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Years ago, I graciously accepted Halloween candy wrapped in single-use plastics without a second thought. The copious amounts of sugar were welcomed－combine that with dressing up in a costume and Halloween was one of my absolute favourite holidays.
Fast forward fifteen years, I began to realize the impact that we have on the planet; learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Microplastics that have made their way into the Arctic. Now I have a different view of Halloween…which is much more depressing. But I do have a young daughter and I want her to have a good experience growing up, too. Where’s the middle ground? Is a low waste Halloween even achievable?
Low Waste Halloween Candy Ideas
We live in a rural area without many children, for the past couple years we haven’t bothered with Halloween. However, I’m still undecided on how to approach Halloween when there comes a time that my own daughter wants to go out trick-or-treating.
Over 20 Trick-or-Treaters
Foil Wrapped Candy
Chocolate wrapped in aluminum foil is recyclable and a great cost-effective option. You can’t control what happens to the candy wrapper after it is handed out, but at least you know it won’t end up as a Microplastics.
Examples: Hershey’s Kisses, Peanut Butter Cups, Caramel Chocolate, Chocolate Coins
Drinks in Aluminum Cans
Similar to foil wrapped candies these are endlessly recyclable. They are a relatively cost-effective option, the only downside is how heavy these can be to carry. After all, trick-or-treaters want to hit up as many places as they can! But hey, they still come with the sugar rush－so you’re not the Halloween Scrooge.
Example: Cans of Pop
Candy in Cardboard Packaging
It’s been a while since I’ve purchased candy, but if I remember correctly there are a few brands that package their products in cardboard boxes. If these come in a plastic bag, repurpose it for your garbage bin; it’s only single-use if you use it once!
Examples: Popeyes Candy Sticks, Smarties (The Canadian version), Nerds
You might enjoy: The Plight of Plastic: Zero Waste Journey
Less than 20 Trick-or-Treaters
You can definitely opt to use any of the options listed above, but if you’re feeling creative here’s a couple more choices:
Crayons or Pencil Crayons
The Green Mum on Instagram shared a very clever idea of using pencil crayons, some leftover elastics and a few pages of colouring books for their halloween gift. I think this is an amazing idea!
If you know your neighbours and live in a relatively tight-knit community you might have some success creating halloween gift baggies with candy from bulk stores. As a parent I am cautious about this idea if you’re not well-known to your neighbours. I wouldn’t want my child eating something that isn’t factory sealed.
Examples: Gummy Treats, Chocolate, Licorice－the bulk choices are endless!
Less than five trick-or-treaters
If you’re a fan of baking, take some time to make a batch of delicious shortbread cookies cut into halloween shapes. Or maybe opt for a traditional (and well-loved) batch of chocolate chip! Again, this applies to people who know their neighbours relatively well.
Fairtrade Chocolate Bars
If you live in a rural community and have only a few children coming to knock on your door, this might be the most sustainable option. The chocolate industry is incredibly wasteful and ethically problematic, too.
I hope that this list has inspired you to choose from more creative low-waste Halloween candy choices this year. Let me know if there’s anything you can think of that I may have missed!