Ah. Halloween. Samhain. All Hallows' Eve. Whatever you like to call it, I love it.
Why? It's fall. You go about at night and get CANDY. Seriously. It doesn't get any better, oh wait... yes it does. You get to play dress up, and lemme tell ya, I do. Something about the air on Halloween night is so exhilarating! We say we will only trick or treat a few hours... next thing we know, we are a few of the last stragglers looking for a porch light. So sad to take off that costume!
To us, it's not all about the candy. We just get caught up in the excitement in the air!
Zero waste and consumer holidays aren't really a hand-in-hand friendship. Nah, more like evil-eye frienemies, talking smack on the other and sabotaging all the other aims to accomplish.
This Halloween and less waste Blog won't be about ruining all our fun OR crafts that take HOURS to do. Nah nah. Here, it's not about this idea of perfection. Rather, how to make zero waste literally part of your life, celebrations and all.
Repurpose, reuse, borrow and buy second hand.
Everything you possibly can. I'm in charge of SEVERAL Halloween parties this year, so not only does this help stretch my dollar but it also helps cut down on the waste.
Check eBay! These are people reselling items they no longer want or need. Garage sale all year long. Be careful on pricing though! Some are sold as collectors items and not in collector shape. Some are targeted to people shopping out of season, which online does not equal cheap.
I got all my decorations second hand and can use them over and over. Cool glasses for drinks, fabric table cloths, lights, I can keep going.
Borrowing black or orange cloth from a friend, dishes, all that. Caters can bring things as well! That's just reusing someone else's saved things and 100% allowed. Just be sure to tell caters you appreciate NO ONE TIME USE items and NO PLASTIC.
Use what is around you! We have acorns like mad. Gords we grow on accident ever since the first round got out of it's area. Pumpkins. Growing your own can be SO AMAZING. It's a bit late in the season for that, but farmers markets are just gearing up for it!
Jack o' lanterns are a staple! Plus, you can scoop the actual pumpkin to make pumpkin butter (like I have here http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/alkaline-pumpkin-butter-crock-pot-recipe ) and pumpkin pie! I even save a jar of homemade, from scratch pumpkin purée for my coffee and tea in the morning, not to mention pumpkin smoothies! So so so good.
This also applies to costumes! We bought the most ADORABLE Pokémon themed sleepers from a lady who's child grew out. Yes, I had to replace snaps and sew a bit. But reusing is winning! We STILL use those to this day as the most comfortable pajamas and costume play time!
My suggestion when buying used costumes is to make sure it is quality work and fabrics. The really cheap fabrics most costumes are made of will not last long. Not at all. It rips, it gets thin quickly and it is just bleh.
When buying new costumes, feel inspired to make your own! I am making one this year from seperate clothing items that can be worn all year. A skirt shirt combo, leggings, gloves. All bought second hand and can be used as daily clothes! Not only did I create a costume of Pantaloons imagination (there was literally no costume of this ANYWHERE TO BE FOUND) but I saved some SERIOUS dough! Putting that in our overseas trip fund, yesiam.
Make your own, from decor to favors. What you can't make, buy from good companies!
I know, I Know. I said no projects that take forever and I meant it. As much as I love the look of those leaf roses, those take FOREVER and quite a bit of hot glue as well. Nah thanks.
The Mirgaine spray pictured above is NOT MADE BY ME. It is, however, my favorite product. It works so well! Check my blog for my story: http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/migraine-magick-review-does-it-work-and-how-well
but really, I love it. There are PLENTY of sellers all over with zero Waste options that are more than willing to work with customers. I would LOVE to give away Migraine Magick as a parting gift!
For my adult gifts at the party, I made a bulk batch of hand sanitizers, body lotions and room sprays. All deliciously fall scented. Those were a HUGE hit the last few years! I made them in stainless steel and glass containers and many of the recipients say they still used those containers!
The only thing I have to stress about DIY projects, especially for the skin, are labels. Don't skimp on the labels. Write what's in them, when it will expire and allergy warnings. Idc how natural it is, poison ivy is natural and I'm hella allergic. This protects you and the recipient. It also shows that you really care! It takes a few minutes. I like recycled paper labels myself. I get it, we all want to create no waste but we have to think about the people around us as well. Their wellbeing is utmost important. Unlabeled products drive me bonkers.
Here's some more ideas:
-Diy fall scented cleaning wipes in glass jars! Simple cotton squares soaked in a diluted version of my cleaning product (link http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/one-product-all-the-clean6825959)
- DIY hand sanitizer (link for recipehttp://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/easy-affordable-and-zero-waste-hand-sanitizer-recipe ) perfect for in the car or at home quick wipes. Print your recipe on a card and attach to keep the Zero Waste going!
-Reuable Car air fresheners with scent recharger included (tutorial )
-Zero Waste Cider mix (recipe here )
-Cookies and cake mix (recipes here )
- Crochet socks, leg warmers or hand warmers (GREATLY appreciated in the months to come!)
-Nuts to crack! Great in a glass jar with a cracker!
-Fancy boxed candy/caramel apples, my personal favorite. (link to recipes )
-wooden or biodegradable tooth brush with toothpaste recipe (for all the candy!)
-facial kits with crochet wash cloth or reusable sheet masks http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/less-waste-sheet-mask-recipes
-home brewed Kombucha in fall flavors! (http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/jun-green-tea-kombucha-without-honey7473748)
-jars of homemade pumpkin butter, above, or this recipe for Apple Butter! http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/alkaline-apple-butter-recipe
For the kiddos, I bought in bulk (down below) and made some really great sentimental items. I don't want to spill the tea about their surprises right now but I'll be sure to post pictures on my Instagram if you request it.
As special as fun is, it's always good to remember plastic will far outlive the party fun. It will far outlive us! Just keep in mind when buying trinkets.
Some ideas on bag stuffers:
-Pencils and notebooks
-Trick or treat safety items, reusable (metal flash lights, reflective items, etc.)
-Bulk candy (more below)
-craft supplies or craft kits with instructions
-goodies-to-go, parchment wrapped snacks and foods from the party
-boxed items, affordable cardboard boxes are widely available online.
-Wooden building kits (cars, bird houses, etc.)
-ecofriendly school items (here's my blog for links http://www.thesmartgirlinpants.com/blog-spot/less-waste-back-to-school )
-Coupons or gift certificates
-Jewelry making kits (beads, friendship bracelets, etc.)
-good ole wooden yo-yo
-wooden or biodegradable tooth brushes
-funky shoe laces
-bath bombs, I kid you not mini bath bombs were a HUGE HIT with trick or treaters. We gave them a choice of a bath bomb or candy, a lot of people appreciated the option and the kids 70% of the time picked the bath bomb!
-Bath dough, easy and fun! I wrapped mine in parchment and added some extra jojoba oil to keep it moist.
-Bath jellies! Again, easy and feel free to check my link below on Vegan, zero Waste bath recipes!
Oh I know. Bulk= expensive. But hear me out on this one.
I was EXCITED to gather all of the bag stuffers for all my parties and determined to do it with as little waste as possible. I could have gone to the party store but all of it was individually wrapped in trash, cost a fortune and in the end, was JUNK. Things people toss immediately or it becomes clutter.
I didn't want that for my party people. I wanted somethings that sparked joy, was useful and/or were a great memory!
Buying bulk was really my only option, as I needed a lot. I asked each seller to avoid extra packaging and they were more than happy to go with the flow. They didn't want to package anything they didn't have to! Yes, I had it shipped to me but everything at the store is shipped as well. I can buy store bought shipped, wrapped in trash and over priced or find a seller as local as I can with bulk times. I chose the lesser of the two evils.
If candy is a must for you, BUY BULK. Do it. Just do it. Buying in bulk saves money, saves shipping and saves trash. I won't sit here and lecture you about candy. While it is important to think in the terms of every thing we do impacting the earth, it's also important to accept that some people need baby steps. Choose candy in paper wrappers instead of plastic. Choose candy that's vegan instead of promoting an animal dependent society.
Plain and simple, We speak best with our money, how we spend it and what we buy. If our money goes to companies that reflect a more positive stand VS a negative one, that can make a bigger difference than avoiding it! The more people who do that, the bigger the impact! It's a small choice with HUGE results.
Buying bulk candy also means, less packaging. Buying bulk of anything basically means less packaging!
Party food is AWESOME. I am hooked on parties and party food. It's got to be exciting and new. It's got to be eye catching and fun! My easy vegan recipe for mirror glaze cake is one of my options for desserts almost every single party and people LOVE THEM.
If you aren't a baker, even in my area, which lacks so many options sadly, there are bakeries that cater to my needs. Parchment wrapped caramels, free form chocolates in the cardboard box (small enough to give away in goodie bags), cake pops on cardboard sticks, vegan options! Look around you for options. There are so many bakers at home that will happily cater to new customers with new needs! Make sure to spread the word on how amazing these people are! That will mean THEY get more business based on the positive route they took! Again, speaking with our business is the best way to show the world we mean what we say.
Of course, fruits and veggies are a great idea. Buying fruit and veggie trays however, not so good. Just get some fruit, cut it and serve it on a fancy, reusable plate. Save some dough and it's way more stunning than plastic seperated tray. People will know you made the effort!
If you can't go vegan with your party, at least go meatless. Vast amounts of resources are saved just by not buying meat or meat products. The people at your party won't even care! It's a PARTY! You will have so much better stuff going on!
This is Recipe of mine is black using activated charcoal!
Recipes with charcoal awesome looking but do remember that charcoal recipes are not toys. They are supplements and should be only used on the advice of a doctor.
That is that!
It's not a torture to go less waste for a big holiday! It's actually more fun, saves money AND THE PLANET!
You can do this!
Love ans spooky pants,
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants