Your Guide to a GREEN Halloween!


Oct 3, 2022

Written by Briar Bones

The spookiest holiday of the year is fast approaching – with the scent of pumpkin-pie in the air and hayrides just around the corner, you can’t help but be excited! But this year, as the seasons change, why not also change up your own habits to help out Mother Nature?

An estimated 1 billion pounds of pumpkin alone ends up in landfills at the end of the Halloween season. Additionally, a study done in 2019 by UK Environmentalist group Hubbub found that “some 83% of halloween materials were oil-based plastics likely to end up in landfills”. With the average American expected to spend more than $65 on decorations and costumes this year, that makes for quite a substantial volume of single-use themed items that are being repurchased and thrown away instead of reused. 

So how can we shoot to make this Halloween a little more GREEN instead of orange and black? Read on to find out!

Sustainable Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costume Ideas

Picking out a costume is one of the most exciting parts of the Halloween season! However, since we only use costumes once a year, often not even reusing them from one October to the next, it is also one of the more wasteful ways of celebrating. Luckily there are many ways to cut down on the waste and use what you have to put together a spooky or fun costume!

What is the most sustainable costume? The costume you already have! A really effective costume can come together with just a few key pieces. Have a striped shirt and black pants? You’ve got yourself a mime or Beetlejuice costume! Dress in all black, draw on some whiskers and now you just need to DIY some ears to be a cat!

Consider using pieces from old Halloween costumes to create new ones or ask friends & families if they have items you can borrow to complete your look!

If you find yourself still missing some accessories that would take your costume to the next level, thrifting is your next best option! Thrift stores, consignment stores and yard sales are a great alternative to buying brand new. Find some more costume ideas below!

  • Got some leftover cardboard boxes, acrylic paint and elastic? Check out this DIY Butterfly Costume!
  • If you have an orange shirt or dress and some black felt, make a Jack-O-Lantern Costume!
  • If you have a white button up blouse and a black skirt, you are just a few steps away from a Mary Poppins Costume!

Get Creative with Eco-Friendly Decorations


Alongside costumes, decorations are right up there as the most wasteful part of Halloween festivities. Most of the decor is plastic and is not built to last more than one season, so we have provided some alternatives for you to consider.

  • Use natural decor like gourds, pumpkins, corn stalks and mums to decorate your home. They liven up the space, can usually be found at the grocery store and when disposed of properly, don’t create the waste that commercially produced decorations do! (At the end of the season, take your pumpkins and gourds to local farms for the animals to munch on!)
  • Get creative and use recycled items like soups cans (as seen in the photo above) to create luminaries for your outdoor steps.
  • DIY garlands from paper and string you have lying about your house to say “Happy Halloween” or “Trick or Treat!”
  • If you have an old, white bed sheet that isn’t getting much use anymore, repurpose it to create a flying ghost! Stuff the top portion with newspaper to create the head of the ghost and tie it off. Finish it off by making the face with black marker or non-toxic paint and hang it up on a tree branch or your porch!

None of these getting you in the spooky spirit? We recommend checking out Pinterest – there are endless DIY ideas for Halloween Decor that are also Eco-friendly!

Pumpkin Carving

Basically Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin carving is a staple activity for the month of October but it can be wasteful if not done properly. The first step is to use every part of the pumpkin that you can. When carving your pumpkins, make sure to save all of those pumpkin seeds and roast them up for a nutritious snack – find a recipe we like here!

Once October has come to an end, you have a few options for disposing of your pumpkin. Either put your pumpkin in the compost bin if you have that available to you, or take your beautifully carved pumpkin to a local farm – animals love to eat pumpkin and it’s good for them too! This is a great step to take to avoid the pumpkins ending up in our landfills where they will rot and put methane into the atmosphere.

Recycling Candy Wrappers

IMG 9917 ZWB Thumbnails Candywrappers v2

While it is difficult to take a more sustainable route to safely give out candy for Halloween, TerraCycle offers an amazing service that handles the recycling of all different kinds of candy wrappers that would normally be rejected by traditional recycling services.

All you have to do is a pick a small, medium or large box, fill it with your candy wrappers, and ship it off to TerraCycle for them to sort and recycle. Find out more information here!

To all those celebrating, stay safe and keep the environment in mind this year – Happy Halloween!

For ideas or collaboration, please reach out to our team at [email protected].

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content