trick or treat part 4: go green with your halloween giveaways
Now that you’ve successfully sourced a costume and turned the house haunted without buying everything new, it’s time to give yourself a giant pat on the back. You deserve it!
But now the trick-or-eaters are about to arrive, and you’re left with a bigger dilemma - What do you give away that will not come individually wrapped in problematic packaging?
The first and most obvious option is to not give away anything at all. WHAT?!
But for those of us that just love seeing the cute little baby pumpkins and princesses skipping towards the door, turning off all the lights and pretending we’re not home seems kinda...goulish. So, what's a zero-waster to do? Here are some idea for reducing waste while still joining in the Trick-Or-Treating fun.
Kids love to play games, so why not be the only house on the block with something fun for the kids to do. You could set up games like ring toss, corn in the hole or Jenga. If it's not too cold outside you could also set up a Halloween craft station where kids can decorate mini pumpkins, or read up on our previous post about Halloween decor for more craft ideas.
Another option might be to have kids play Skeleton Scramble. Cut out skeleton parts from cardboard and hide them around the yard, then have kids find the pieces and place them on the Skeleton Queen/King (a template you can make from cardboard and secure to a tree) until a complete skeleton is made!
If you’re short on yard space, you could alternatively let the kids take the fun home by giving out creepy-creature colouring pages, a Halloween Scavenger Hunt, books, or word puzzles and games. No one said Halloween just had to be about rotting teeth!
Don't Give Out Food
In the spirit of reducing waste, giving away items that will last and can be reused is a great alternative to sugary sweets. Parents might even appreciate the break from sugar, and kids can enjoy the fun for days to come.
JustEco HB or color pencils found at Bare Market, are fully biodegradable and can even be planted once they run out! Or try Onyx Green recycled newspaper pencils. Sidewalk chalk is another great option (simply buy it in cardboard instead of plastic).
There are also tons of simple recipes for homemade, non-synthetic slime or bouncy balls, which is a great craft activity for kids. Check out these borax-free slime recipes by Little Bins for Little Hands. The chia seed, chocolate fudge, and gummy bear recipes are easily made waste-free (Psst - package-free cornstarch can be found at Karma Co-op)
If you've got young kids at home, here is a great DIY hack that repurposes waste. Collect all the kids’ broken crayons and melt them down into fun shapes to give away. Another great way to introduce kids to the low-waste movement is to hand out items like bamboo straws, which are both practical and educational.
What else? How about mini cookie cutters, wooden spinning tops, or coins.
What About Plastic-Free Treats?
As much as we want to change the Halloween narrative, let's be real, it’s predominantly about candy. Kids want all the candy they can get while they're allowed to have it.
Within the last few decades parents have become concerned about unwrapped candy. So, where does that leave us? With people feeling like they have no choice but to hand out individually wrapped goodies. And where does that leave the Earth? With millions of tiny pieces of non-recyclable plastic floating around. A veritable Halloween nightmare!
The most environmentally friendly thing to do is opt for a completely waste-free snack like whole clementines (you can draw spooky faces on them for added fun) or apples. If you feel that your neighbors are open to homemade treats, you could spice it up with caramel apples (check out this simple, corn-syrup-free recipe from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition). For a fully compostable solution, you can avoid the popsicle stick that will go straight to landfill, and just place each caramel apple in a muffin liner - messier but still delicious.
When giving away homemade snacks, it helps to have a list of the ingredients displayed, in case of food allergies. Also keep in mind that not all parents are open to accepting homemade treats on Halloween, so don't be offended if someone politely declines.
Lastly, you can keep the packaging, but avoid plastic by giving away treats that come in cardboard like Smarties, Dots, raisins, Nerds, Junior mints, or even Glee Gum. You could also be unique and hand out sachets of tea or hot chocolate mix that come in paper. So, even if you’re choosing to Boycott Nestle this Halloween, there are a number of plastic-free options for you.
AND why not pizza? I kid you not, my boyfriend's mom orders a party-size pizza every Halloween, and the kids come flocking. Timbits are another option, eh.
So there you have it! Trick-Or-Treating does not have to become Trick-Or-Trashing (see what we did there?). With a little thinking outside-the-box, you can enjoy Halloween even more knowing that you are not contributing to the crazy number of plastic candy wrappers Canadians send to landfill every Nov 1st.
Speaking of landfill, stay tuned for the final segment of our Halloween series about properly disposing of your Halloween waste. Coming at you, next week.
About the Author: Lindura is a model with a passion for nature, travel, and healthy living. She loves discovering new ways to live waste-free, and was thrilled when her sister introduced her to the Bare Market. She is excited to share her package free journey, and connect with the community as Bare Market blogger. You can follow her and her sister on Instagram @plasticfreeto.