Eco-friendly Halloween craft guide

As we become more aware of our buying habits and what we throw away, it’s easy to become overwhelmed about celebrations, especially if you are a teacher or have children in your house. 

So how do you celebrate Halloween while reducing waste?

Fear not! We’ve compiled the following list of easy-to-execute Halloween crafts that are low on waste and high on fun. They are either all or partially recyclable/compostable, and, most of all, don’t include plastic.

We’ve consulted with composting and recycling experts in Chicago to refine our list. If you live outside Chicago, please check with your local services and municipalities.

Keeping crafts eco-friendly

  • Mixed media crafts can’t be composted or recycled (think yarn, paper, fabric, staples), but parts can be if they’re taken apart. Natural fibers can be commercially composted. Check your local composting and recycling services for specific requirements.
  • Thick globs of glue pose a problem for recycling. Some glues, like Elmer’s, may be composted with commercial services. Consider stapling, using light amounts or trying a home-made glue concoction.
  • It’s not just paper: Paper that has crayon, paint or glitter on it cannot be recycled or composted, and colored paper cannot be composted due to the saturation levels of non-organic ink. If shredded paper isn’t allowed in your recycling bins (it’s not in Chicago), then avoid recycling paper scraps. A 2-inch-by-2-inch square is a good rule of thumb.
  • Sad, but true: Googly eyes are not eco-friendly. Neither is glitter. If you use googly eyes because you already have them on hand, remove them before recycling. Don’t buy new ones. And don’t buy glitter. It’s an environmental nightmare.

Now, onto the fun stuff!

Origami ghost

  • White paper
  • Black marker

Monster corner bookmarks 

  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors

More corner bookmarks: cats and bats 

Easy origami cat

  • Black paper
  • White crayon/marker
  • Googly eyes/glue (optional)

Spinning ghost

  • Template provided (Click “Download printable PDF file”)
  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • String
  • Scissors

Paper pumpkins 

  • Stiff paper (construction or card stock)
  • Wire, string or brads
  • Scissors (or paper cutter)
  • Ruler

Toilet paper roll mummies

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Black tempera paint (or black paper to staple onto tp rolls)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Gauze/strips of white t-shirt
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • School glue

Alternative: Cut out a mummy shape from cardboard and color with black crayon/marker

More toilet paper roll crafts: Bats, cats and monsters 

Send us your ideas!

Help us make this list better. Share your low-to-no waste Halloween craft ideas by emailing

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