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Save your cash and reduce the trash this Halloween

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

Halloween is a scary time for many of us and I’m not talking about the horrifying figures haunting my doorstep on Halloween night. No, it’s diarrhoea of the purse that’s the main torment, followed swiftly by sugar-induced diarrhoea of the kids. Sorry - can't have a Halloween post without a dollop of yuck!

Come November 1st, does your life feel like a scene from I Know What You Did Last Summer - Before You Burnt All That Cash on Crappy Treats, Tacky Costumes And Random Rubbish?

Fair enough, it’s not as catchy as the original movie title but it’s equally as stomach churning.

There must be something we can do to rein in our costs this Halloween and help our planet at the same time?

Here’s our 7 tops tips for having a smart Halloween rather than a smashed one!

1. Use what you have

When kids are small, they don’t particularly care what they wear once they get to dress up. So add a little spook factor to their regular dress up costumes, break out your makeup bag for those deathly complexions, backcomb hair and you’re good to go. Who doesn’t love a zombie princess, zombie cowboy, zombie postman, zombie librarian, zombie Ronaldo, zombie Donald Trump .. I could go on forever!

I’m a witch girl at heart so I’ve applied the same logic over the years - Dead Witch, Half Dead Witch, Not Long To Go Now Witch, Food Poisoned Witch, Ate Too Many Pies Witch, Yoga Witch and my current favourite Late For The School Run So Nobody Mess With Me Witch. That one might catch on!

Check out the link here for some creepy Halloween make up ideas for kids

When you have a cool make up look going on, you really don’t need a complicated costume too. Less is more.

2. Go Retro

Raise your hand if you’ve traipsed around the neighbourhood in an old bedsheet, hair back combed into a bouffant floury delight, with feet stuffed into old boots? Just me then.

Maybe my mother wasn’t too far off the mark though. It sure was economical and fun putting a costume together at home.

Try making some things yourself this year– bed sheets for ghosts and zombies, old black dress or leggings and top for witches costumes, witches hats from cereal boxes, masks from left over cardboard, zombie outfits with old shirts and clothes.

Encourage older kids and teens to let their imaginations soar in making their own costumes too. Find some great ideas here:

3 Use preloved costumes

You can find fab preloved costumes in charity shops and second-hand stores across Ireland.

Check out your local charity shops, or Thriftify - Online Charity Shop, for second hand costume options.

FREEcycle sites on Facebook are another great option too.

Or why not have a fun costume swap with friends & family.

In reality, many of us don't actually want more junk to clog up our homes. Getting the chance to swap out something old for something new to us is a relief and easy on the pocket!

4 Invest in better quality and reuse

If you are buying costumes or accessories like witches’ hats and trick or treat containers, invest in better quality products which can be reused year after year. As the old saying goes; buy cheap buy twice.

Then, when your kids are past their trick or treat days, move these items onto other families or pass on with FREEcycle pages, charity shops etc.

5 Rethink the plastic bag

We all know that plastic is a menace in our world’s oceans and any small action we can take to reduce our dependence on single-use plastic is welcome.

So, why not ditch throw away plastic bags for trick or treating in favour of using old school bags, old handbags, paper gift bags or small reusable shopping bags. If you find yourself questioning "how can I let my child out of the house without a spooky treat bag to match their costume?", take a step back and remind yourself our kids get lots and lots of stuff, they are in no way deprived, and a plain old bag for treats is no hardship whatsoever.

There’ll be a few less plastic bags thrown into landfill as a result.

6 Reduce sweet wrapper waste

A cost effective and waste reducing tip is to buy unwrapped sweets in bulk packets and make small Halloween parcels using paper materials.

You could use paper sandwich bags, unused wrapping paper, tissue paper or kitchen towel, or leftover cardboard to make small treat parcels. The kids can help decorate the parcels and make this part of your Halloween fun together.

Some other ideas to reduce plastic from sweets is to offer alternatives. This works best with family and close friends as often unwrapped, homemade treats end up straight in the bin when brought home by kids.

Some easy treat ideas are:

Home baking Halloween treats 71 Halloween recipes | BBC Good Food

7 Nature décor

Decorating for Halloween need not be a boot full of cheap, plastic, decorations. There are lots of ways to decorate for Halloween which are friendly to our pockets and the planet. has lots of fun nature craft ideas which will add to your Halloween atmosphere. Check them out here

And if you’re looking for some more Halloween inspo, check out our other Halloween blog post here

Remember, children mainly want our time and attention, so spend time together this Halloween rather than all your hard earned cash.



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