Whether you are an adult or a child, Halloween can be loads of fun. Of course, the costumes and candy go a long way to making it so, but there are other contributors, too. It brings about a great sense of community, a reason for neighbors to get together and a call for mutual silliness. It’s always been one of my favorites, in no small way due to my mother’s willingness to dress to the nines as a witch, stand on our driveway stirring a cauldron of non-alcoholic witch’s brew, and go all out with the decorations.

Of course, these days — some twenty-odd years later — things are a bit different. A needed rise in environmental awareness has come to pass, and buying loads of disposable decorations seems not only impractical, but also irresponsible. Luckily, in an effort to carry on my mom’s tradition, a deep love for doing it right and funky on Halloween, I’ve found a few great spooky decorations that can be made from recycled garbage.

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  • A slight aside before we begin: I noticed in my research that garbage bag decorations are all the rage for cheap DIY Halloween decors, but I would propose this misses the point. Buying a bunch of plastic bags may save you a few cents, but it still means more plastic and more waste. That’s not today’s goal.

Toilet Paper Roll Monsters

My wife has been a kindergarten teacher, so I know the importance of saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls. When it comes to crafts, no piece of trash seems so versatile. These little monsters are funky and fun. Paint the rolls, attach some found garbage antennae, arms and so on. Hide them around the house or stack them all on a windowsill. Boo!

Halloween Luminaire

If there is one thing besides candy that there can’t be enough of on Halloween, it’s lanterns. Something about those iconic spooky images glowing everywhere just sets them right wholesomely eerie mood. And who needs CD cases anymore? These are great. Take two CD cases, paint a scary image on the clear parts, stand them in a square then stick a candle in the middle.

Shadows on the Wall

Of all people, leave it to Martha Stewart to steal the show. These Halloween shadow silhouettes are a spooky and just wicked idea. Trace out (you can print them off the hyper-linked site) the haunting images on a piece of cardboard or old poster board and attached them to a candle holder so that a shadow is cast on the wall for an awesome decoration.

Potion Bottles

If your kitchen is like mine, you’ve got a surplus of bottles sitting around, saved for containing something at some point. Well, while this changes up that idea, potion bottles are a great evil accent to the Halloween décor. Personally, I’d just paper mache the thing with newspaper and paint it white with eco-friendly paints (rather than Rust-oleum, as the above link suggests). Then, glue on some cool Halloween printables.

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The Controversial Egg Carton Spiders

Admittedly, if you eat a plant-based diet, as many of us here on OGP so, you won’t necessarily have a lot of egg cartons around the house, but maybe your neighbors will because egg carton spiders are great. It’s as easy as cutting them up, attaching some old magazine/newspaper/cardboard legs, and dangling the arachnids from some string (or used dental floss if you really want to get into the eco thing.)  If you are anti-egg carton, try these arachno-danglers, from plastic bottles.

The Equally Distasteful “Milk” Jug Ghost

Staying on the controversial trend, “milk” jug ghosts could really be made from any kind of gallon or half-gallon plastic bottles, or it’s off to the neighbor’s again. Whatever the case, they are awesome. Simply use a black marker to draw faces on the jugs, then cut a spot out of the back and insert a light (or a risky tea candle). Perfect pals for the Jack O’Latern.

Mandarin Orange Jack O’Lanterns

Speaking of old Jack, mandarin orange jack o’lanterns are more cutesy than scary, but they give off the right aura. Even better, they provide a healthy snack amongst the refined sugar bonanza going on. Usually, mandarin oranges or tangerines are coming into season right about this time, and all this requires is drawing a little face onto them. Boom! Edible decorations.

Of course, as with all things awesome and inspiring, there isn’t room to delve into all the great ideas out there, but this is a fine start to a happy holiday. And it’s always so much more enjoyable when you, and maybe even a few resident children, have made the most of the season and whipped up some hip stuff DIY-style. We hope these ideas help out, and by all means, if you’ve got some other tips up your ghostly sheet, then share the links in the comment section below.

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Image source: Anthony22/Wikimedia

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