handmade Halloween decorations on a white background

How to Craft Eco-Friendly Halloween Decorations at Home

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Crafting eco-friendly Halloween decorations is a great way to teach your kids how sustainability is important year-round. Plus, it can be a fun seasonal bonding experience. Here are some family-friendly Halloween crafts you can make in no time.

1. Jack-o-Lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns are a timeless classic when it comes to eco-friendly Halloween decorations. Growing your own pumpkins makes this craft much more sustainable. However, you need to plant them in June if you want them ready by October. Don’t worry — you can always head to your local farmer’s market if you need some. 

The carving process is pretty simple. You can use knives and wooden spoons to cut off the top and scoop out the pumpkin’s insides. Parents should consider handling this part themselves if they don’t want their children covered in pumpkin guts.

After that, your family can design whatever spooky faces they like. Keep an eye on your children since there are sharp objects around. If you don’t feel comfortable handing them butter knives, give them a thumbtack instead. They can poke outlines of shapes and pop them out once they’re done.

2. Toilet Roll Bats

Everyone has toilet paper rolls — at least, we hope they do. You might not have some lying around, but they’re easy to get. You need toilet paper rolls, non-toxic markers, and black construction paper for this project. 

Cut a large circle in the construction paper and fold it in half. Then, cut two round bumps — like a wide “m” shape — on the fold. You should get two “bat wings” as a result. You can make two “legs” out of the leftover strips of paper.

Color the outside of the toilet paper roll black. Now, connect the wings to either side of the tube and attach both legs to the bottom. If you want a sustainable alternative to regular glue, you can use melted wax, safety pins, or beeswax. Draw two eyes and a smiling, fanged face with a white marker as the finishing touch. You can hang it with the twine.

3. Soy Candles

Did you know you can make candles? Flickering lights create the best atmosphere during the spooky season, but breathing in the fumes from most regular candles is not healthy. As an alternative, you can make your own to have eco-friendly Halloween decorations.

You’ll need a few cups of soy wax flakes, a thermometer, a microwave-safe bowl, a wick, and a container for the finished product. Melt the wax in the microwave for up to one minute at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon in between. Keep going until it turns to liquid. Remind any little ones to keep from touching the wax directly since it will be hot.

You can add eco-friendly dye, essential oils, or scents once it cools to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to make it smell and look like a Halloween candle. After that, place a small amount of wax in the middle of the container you want to use. Stick the wick in it and hold it in place until it dries. Once it’s firmly in place, you pour the rest in and wait overnight for it to harden.

Your kids may get antsy while waiting, so it’s an excellent opportunity to tell them the reasons behind the project. Regular candles use paraffin wax, which comes from fossil fuels. They also release benzene and toluene, the same chemical compounds found in cigarettes and paint thinners. Have you ever had a stuffy nose or a scratchy throat after having a candle lit for too long? It’s probably because of them.

4. Biodegradable Confetti

Don’t you just love stepping on a crisp Autumn leaf? It’s a subtle reminder of the beauty of the changing seasons — that is until you realize you’ll need to rake your lawn soon. If you want to skip that chore this year, consider crafting biodegradable confetti.

Be mindful that this family-friendly Halloween craft is for outdoor use only. You only need a hole puncher and whatever leaves you have lying around in your yard. Hole-punching them will give you small, round pieces — your biodegradable confetti. You can decorate your yard with them for a unique Halloween look.

5. Trash Bag Ghost

Even though most trash bags are plastic, getting eco-friendly ones is easy. Many companies make sustainable versions that are biodegradable, compostable, and don’t use plastics. Most even come in eerie pale green colors — perfect for the spooky season.

A trash bag ghost is a super simple Halloween craft — you only need an eco-friendly bag, a non-toxic black marker, twine, and a ball-shaped object. Draw a spooky face and find a place to hang it. Then, crumple newspaper, bundle plastic bags together, or wad sheets to be the ghost’s head.

You want to make it round so it looks good and the drawing stays visible. You can glue or tie it to make it stay. The last step is to simply hang it up somewhere in your yard. 

6. Cereal Box Tombstones

If you have kids, you probably go through a lot of cereal. Using the leftover boxes to make tombstones is easy and fun. Plus, the stickers with a shiny finish are the only non-compostable parts of the box, so this craft is entirely sustainable. 

You’ll need non-toxic markers or paint to color the box and scissors to cut it into the right shape. Simply cut off the top, then cut a half-circle shape into the top of the front and back sides to make it look like a tombstone. Then, you can write whatever funny or spooky phrase you want.

The shape of the box should help it stand up even when it’s windy, but you can tie a stick to it or weigh it down with rocks to keep it in place. Also, remember to keep your craft somewhere where it won’t get too wet — even though you want it to break down eventually, you probably don’t want it to happen the first time it rains.

7. Black Cat Banner

Banners add a lot to a room and are super simple to make. This black cat version has glowing eyes, which is perfect for a spooky living room. It’s also one of the easiest eco-friendly Halloween decorations to make.

For this project, you’ll need string lights, a hole puncher, black construction paper, and scissors. LED lights are 75% more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, so you should feel comfortable using them to decorate. Try getting different colors if you want the cat’s eyes to look a certain way.

Cut the paper into cat face shapes — a circle with two triangles on top will work. You can add whiskers if you want to use the leftover materials. Hold the finished product up to the string light and mark where the bulbs touch it. Use the hole punch to make two eyeholes, then slip the cat’s face onto the string lights. Repeat this process until the entire thing is covered in cats.

Have a Happy Halloween

Even though stores have amazing spooky decorations, most are plastic or styrofoam. Instead, you can try these eco-friendly Halloween decorations to help the planet and provide your family with a unique learning experience.

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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.