It’s mid-October and fall is in full bloom! The change of the season ignites the desire to decorate for the upcoming holidays. Although holiday decorations contribute to plastic pollution and waste, there are many ways to stay sustainable while getting festive! Here are a few ideas to creating eco-friendly holiday decor:
When I think of Halloween, I think of pumpkins. With so many varieties, pumpkins are the easiest way to decorate a space. Carving pumpkins are also a great activity to do with friends and family. But what about all of the food waste produced by pumpkins? Here’s some easy ways to turn pumpkins into purpose before composting:
- Roast those seeds! Save, bake and season the seeds to create a healthy, crunchy snack. These recipes take less than 30 minutes to make and can be personalized with your favorite flavor spices.
- Puree all day. Using the stringy “guts” and “meat” inside of the pumpkin, you can cook it down to create a tasty puree that is incredibly versatile. Use the puree for pies, baked goods, beverages or soups. Even the small pumpkins purchased for decorative purposes can be turned into puree!
- Make stock. Add the unwanted scraps of pumpkin and other vegetables to a pot and reduce to create a stock. Pumpkin will add a little sweetness to the stock, making it fantastic for any fall soup or cooking recipe.
My favorite way to decorate is to use natural materials because they can add so many rich colors and textures to a space. The best part is that natural materials are easy to find locally and can be composted- which creates zero waste!
In addition to pumpkins, gourds, squashes and corn are icons of the fall season. Grab these while visiting the local pumpkin patch or farmers market. Gather grasses from the garden or local public trails to create beautiful arrangements and wreaths. Collect nuts like acorns, seeds and pine cones and place in glass jars to create a simple statement or use to create artwork that can be used for years to come. All of these items can be found locally, are affordable, and are plastic free!
Shop at garage sales or second hand stores to find seasonal decor that you can integrate into your decor style or use as a base for a DIY project. The shelves are always stocked with hidden gems that can be repurposed!
Extend the life of no longer desired decorative items by donating them to a second hand store. Don’t throw it away- it could be treasure for someone else!
Upcycle & DIY
I love taking everyday items and turning them into some fun holiday decor. There are endless opportunities for DIY projects, but here are a few simple ideas:
- Flower Pots. Paint aluminum cans with fall designs or characters. Then, add some flowers or use for a grass arrangement to complete the look!
- Ghosts Galore. Find some leaves, paint them white, and add eyes and a mouth to create some ghosts! Add holes and string together to make some easy garland or tape individually to a wall to add a cool effect.
- Painted Pumpkins. Pick up some faux pumpkins at a second hand store and paint fun designs! You can then use them for years and years to come, or repaint to fit your style every year.
- Fabric Pumpkins. Take any colored fabric and turn it into pumpkins with this DIY idea. Instead of stuffing them with poly filler, use old t-shirts!
Making fall decor sustainable requires creativity, time and patience. Taking natural, secondhand or every day materials and turning them into something new takes a vision, but produces a lot of reward. Being able to say that you made something and that it is zero waste is a huge accomplishment! With that said, have fun and happy fall decorating!