4 Tricks For an Enviro-Friendly Halloween

Like it or loathe it, the Halloween trend in Australia has taken hold and has grown to become a booming industry with one in four Australians planning to celebrate Halloween on Monday.wholesale fast printed white paper bags
According to joint research by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan* those five million people will spend $430 million in our economy.

“Businesses are coming to the party with themed windows and store displays as part of big promotional push in the lead up to October 31,” says ARA’s CEO Paul Zahra. “The event will help build sales momentum for retailers in the run up to Christmas,” he added.

Paper packaging companies like Smartbag have seen an increase in demand during the lead up to the spooky season with a spike in paper bag sales and orders for packaging supplies like cardboard mailing boxes and stickers, stamps and gift bags.

So, we can all agree Halloween is good for the economy and retailers, but is it good for the planet?
What’s the scariest thing about Halloween?
The waste generated from the Halloween season can be more terrifying than any ghost, goblin, or ghoul.

Lolly wrappers abound especially given our pandemic past as we encourage handouts to be individually wrapped. Plastic decorations adorning shopfronts and front gardens across every suburb, along with disposable dress up costumes, will all end up in the bin on the first of November.
But there’s no need to be alarmed.

Smartbag has come up with 4 tips how to save money, reuse your paper packaging and recycle those cardboard boxes to do your bit for the environment this Halloween.
1. Mask Up with a Brown Paper Bag
Save money and reduce Halloween waste by resisting the fast fashion trend. Make your own costumes at home from things your already have lying around the house.

Long before the mass-produced superhero costumes were available in every dollar store, seasoned Halloween-ers made outfits from paper bags and cardboard boxes.

The easiest Halloween costume to make is a paper bag mask. Grab a grocery bag or takeaway food delivery bag, cut holes for eyes and a mouth then decorate with crayons and paints.

You can also make a creepy costume from cardboard boxes. There are some great ideas on Etsy and Pinterest with links to templates for easy-to-make Frankenstein, alien, and skeleton heads

But if you must buy your Halloween costumes, search your local op shops and charity outlets for inspiration. And then, when you’re done, donate it back so someone can use it again next year.
2. Recyclable Treat Bags
Say no to plastic this Halloween and make your own treat bags from brown paper bags.

With a little imagination, a brown paper carry bag, and a few Sharpies you can create a scary sack for that mountain of chocolates and lollipops.

Flatten out your paper bag and draw a spider web with a black marker. Take four black pipe cleaners and twist them in the middle and stick them to the bag, making eight furry legs. Glue a black pompom in the middle and stick on a few googly eyes. Quicker than you can say ‘trick or treat’ you’ve made a creepy spider bag.
3. Reusable Spooky Decor
Making decorations for the house and front yard can be lots of fun for the whole family, with the added bonus of reusing your collection of brown paper bags and cardboard mailing boxes.

A couple of upturned cardboard boxes half buried in the garden can make an eerie cemetery.

Create a giant spiders’ web to greet your guests. Take a small giftbox and cover in black crepe paper. Add some pipe cleaners for legs and cover in googly eyes. Dangle your spiders with string or wool from the eaves to scare trick or treaters as they approach your house.

How about a bat? Take a small paper bag and paint it black, then follow the instructions here . Get the kids to draw orange pumpkins, cut them out and stick them on the windows facing the street. So much better than a plastic pumpkin, a child’s handmade masterpiece is guaranteed to make your neighbours smile.

There are loads of ideas online – just do a quick web search for simple ways to reuse your paper bags to make fun Halloween decorations for your house and garden.
4. Say No to Single-Use Plastics
If you’re throwing a Halloween party, use actual glasses, ceramic plates and silverware rather than disposable plastic options. Or if you can’t face all that washing up paper plates, cups and straws are the way to go. For kids’ parties, write their name on their cup to save them using a new one each time.

And before you fill your helium balloons, think of the sea turtles. Wayward balloons with strings attached can finish up in the ocean and choke our valuable sea life. Helium filled balloons are being gradually banned across Australia and there are many other decorations you can substitute –garlands, paper chains and bunting can be easily made from paper bags.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Way Through This Halloween
A sustainable Halloween is not a trick, it can be a reality with a little thought and planning.

Making simple changes, encouraging the kids to get creative, and using stuff that you already own will help reduce waste and make this Halloween less scary for the planet.

*The ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey was conducted with an Australian-wide cross-section of 2,853 Australians aged 18+ on Monday September 19 – Wednesday September 21, 2022**
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