Decorating your home sustainably for Halloween

Use nature's treasure trove instead



October heralds the arrival of the glitz, shine and slime of Halloween. The garish colours catching the keen eyes of small, ‘wannabe’ witches and skeletons – desperate to try on the ghosty, ghoulish costumes and to decorate their homes with webs, spiders and glittery bats. But is this the excitement we should be encouraging our kids to experience… or are there more planet-friendly things we can inspire them with?

Because with the arrival of Halloween, comes a whole host of plastic problems. Protective, durable, waterproof, flexible, adaptable…but once it is manufactured…it’s here to stay. On our planet. For a very, very long time.

But at the same time as the shelves get filled with plastic goodies, nature is producing its own treasure trove. A vibrant array of unique delights; colours brighter and more beautiful than any shop window display could hope to achieve. And the best thing about it? It’s free AND truly sustainable (if foraged responsibly).

We’ve looked at some of the things you can find this Autumn that you can use as sustainable alternatives to Halloween decorations. And with early October still bringing warm, sunny days…there’s no excuse for not getting up and out for a walk in the beautiful British countryside.

What to forage for / look out for this autumn

Pumpkins are actually very easy (and a lot of fun) to grow at home – the Royal Horticultural Society explain how to do it here

But if it’s a bit late now to grow your own, it’s still a far more sustainable choice to buy a real pumpkin than any plastic or synthetic alternative.

They come in a beautiful array of colours, shapes and sizes… in fact we think the wonkier and more bizarrely shaped the better when it comes to choosing decorations for Halloween. Of course, you can do the traditional carving. But why not do something a little more sophisticated and turn your pumpkins into a beautiful display worthy of any lifestyle magazine? Simply with a little paint.

Pinecones, acorns and berries
Grab a bag (or if you’re feeling a little romantic, a basket) and take a walk through your local woods. At this time of year squirrels and other critters are busy foraging and hoarding for the winter months – and as long as you are selective and sensible with what you pick up, you too can find a vast array of seasonal delights to take home and enjoy (not to eat…!)

We love this simple idea of creating mini monsters out of pinecones. You just need a colourful collection of leaves and even berries (but don’t eat them) and you can make your own Halloween critters to enjoy during the season.

Using Autumn leaves to make a vibrant display is one way of putting those cheap, manufactured Halloween decorations to shame. This stunning example is made by choosing a few supple branches and hanging the leaves at different lengths using thread. So simple yet sustainable and utterly beautiful.

Of course, anything you collect from nature is designed to rot back into the ground (that’s what makes it sustainable after all). So, any display for Halloween / Autumn you make will have a shelf life unless you take steps to preserve it.

But how many cheap, Halloween decorations last longer than one season before they get chucked in the bin and then buried under ground for a very, very long time?

The key to making a difference isn’t to stop celebrating the festive seasons and boycotting them altogether. We simply need to find inspiration and enjoyment from more sustainable sources. And more importantly we need to inspire our children to do the same.

We hope these simple ideas demonstrate that you can still have fun preparing for Halloween without cost to you, or our planet.