Here's why you should seriously consider changing how you do your Halloween decorations.
Sure, It's fun and easy to buy cheap trinkets and swap decor items out year after year, but that gets wasteful fast. Plus, some common Halloween decorations can even be hazardous to wildlife. The fake spiderwebs frequently used on shrubs or trees causes birds, squirrels, baby foxes, and other animals to get stuck and injured. Other hazards like bright flood light displays can also be distracting for birds and contribute to entrapment and injuries. Nobody wants to contribute to wildlife getting hurt, or buy things they won't get much use out of.
Compostable, Recycled, and Reusable Halloween Decorations
So whether you're creating a spooky atmosphere or a festive one, we have seven simple ideas for Halloween decor that are eco-friendly. This means that they are upcycled, made from materials you can compost, or that they can be recycled once you are done with them. Now you can decorate for the holiday with minimal environmental impact.
1. Corn Husk Garlands
Use strands of raffia to braid ears of decorative corn together as a garland. It gives your doorway rustic appeal, and the corn is compostable once the season is over.
2. Wheat Centerpiece or Wreath
A grapevine style wreath form, or a wire wreath form looks beautiful with bunches of wheat stalks (or corn husks, if you have any left over). Use floral wire to attach the wheat into the wreath form. The wheat wreath can be reused for about 8-12 years as long as it's stored in a cool, dry place.
3. Paper Bag Jack O Lanterns
This easy craft (great for kids) requires some small white paper bags, battery powered flame-free candles, and non-toxic markers that won't bleed. Draw Jack o Lantern faces on the bags and place the candles inside them. When darkness falls, your illuminated Jack o Lanterns will make a pretty display. Beautiful from a window or on the porch, the paper bags can be recycled, and battery operated candles reused.
4. Heirloom Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of the best eco-friendly decorations for Halloween. But you can opt for heirloom pumpkins to add visual interest, instead of carving into them. This helps them last longer on your porch.
- Galeux d'Eysines/Warty Goblin: these pumpkin varieties have warty overgrowths that make them perfect for Halloween.
- Jarrahdale: these baby blue heirlooms are elegant and striking.
- Baby Boo: Creamy white Baby Boos are cute and charming.
- Jack-be-Little: These teeny edible pumpkins contrast with their much larger pumpkin peers.
5. Pumpkin Bouquets
Here's another use for pumpkins that works well inside for centerpieces, or on your porch, depending on the weather. Carve out the center of your pumpkin and place vases of flowers inside. Purple, orange, and deep red flowers make for a slightly spooky color palette that still feels elegant.
6. Pomander Mantel Decorations
A pomander is a traditional decoration made from oranges studded with whole cloves that also makes your home smell amazing. You can make yours spell out a message on your mantel piece. Trace out a letter on each orange with a marker before pressing whole cloves into the lines. Keep it minimal with the word "BOO", spell out "Hocus Pocus," or keep it simple with "Hello." These oranges keep well for a couple weeks and can be composted afterwards. Alternatively, hang your pomanders from the ceiling with re-usable string or ribbons and make it an annual tradition.
7. Leafy Ghost Faces
Fall is the season of colorful leaves, and there's no better way to make use of them than by incorporating them into your Halloween decor. Gather a variety of leaves from your backyard or nearby park. Flatten them between the pages of a heavy book for a day or two. Once flattened, use non-toxic markers or paints to draw ghostly faces on them. You can then hang them using reusable string in your windows or on your porch. The best part is, these leaf ghosts can be composted once you're done with them.
8. Biodegradable Seed Paper Decorations
Seed paper is made from recycled paper pulp mixed with wildflower seeds. During Halloween, you can cut seed paper into festive shapes, such as bats, ghosts, or pumpkins. These can be strung together to create a garland or hung individually around your home. Once Halloween is over, you can plant the seed paper in your garden or pot, water it, and watch wildflowers grow. It's a gift that keeps on giving!
9. Driftwood Witch Brooms
If you're near a beach or river, collecting driftwood can be a fun activity. These naturally weathered pieces of wood have a rustic charm perfect for Halloween. For this decoration, you'll use the driftwood to create witch brooms. Take a longer piece as the broom handle, and then gather several shorter pieces for the broom bristles. Tie them together using biodegradable twine or raffia. If you want, you can add a few dried leaves or wheat stalks to give it a fuller look. Hang them by your front door or lean them against your porch. Post-Halloween, the driftwood can be repurposed for other craft projects or returned to nature.
10. Reusable Fabric Ghosts
Instead of buying synthetic, non-biodegradable ghost decorations, why not make your own from scrap fabric? Find some white or light-colored fabric scraps (like old t-shirts or sheets) and cut them into squares of different sizes. For each ghost, bundle a small amount of stuffing (you can use crumpled newspaper, more fabric scraps, or organic cotton) in the center of a fabric square. Tie below the bundle with a string or twine to form the ghost's head. You can draw the ghost's face with non-toxic markers or sew on buttons for eyes. Hang these ghosts around your home or garden. They can be stored and reused annually, and if they ever wear out, the fabric can be composted or recycled if made of natural fibers.
11. Beeswax Candle Clusters
Swap out traditional paraffin candles for more sustainable beeswax candles. Arrange a cluster of these candles of varying heights on a tray or plate, and add natural elements like pinecones, acorns, and small rocks. The warm glow from the beeswax candles creates a cozy and slightly eerie ambiance. They're biodegradable and cleaner burning than traditional candles.
12. Mason Jar Mummies
Most of us have mason jars in the cupboard, waiting to be repurposed. To transform them into Halloween decor, wrap them with strips of old white cloth or fabric (you can use an old bedsheet or shirt). Ensure the fabric is wrapped in a way that it looks like mummy bandages. Glue on two large googly eyes (or make eyes from black and white paper), and place a battery-powered candle inside. These mason jar mummies can be placed on window sills, porches, or tables. After Halloween, you can easily remove the fabric and continue using the mason jar for its original purpose.
13. Gourd and Pumpkin Candle Holders
While pumpkins often steal the spotlight during Halloween, other gourds can serve as unique candle holders, too. Hollow out small gourds or squash and place battery-powered candles inside. They will last like this for a few days, and can be composted afterward.
14. Lace Spider Webs
Instead of using synthetic spider webs, repurpose old lace fabric or lace curtains from a thrift store. Drape or stretch them in corners, over furniture, or on walls. The intricate patterns resemble spider webs and can add a touch of vintage spookiness to your decor.