Reduce Your Waste This Halloween: DIY Tips and Tricks

Reduce Your Waste This Halloween: DIY Tips and Tricks

For both young and old, Halloween means dressing up as a cute critter, vicious vampire, or wicked witch. It’s a time to host parties, carve pumpkins, decorate haunted houses, and escape into a supernatural world for one night. Halloween is a fun tradition, but it is also one of the least environmentally friendly holidays. Considering the candy wrappers, decorations, and costumes made out of non-biodegradable materials, there are plenty of ways to reduce your impact this Halloween. Here are some eco-friendly tips to make your Halloween and earth-friendly.


There are a few ways you can reduce the environmental impact of Halloween costumes: Bring out your inner creativity by designing your own costume using unwanted items or old clothing. Click here for ideas. Replace face masks with these natural face paints with reusable containers, and create fake blood using corn syrup and food coloring. You can also make a trip to your local thrift store to find materials that you might need and maybe even find the costume that you’ve been looking for!



Instead of buying another plastic pumpkin to hold all the tasty treats, try replacing it with a reusable shopping bag, pillow case, or basket this year!


Halloween decorations are arguably the most wasteful part of Halloween, as they tend to contain excessive amounts of plastic. Try making your own! You’ll not only save money but the environment as well! Pinterest always has a wealth of great DIY ideas to get you started. 

Examples of DIY decorations include making bats out of egg cartons or floating ghosts using unwanted white linen sheets. You can also create light-up tin cans/lanterns by poking holes in a soup can to create an image, then placing tea lights inside to make it glow.


To Give or Not to Give (Candy)

If your house gets a lot of trick-or-treaters every year, consider buying organic and non-GMO candy such as YumEarth. This is healthier than the conventional store-bought candy and better for the environment because it doesn’t contain pesticides or chemicals.

Alternatively, you can also try giving out other types of treats, such as bracelets made out of recycled flip-flops or compostable pencils, which will grow into herbs or flowers when you plant them. These treats are more eco-friendly and might even help children learn a thing or two about sustainability!

Pumpkin Disposal

If you are an EDCO customer, you can also put your pumpkins in the green bin if they are clean and unpainted. For the City of San Diego residents, they can be placed inside the organic waste recycling green bins. For additional information, please visit the search tool and use the keyword “pumpkins” to find a disposal location in your area.

Trash-or-Treat Community Cleanup with Think Blue San Diego

Join I Love A Clean San Diego and Think Blue San Diego for a VIRTUAL litter cleanup across the City of San Diego!

To stay safe and promote social-distancing, we are focusing this community cleanup inward towards our own neighborhoods! Have you noticed any areas near your home that need a pick-me-up? Please join us to protect the environment as well as ourselves, and “walk-your-block” Saturday morning.

Invite your neighbors and practice social distancing. Bring a bucket or bag from home, grab some kitchen or gardening gloves, and don’t forget your face-covering. You can make this cleanup truly zero-waste by using your own reusable supplies!

Join us for a virtual kick-off intro video, then spend a few hours beautifying your neighborhood! We’ll make it a breeze to sort and dispose litter in your residential bins. After your cleanup you can log your totals in our Volunteer Impact Map and request a Letter of Appreciation for your service.

To celebrate Halloween, join us in a zero-waste costume contest on our social media! Post a photo of your cleanup in your repurposed, recycled, or rescued Halloween costume and tag us on social media to win a spooky prize!

Register now to get resources and event details right to your inbox!

DISCLAIMER: By participating in a cleanup, you agree I Love A Clean San Diego is NOT responsible for any injury suffered and you waive any claim arising from participation in the event. I agree to read and follow all of the safety protocols for this event.

Eco-friendly Halloween Costumes & Crafts

Today’s blog comes our Hotline Assistant, Ani and it’s just in time for this weekend’s festivities! If you’re in need of some DIY inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about our favorite Halloween costume and decoration ideas that keep the earth in mind! 

“What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?” …that is the big question this month. The one time in the year when you can be Superman and no one would question it! Instead of purchasing a costume (that you might see someone else wearing at a party), tap into your creative side and make your own costume! Here are a few of our favorite DIY costumes that our staff have done over the years!

Our staff members take Halloween seriously. Best part? We use what we already have in our closets to help reduce waste!

Speaking of parties…thinking of throwing a spooky bash? Here are some  eco-friendly Halloween decoration ideas to get you started:

These simple DIY decorations are made out of cardboard tubes (yes from the toilet paper rolls) and construction paper. For a full tutorial click HERE

Cardboard Tube Creatures are fun, festive, and best of all? Reusable & recyclable!

Check out these decorative pieces made out of wine bottles! All you need is some spray paint and glitter (optional). Click HERE for the full tutorial.

DIY Halloween wine bottles are easy to put together with a little creativity and paint!

Spook some people with your creativity! Before you toss your aluminum cans into the recycling bin, give them a second life as Frankenstein tin cans! Add a couple wine corks to the sides for bolts, googly eyes, and you’re set! Check out the steps for this DIY project click HERE.

Frankenstein tin cans are easy to store with your other holiday decor or toss them in the recycling bin (after removing the corks & googly eyes).

When November 1st comes around, remember to store your creations for next year or recycle them in your curbside blue bin. For more DIY Halloween decoration ideas follow us on Pinterest, you will also find some scary-good costume ideas. Don’t forget that the best thing about Halloween is making your costume! Check out our Affordable and Eco-Friendly Halloween Costume blog for inspiration. Also, be sure to share your creations with us on Facebook and Instagram, we’d love to see them! Happy Halloween gals and ghouls!

Affordable & Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes

Looking for a last minute Halloween costume? Look no further! Today’s blog comes from our Hotline Manager, Amanda, and she is here to help. Read more below about some of our favorite eco-friendly costumes from over the years! Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired!

ILACSD staff love Halloween and the chance to get imaginative! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite staff costumes for you to enjoy, highlighting how easy it can be to avoid those big box stores to make your own costume. Here are my top five costume creations from years past, in no particular order of course. Watch out for this year’s staff picture on our Facebook on Friday the 31st!

Environmental Educator, Monica, as an elephant.
Environmental Educator, Monica, as an elephant.

Environmental Educator, Monica, was an adorable elephant last year. She already had the pants and sweater, and made the trunk from an empty paper towel roll. The only item she had to buy was a set of elephant ears that can be used again in the future.

  •  Reusable elephant ears
  • Recyclable paper towel roll trunk
  • Preexisting sweater & leggings!
  • Approximate cost – less than $5




Director of Community Events, Natalie, as Marge Simpson.
Director of Community Events, Natalie, as Marge Simpson.

Director of Community Events, Natalie, as Marge Simpson back in 2007 was pretty awesome don’t you think? All you need to do is find a green dress at a thrift store (or use one you already have) and craft some blue hair out of paper, using an empty 2-liter soda bottle in the middle for structure. And don’t forget to recycle your hair at the end of the day!

  •  Recyclable hair made of construction paper and 2 liter bottle
  • Preexisting dress
  • Approximate cost – less than $2



Hotline Program Assistant, Barbara, as a French painter.
Hotline Program Assistant, Barbara, as a French painter.

Hotline Program Assistant, Barbara, put together a marvelous costume from items that were around her home. She already owned her beret, and she borrowed a t-shirt and paint brush from family members. A splash of paint and voila! A French painter.

  •  Preexisting beret
  • Borrowed shirt & paint brush
  • Approximate cost – $0!




Community Events Coordinator, Lexi, as a runny egg!
Community Events Coordinator, Lexi, as a runny egg!

Community Events Coordinator, Lexi , loves a good pun. Here she is as a runny egg – get it?! She wore running clothes she already owned, and cut out runny yolk pieces from yellow construction paper that she recycled at the end of the day.

  •  Preexisting running gear
  • Recyclable construction paper
  • Approximate cost – $0 – $1




Executive Director, Pauline, borrowed her Grecian goddess costume.
Executive Director, Pauline, borrowed her Grecian goddess costume.

Executive Director, Pauline, borrowed her Grecian goddess costume, reminding us that just because you wore a costume one year and are tired of it, doesn’t mean you should trash it! Save it and swap costumes with your friends the next year.

  • Borrowed costume & accessories
  • Approximate cost – $0!




Hopefully you got some good ideas for Halloween, and don’t forget to post your DIY and re-use costumes to our Facebook page!

ILACSD’s Top 5 Scarily Awesome Halloween Crafts (made from items around the house)!

 Halloween is right around the corner, and we have some great crafts that reuse everyday items!  “Witch” will you choose?

1. Many of us have empty plastic milk jugs and an old strand of Christmas lights lying around somewhere.  Clean out the milk containers and draw a spooky ghost face on the plastic.  Poke a hole in the back of the jugs and thread the Christmas lights through them. Plug in and… BOO! You’ve got yourself some glowing luminaries that look great lining your path or on your porch Halloween night.


2. Planning a Halloween party or just want a fun treat for your kids to bring to school? Reuse a six-pack of soda bottles to make colorful candy jars.  Wash the bottles and fill with (small) candies of your choice. Decorate the soda box, and then craft some ghouly witchy paper tags to tie around each bottle.  You could also fill these with healthy snacks, like nuts or trail mix, or, for a really terrifying Halloween for the kids, peas or edamame!


3. Costume shopping for kids can be a real nightmare.  By the time you find the cat ears (fake only, please) at one store, the right shoes at another, and the makeup at a third, you’ve run around down for the past three weeks and are out $100.  Making your own costume with items around the house is a great solution, and it keeps outgrown costumes from ending up in the trash. So grab the nearest kid and a glue stick and get to work transforming that child into a cardboard crocodile or e-friendly Wall-E.


4. Frankenstein made a monster, and you can too (less liability with this version). Create your own Frankenstein’s monster out of an empty tin can.  Paint your can green, draw on some stiches and a mouth, pop on some googly eyes and hair made from cloth or paper.  Screw two bolts in to the monster’s neck, sing “Monster Mash”, and voila!  You’ve become a mad scientist.


5. Still have some plastic milk jugs left over?  This craft is a bit more elaborate, but look how great it turns out!  It will last year to year, and your neighbors will be impressed by your resourcefulness and then you’ll spend the next decade one-upping each other with recycled decorations.


Happy Halloween! (And don’t forget to use a reusable trick-or-treat bag!)