Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to find new ways of doing many things like working and celebrating birthdays – and the same goes for this year’s Halloween celebrations. But that doesn’t mean we have to ditch this spooky day all together. If you think about what makes Halloween fun, it’s dressing up in our costumes, carving pumpkins and of course, eating candy. With some creativity, we can do all of these things safely while also avoiding plastic waste and toxic chemicals.


1. Make your own costumes and decorations. And avoid PVC if you’re buying

Whether you have a child that’s celebrating Halloween at school, celebrating at home with your family (or the people in your bubble), or having a virtual costume contest with friends, costumes make Halloween what it is! We suggest ditching single-use plastics (or costumes that you’ll only wear once) by making your own costume and decorations with stuff you have laying around the house, swapping costumes with a friend or buying second-hand from a thrift store.

When buying costumes or decorations, avoid ones made from PVC plastics. This type of plastic is non-recyclable and often contains toxic chemicals. A few years ago, a report found PVC—and toxic chemicals such as phthalates, flame retardants, and lead—in popular Halloween products.

2. Use toxic-free makeup to create your spooky Halloween look – and avoid glitter!

Whether you’re painting your reusable mask as a skeleton or vampire or putting face paint around your eyes, makeup can help you polish off your scary look. However, parabens and phthalates are just a few of the many toxic chemicals that can be found in Halloween cosmetics such as fake blood and face paint. 

When you’re out shopping for makeup or face paint, take our 
Toxic Ten Pocket Guide with you to make sure you’re avoiding harmful chemicals. Or you can try to make your own makeup at home.

Sometimes glitter is found in makeup and sometimes it comes in a tube – but all glitter is a nanoplastic meaning that it’s made out of tiny particles of plastic. Glitter is so tiny that it can’t be filtered out when it gets washed down the drain, and therefore it ends up in our oceans and lakes, and has detrimental effects on plankton, fish, birds, and the whole food chain. Skip all types of glitter this Halloween and opt for fun coloured paints and textures instead! 

covid halloween toxic free plastic free safe

3. Reduce plastic waste when purchasing treats

Some people may say that the best part of Halloween is candy. And just because we can’t go trick-or-treating this year, doesn’t mean we can’t eat candy! When buying treats for your children (or yourself!), look for candy that is packaged in non-plastic wrappers. For example, Smarties or Nerds are usually packaged in paper boxes. (Here are a few more good ideas.) This can help you reduce plastic waste and also avoid toxic chemicals that are sometimes in plastic packaging. 

The most important tip to staying safe this Halloween is to pay attention to the guidelines in your community that limit the number of people, even at events held outside. If you do go to a socially distanced event, make sure you are wearing a mask –– you could even make it part of your costume. Just remember that costume masks do not take the place of multilayer fabric masks that cover your mouth and nose. Check out these other tips to staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic!

With these tips, we hope your Halloween is scary fun, and not scary because of toxic chemicals and plastic waste. If you want to stay up-to-date with all the latest plastics and toxics news, be sure to sign-up for our e-newsletter using the sign-up form below.