Host your own Green Halloween Party or Neighborhood Bash
(If you live in or near Seattle, don’t forget to add yourself or your neighborhood to our Green Halloween map.)
Green Halloween shopping tips
Whether buying food, treats, treasures or prizes for your Green Halloween party, thinking green is just as much about what you don’t buy as what you do buy. Reducing the amount of waste we generate by cutting down on excessive shopping is not only better for our planet (and easier on our wallets) but reducing the number of products we purchase also teaches our children the art of simplicity as well the value of moderation.
When purchasing items for your Green Halloween, it may help to consider whether the items you’re buying are of quality and can therefore be enjoyed past November 1st. If not, can the items be reused or recycled? In addition, look for products that meet one or more of the following green criteria:
- Organic or pesticide-free
- Food items are made from
healthy and whole ingredients and do not include hydrogenated oils, trans-fats,
artificial colors or flavors. The items have limited or no salt, sugar or
caffeine (including chocolate)
- Non-food items are made from
safe materials and do not pose any suspected immediate or long-term health risks
- Made with Earth-friendly
practices, such as by organic farming
- Preference given to locally
grown or made goods (which alleviates environmental impact from shipping.) Get
to know your local farmers and shop with them as often as possible.
- Non-food items are made from
Earth friendly materials such as sustainably harvested wood or recycled plastic
- The item contains as little
packaging as possible
- The people making the items
earn fair wages and work in safe conditions (ideally, imported goods are
certified Fair Trade)
Green shopping tips: Every little thing counts when it comes to making green choices.
- Always bring your own cloth or
recycled plastic bags with you when shopping for food, gifts, treats or
- If you generally drive to do
errands, try to get your shopping done all at once, rather than taking many
short outings. You’ll save on gas and money while reducing your contribution to
pollution and global warming.
- Of course, if you can walk,
ride your bike, carpool, or take public transportation, you’ll leave an even
smaller eco-footprint behind.
- Most importantly, if you can go without – do! Nothing could be greener than focusing on people rather than things.
Bring a little green to your Halloween party right from the start by avoiding paper invitations as well as the cost of postage by using free online sources such as www.evite.com or www.regards.com. You can also make your own digital invitation. If you would like to send an invitation through the mail, make your own from recycled cards and magazines or use tree-free paper products such as hemp or even paper made from elephant dung.
Green Halloween food can be fun to prepare as well as to eat. When purchasing
food for your Halloween party, look for foods that are organic, whole and, if
possible, local. Going meatless also reduces environmental impact on the planet.
Be sure to compost or recycle your food scraps, including your leftover pumpkins (which can be cooked and eaten if they
are not left out on your porch for too long). When deciding on your menu, think
seasonal and color! Finding foods that are in season and that naturally come in
shades of black, orange and green is a fun activity that kids will enjoy.
Black: olives, black beans, poppy seeds, raisins/currants
Orange: bell peppers, oranges, carrots, squash, sweet potato/yams, tomato
Green: green apples, herbs, bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, kiwi, celery, avocado, peas/beans
Seasonal: pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, cabbage, apples, pears
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Hot dog octopi (organic chicken or turkey)
- Shredded carrot salad (shaped like a pumpkin with raisin eyes)
- Baked apples with dates/ raisins, walnuts and cranberries
- Stuffed orange bell peppers
- Orange bell pepper and black olive pizza
- Air popped pop corn
- Pumpkin Apple Macadamia Soup
- Stuffed Dates
- Carrot Coconut Cake
- Wasabi Eyeballs
- Pumpkin Cornbread
- Spicy Bruised Bugs
- Simple Spooky Slaw
- Pretzels shaped into pumpkins or cats
- Cider made with 100% organic apple juice, simmered with cinnamon sticks
- Seltzer water with 100% organic fruit juice (sparkling drink)
Please note that some children are very allergic to ingredients such as nuts and coconut. Whenever you’re hosting a party it’s always wise to ask your guests if their children have any allergies. If so, it’s a good idea to put a clearly written sign next to the food that contains the allergens or, even safer, avoid the ingredients altogether. Parents of children with allergies will be grateful for your thoughtfulness and their kids will feel safer and happier as well. For more about food allergies, visit Food Allergy Initiative’s website.
Green Halloween Food Tip: In some areas, food scraps and food-soiled paper can be recycled! Just toss them in your yard-waste bin with your lawn clippings and dead leaves and voila! Your scraps become compost, which later becomes food for plants, trees and shrubs. If you’re throwing candy away, be sure to remove the wrappers first.
Do you have a delicious and kid-approved Green Halloween recipe, or do you have a wise tip or trick to share? We’d love to hear about it.
Activities, games and crafts
If you’re hosting a Halloween party, focusing on fun, rather than stuff is a
great way to keep things green. Laughter and good memories are gifts from the
heart that don’t cost a dime or carbon footprints.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Halloween game ideas online. Below are a few ideas for Green Halloween activities a small number of kids or the whole neighborhood will enjoy. Of course, depending on the ages of the children involved, take care to make the games safe.
Of course if you come up with Halloween activities that are especially fun, let us know and we can add them to this list.
- Dunk for apples or try to
bite apples hanging from strings.
- Make recycled paper hats. Go online for
patterns, add decorations as wanted.
- Put on a Halloween themed puppet show
The kids can do the entire thing themselves including making the puppets and creating the story or you can read a book as they act out the story.
- Make a mural.
Use a long sheet of tree-free or recycled paper and tape it to the floor or wall. Give kids some crayons and ask them all to draw some Halloween scenes. Then ask them about what they’ve drawn. Older kids enjoy this too. They can vote on the scene they like best and the winner can be given a prize. Check here for healthy art supplies.
- Build A Scarecrow
Form groups and have a variety of old clothes, pillowcases for heads, markers and recycled newspaper. Groups have 20 minutes to create. Give prizes to the scariest or funniest, then place outside.
- Guess The Ghost - Great for Young Children
Have one child leave the room. Then take a large sheet and have a different (child) stand and hide under the sheet. Mix up the remaining children in the room and then allow the child who left the room to come back inside. That child has to guess who's the ghost, by process of elimination they need to figure out which child is hiding under the sheet. Then that "Ghost" goes out of the room and a different child becomes the new ghost, mix up the remaining children and repeat until all of the children have had a turn being the ghost.
Our favorite: Conjure community fun. Instead of trick-or-treating, how about organizing a progressive party with 3 or more of your neighbors? With the kids already in costume, start at one house, where the kids will do one activity and eat one course of food and then walk with the whole gang to the next house, where everyone will enjoy the next activity. (For younger kids, limit the number homes to no more than three.) Be sure to let your kids ring the door-bell at each house and shout “Trick-or-Treat!”, “Trick-or-treasure!” or “Happy Halloween/Hallogreen!” If you’d like, give each child a Green Halloween treat or treasure and then invite them in for the next activity and course of food. Here is a sample of what you can do:
- House #1
- Activity: Decorate trick-or-treat/ trick-or-treasure bags.
- Food: Ants on a Log (celery sticks filled with nut butter and topped with
raisins. use pumpkin butter for a Halloween twist!)
- Activity: Decorate trick-or-treat/ trick-or-treasure bags.
- House #2
- Activity: Witch’s Limbo (put on some fun music and let the kids play limbo with
- Food: Spooky Spaghetti (look for 100% organic whole wheat or rice noodles with
- Activity: Witch’s Limbo (put on some fun music and let the kids play limbo with a broom).
- House #3
- Activity: Make masks out of recycled paper bags. Have lots of glitter, feathers and other objects to
add. After everyone is done, stage a Halloween parade.
- Food: Date Fingers (chopped organic dates rolled in coconut)
- Activity: Make masks out of recycled paper bags. Have lots of glitter, feathers and other objects to add. After everyone is done, stage a Halloween parade.
- House #4
- Activity: Play “Pass The Pumpkin”. Have kids sit in a circle and pass small
pumpkins or gourds when upbeat music is playing from live instruments or a CD.
When the music stops the child without a pumpkin is out. Continue until there's
one child left. That child may take that pumpkin home. You may want to later
give every child a small pumpkin to take home too.
- Food: Warm apple cider (simmered with cinnamon sticks. At this time of year you
may be able to find fresh-pressed cider from your local farmer.)
- Activity: Play “Pass The Pumpkin”. Have kids sit in a circle and pass small pumpkins or gourds when upbeat music is playing from live instruments or a CD. When the music stops the child without a pumpkin is out. Continue until there's one child left. That child may take that pumpkin home. You may want to later give every child a small pumpkin to take home too.
Another great idea. Give a party for those in need. Helping our children understand how fortunate they are and how others may not have quite so much can be a feature of every celebration. Halloween is the perfect opportunity for you, your neighbors and the children, to host a Halloween party for those who are less fortunate. A senior center or retirement community might welcome a bunch of little goblins dressed up and celebrating with them.
Children can lead games and crafts, modified to work for the elderly. Sometimes, just a visit from a little ghost or goblin can make a homebound person’s day.
And there are other groups that might enjoy having someone else plan for them. If there is a homeless shelter for families or moms and kids, see if you can plan a party for them. Children with disabilities and kids in foster care are two other groups that might welcome any Halloween magic you can cook up.
Party favors and prizes
These items are likely too pricey to give out to every little goblin who comes
to your door. But if you’ll be giving away prizes or gifts and want to
keep the green in your Halloween party, these items will do the trick.
They’ll also make great “replacements” if the Halloween Fairy or Great Pumpkin visit your home (to swap out conventional candy and leave better treats, treasures and/or gifts behind.). Don’t forget to compost uneaten treats.
Note: FEATURED VENDOR items are from companies that are supporting Green Halloween by displaying our logo on their products and/or by donating a portion of the sales of these products to Green Halloween, Treeswing, or another worthy cause.
- Art and craft items
- Books This one is by a local teacher, but there are many that would be
- Candy corn juice bug FEATURED VENDOR
- Child-friendly music CDs
- ChicoBag’s limited edition Green Halloween trick-or-treat bag (designed by kids!) FEATURED VENDOR
- Cooperative games
- Coupons for skating, swimming, kids yoga classes or decorate your own pottery
- Diaries or books kids can draw or write in
- Dinner game cards
- Draw-your-own biodegradable mats and soy crayon set
- Egg shakers and other “instruments”
- Elephant Poo Pins (fun pins made from elephant dung paper!)
- Face painting pencils
- Face painting pencils
- Fairy items and troll treasures
- Fall colored playsilks, great for all ages
- Fall themed finger puppets (made of wool from a women’s cooperative)
- Fair trade yo-yo
- Halloween bat pouch necklace FEATURED VENDOR
- Halloween nesting cats
- Halloween Soap
- Hemp frisbee
- Jump ropes
- Mary’s soft dough
- Organic seeds (such as pumpkin or squash)
- Organic, fair trade Green Halloween® shirt (in baby – adult sizes)
- Organic tea for kids
- Puzzled Postage Puzzles
- Rainbow felt gnomes
- Recycled crayons
- Rubberwood puzzles
- Seedlings (10 free)
- St. Claire's Organic candy tins
- Sun catchers
- Tiny bat toy
- Twig pencils
- Window crayons
- Wool bat finger puppet
- For parents: Fair Trade Trick-or-Treat action kit
Green Halloween prizes and gifts need not be purchased. Handmade treats and treasures, especially those made out of recycled and natural materials can be easy, fun and inexpensive – not to mention, thoughtful. Books such as The Children’s Year and Earthways have tons of great ideas for unique, easy-to-make, seasonal gifts.
ATTENTION PARENTS: Just like traditional holiday treats, many items may be unsafe for children under the age of three. We strongly suggest that parents inspect all treats and treasures before allowing children to play with any items.
Treats and treasures for LOTS of kids
If you are expecting to hand out treats and treasures to several hundred or more
kids and are looking for affordable items that are also healthy and green,
you’ve come to the right place.
Weisenbach Specialty Printing, a Green Halloween FEATURED VENDOR, has tons of Earth-friendly items that are perfect Green Halloween treats and treasures and most can be custom printed with your logo or a Halloween message of your choice. They also sell many items that are pre-printed, usually in soy ink, and ready to be handed out.
Here are our favorites:
- Pencils: from recycled
plastic, recycled denim or recycled money
- Tattoos: custom or
- Coloring books: Earth-friendly
- Guide wheels: fun, educational
- Shoe laces: custom printed and
- Soy crayons in 3 or 4 pack:
- Stickers: recycling theme
- Whistles: recycled plastic,
- Spinning tops: recycled
plastic, custom printed
- Buttons: recycled material
with soy ink, custom
- Magnets: recycled, custom
- Seed paper/bookmarks for
planting or reading
- Bookmarks with recycling
- Door hangers: recycled, custom
- Hand fans (save our pad)
- Organic cotton tote bags:
printable (for treat/treasure bags)
- Soy candles: custom
- Organic cotton t-shirts: custom
Your Halloween message
Need ideas for what message to print on your treats and treasures? Here are a few suggestions:
- Happy Hallogreen!®
- Think outside the candy box®
- Go Green on Halloween
- Putting the GREEN in Halloween
- Turning Halloween Green
- Healthy + Fun = Happy Everyone
- It’s Halloween, just greener
- Trick-or-treating green style
- Treating kids to healthy fun
- I ♥ Earth
For healthy, affordable and green suggestions for what to hand out to your neighborhood trick-or-treaters, click here.
Having a Green Halloween does not mean your party has be decoration-free. Gourds, pumpkins, apples and other items from nature look great as accents on front porches and table tops while also reducing the use of paper and plastics. Decorations such as fair trade skeleton streamers and colorful recycled and recyclable dinnerware may add a touch of festivity. If you’d like to use candles for a little ambiance, be sure to keep them out of the reach of kids and only use those made of soy or beeswax instead of petroleum.
Regardless of how you decorate for Halloween, being green also means eliminating as much waste as you can, so if you are going to purchase items that will end up in the trash, try to find items that can later be reused or recycled, or composted.
And don’t forget to let your neighbors know you’re a proud Green Halloween® home. Make or purchase a door, window or lawn sign. Use or buy only recycled and remember to reuse year after year!
For more great green decorating ideas, click here or check out our new book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family.