layers work best. Here’s an example of a cute final product (note that you’d want to avoid the M&Ms and go with a more natural candy choice). You could also bake a cupcake in a jar for each of your guests. For a kids’ party, you could buy inexpensive wooden toys or make homemade playdough; both will last much longer than plastic ghosts and spiders.
Looking for more awesome green Halloween ideas? Check out our Top 7 Green Halloween Tips.
What are your best green Halloween party ideas?
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