How to reduce waste this Halloween

How to have a Green Halloween!

Did you know that an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic was generated by Halloween costumes in 2020?  That’s the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles, just from fancy dress costumes alone. There’s a lot of plastic and waste involved – not only in costumes but also in decorations, wigs, treats, and masks. Not to mention waste from carving your pumpkin, plastic from trick or treat goodies; food packaging and food waste from party food….

With the popularity of Halloween and dressing up on the increase, the Halloween period is becoming a significant source of waste, particularly plastic waste. 

Here at Flame UK, we’re looking for ways to make our Halloween season greener and to reduce waste. In our office, we’re planning a competition for fancy dress that can only be made from recycled materials or items you already own – watch our socials for some of our creations!

Here are some of our top tips for a green Halloween!


A whopping 83% of shop-bought Halloween costumes and clothing are made of plastic. Only 40% of them are worn more than once, and it’s estimated that 7 million costumes are thrown away each year. It’s time to rethink and get creative. Do you have a few costumes or old clothes lurking in the loft? Is it time to resurrect the fancy-dress box?   

Instead of buying new, try using what you already have or swapping last year’s costume with a friend. Or a visit to the charity shop could be in order – you never know what second hand gems you could find for your costume. If you don’t have time to get out and rummage through your local charity shop before the big day, online selling sites, such as OLIO, Facebook Marketplace and Vinted, are great places to find some hidden Halloween treasures from the comfort of your own home.

There are loads of ideas you can do for costumes if you fancy getting crafty. Think cardboard, old sheets and milk cartons. A black dress could make a great witch costume or turn old shirts and waistcoats into a terrifying vampire get up. For minimal effort, just zombie yourself up with a bit of face paint!

We love these ideas for recyclable Halloween costumes.

Once you’re done with your spooky costumes, you could always donate it to your local charity shop so that someone else can have as much spooky fun with it as you had. Donating your costumes is a great way to prevent landfills from being overrun with pumpkin or mummy costumes.


We all love to go a bit overboard with decorations. But could you reuse what you already have from last year rather than buying new? To avoid buying decorations made of single-use plastics, you could try upcycling things you already have or get crafty and make your own.  How about some spooky paper bunting, or tombstones made of cardboard? If you need to buy new, try to buy items in minimal packaging and something durable that you can save for years to come!

Get the kids involved for an afternoon of crafting and raid the recycling for cardboard to make these bats out of cereal boxes or toilet rolls! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDcdibBRw0g

Have a look at this website for more inspiration!


Is it even Halloween without a pumpkin? The good thing is, you can use it as a decoration and as your Halloween dinner! Don’t throw the flesh from inside your pumpkin away.  Instead, use them for a delicious pumpkin pie, soup or in a curry. You can roast the seeds for a snack or to sprinkle on your salad, and even make a cake!

Check out this great resource of pumpkin recipes: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/pumpkin-recipes

If a pumpkin pie isn’t for you, don’t forget to compost anything that you don’t use. If you don’t have a compost bin, slice your pumpkin just as any scary movie villain would and cover it with leaves in a sunny spot in your garden. You can also add any leftover pumpkin to your food waste if your local council has a collection.


If you’re having a party, try not to buy disposable plastic cups and plates but aim for sustainable or recyclable tableware, or look for something you can save for future years or reuse for a summer barbecue. Get creative with the food so you don’t waste anything – try making your own themed food rather than buying pre-packaged party food.

Try this link for some fun and easy recipe suggestions:


Trick or treat

If you’re trick or treating with the kids this year, rather than buying a special treat bucket, why not reuse something you already have – a paper bag, bucket or even a pillowcase that the kids can decorate with permanent marker or paint. For treats, you could try making your own if you have the time! Instead of individually wrapped sweets, you could create your own homemade spooky treats. You could even have a competition to see who can create the scariest design!

If you don’t have time to bake, try to pick treats that come in recyclable packaging. KitKat have swapped their wrappers to ones made from 80% recycled plastic and can now be recycled in over 5,000 different supermarkets. Quality Street chocolates are also transitioning to paper-based packaging to make recycling them easier.

Have a happy and green Halloween!

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