25 Eco-Friendly Halloween Tricks To Reduce Your Pawprint As A Pet Parent

With these 25 eco-friendly Halloween tricks, you can decrease your environmental impact while keeping your pup safe during spooky season.

tree with diy halloween decorations

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Tricks for a Pet-Friendly, Eco-Friendly Halloween

I absolutely love Halloween. It’s such a fun and mysterious time that collides with my favorite change of seasons.

And I dedicate a lot of time each October to make this holiday as magical as possible for my family and friends.

But I also think it is crucial to acknowledge how this tradition, with all its unique and wonderful celebrations, can have far-reaching consequences on our planet, as well as our pets.

So, after a bit of brainstorming, along with some validation tests carried out by both my human and fur children, I’m happy to share some ways you can decrease your pawprint this Halloween WITHOUT decreasing the fun.

No time to read all the details now? Here’s a quick reference to all my eco-friendly Halloween tricks that you can save for later!

Halloween Decorations

Impact on the Planet

Traditional Halloween decorations often involve disposable, non-biodegradable plastic items and decor designed for short-term use.

This means after these decorations haunt a party, many will then go on to haunt a landfill, contributing to plastic pollution and environmental degradation.

What’s more, many of these decorations are mass-produced by companies that don’t have comprehensive sustainability plans.

From the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing, shipping, and disposal, energy and resources are expended at an unnecessary level.

Impact on Your Pet

The sudden appearance of new items at home – in various colors, shapes, and textures – naturally triggers your pup’s curiosity.

And when your pup perceives these new things as potential sources of toys or food, their curiosity could lead to trouble.

It’s crucial to be aware that many Halloween decorations are made from plastics that are not food-safe, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polystyrene (PS), which contain toxic additives and chemicals. And some decorations are coated with artificial colorants and toxic glitters.

So, in addition to being a choking hazard, if these Halloween decorations are ingested, they can also lead to poisoning or severe digestive problems. You can learn even more about the dangers of plastics in this post I wrote here.

Finally, some decorations may just flat-out scare your dog. Flickering lights or life-like skeletons and ghosts can cause fear and anxiety, disrupting your pet’s sense of security during a time that should be enjoyable for all.

Tips to Reduce Your Pawprint

1. Choose reusable, sustainable, and second-hand decor

First, where possible, avoid the cheap, mass-produced plastic decorations that will break after one Halloween. Look for decorations that are durable and will last year after year.

Additionally, items made of fabric, wood, or natural elements like pumpkins, leaves, and pinecones offer a festive atmosphere without the environmental repercussions.

And shopping second-hand is always a great option. On platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, OfferUp, and Wallapop, you’ll find many sellers looking for someone who can give their Halloween decorations a second life.

2. Get crafty with some DIY decor

Get creative with DIY decorations using upcycled materials. A quick search on Pinterest will give you endless ideas.

I personally have made bats from egg cartons, door decorations from leftover craft supplies, ghosts from pieces of scrap fabric, monsters from rocks, and pumpkin lanterns from empty plastic and glass bottles.

What’s more, I have some great memories of making these decorations with my son. And these homemade decorations last! We’ve been using ours for multiple years now.

3. Opt for sustainable lighting

There is no denying that some creative lighting really adds to the Halloween mood. So go for energy-efficient LED lights that consume less power and last longer compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

4. Keep decorations out of paw’s reach

This simple tip goes a long way toward keeping your pet safe. Make sure to place all decorations out of your pup’s reach to prevent them from becoming chew toys and choking hazards.

5. Introduce some pup-friendly distractions

Keep your pup engaged by offering them their own Halloween-themed toys. And keep it eco-friendly by making your own!

At our house, we turn our old socks into pumpkin dog toys, and you can too with this simple, no-sew design I created. Your pup will gladly choose this over a plastic spider decoration!

Dog Halloween Costumes

Impact on the Planet

Similar to the story of Halloween decorations, dog costumes manufactured through resource-intensive processes contribute to environmental waste, from their production to eventual disposal.

Impact on Your Pet

Although many of us enjoy an Instagram video of a dog in a cute, creative costume, the reality is that many dogs enjoy the experience much less.

Ill-fitting or overly constrictive costumes can cause discomfort and stress, potentially leading to injury. And the truth is even minimal, well-fitting costumes can be a miserable experience for some dogs.

Tips to Reduce Your Pawprint

6. Use a harness or cone as the base

Create simple, homemade costumes using your dog’s harness as a base. For example, with craft supplies you have around the house, create spider legs or butterfly wings and attach them to the harness. Or go even simpler and use the harness as a saddle by attaching a silly or creepy stuffed animal.

For dogs that are already used to wearing harnesses, this is an easy and non-intrusive way to create an eco-friendly dog Halloween costume.

And if your dog happens to be rocking a “cone of shame” during the Halloween holiday, you can easily add some flower petals for a simple, DIY dog costume.

7. Upcyle old family costumes

Repurpose old clothing items or costumes to craft a unique, eco-friendly Halloween costume for your dog. For example, my son had a bunch of old capes from previous years’ costumes, so we turned each of our pups into a superhero, complete with their own personalized logo!

I’m pleased to introduce to you Franklin the Garbage Goblin, Froda the Speedy Weeny, and Phoebe the Sun Summoner.

young boy holding treats with three dogs in halloween costume caps looking at him
8. Rent or buy secondhand

Explore second-hand options by purchasing pre-owned dog costumes from thrift stores or second-hand platforms, such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay, OfferUp, and Wallapop.

Another option is to check out a local costume rental store, as they may have pet costumes.

All these are great ways to contribute to the reuse effort while reducing waste and saving some money.

9. Use your dog as inspiration to go minimalistic

Let your dog be your inspiration – identify their unique characteristics and use simple finishing touches to bring these attributes to life.

For example, Froda really reminds me of Dobby from Harry Potter. To complete the transformation, all I needed was a piece of cloth tied together and a sock (which she usually already has in her mouth)!

10. Axe the costume completely

Respect your dog’s physical and emotional comfort level. Skip the costume altogether if they display signs of discomfort or distress while wearing it.

Halloween Treats

Impact on the Planet

The excessive packaging of single-wrapped candies significantly contributes to plastic pollution and non-biodegradable waste accumulation in landfills. Like much of the waste we produce today, candy packaging persists in the environment for extended periods, releasing harmful chemicals into the ecosystem.

Impact on Your Pet

When it comes to pets, there are multiple associated risks.

The one that most people are aware of is chocolate. This treat contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can cause adverse effects on a dog’s nervous system and heart. In particular, be extra cautious around dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

Even more dangerous is xylitol, a common sugar substitute in sugar-free gum, candy, and baked goods. This sweetener can induce a rapid insulin release in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia, seizures, and potentially fatal liver failure.

Also worth mentioning is that the consumption of candy wrappers can result in serious health complications such as intestinal blockages, which can be life-threatening for dogs.

Tips to Reduce Your Pawprint

11. Test out some eco-friendly candy brands

Opt for eco-friendly candy options that are ethically sourced and prioritize minimal or sustainable packaging.

Some options to consider are:

12. Go for bulk and paper packaging

When it comes to classic Halloween candy, there are more sustainable options than others.

Favor mini-box packaging over non-recyclable plastic wrapping for a more eco-friendly Halloween. Examples include Junior Mints, Dots, Milk Duds, and Nerds.

13. Hand out candy alternatives during trick-or-treat

Chances are that kid knocking on your door this Halloween already has enough candy.

So instead of handing out the traditional Halloween candy, explore alternatives like pencils, erasers, or other fun, but practical, items.

14. Don’t leave candy on low surfaces

Store any candy bags, dishes, baskets, etc at an elevated height to prevent easy access by pets. And, if you have food ninjas like me, be vigilant against any potential sneaky maneuvers.

15. Treat your pup, not just the human kids

Don’t leave your pup out of the special treat fun! With just a few healthy ingredients, you can make your dog some Halloween treats they won’t soon forget. Check out the simple recipe for Halloween dog treats here.

halloween-shaped pumpkin dog treats next to dog skeleton decoration

Xtra Health Tip: Always check with your veterinarian before introducing new foods. Like people, all dogs are different, and their tolerance for these ingredients depends on numerous factors including age, allergies, health conditions, and more.

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Carved Pumpkins

Impact on the Planet

Once Halloween is over, many pumpkins end up as waste in landfills, where their decomposition generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to climate change.

Impact on Your Pet

For pets, the hazards associated with carved pumpkins primarily revolve around the risk of ingestion.

Spoiled or moldy pumpkins can cause digestive problems and potential toxicity in pets, leading to adverse health effects and discomfort.

Tips to Reduce Your Pawprint

16. Avoid paint, non-biodegradable decorations, and preservation techniques

Sure, it may look cute. But if you decorate your pumpkin with paint or extra decorations, you have set its fate for the landfill.

Also, be aware that if you use a preservation technique you find online, this will most likely make the pumpkin ineligible for composting.

17. Compost

Compost your pumpkin in your garden to promote organic waste management and nutrient-rich soil development.

If you don’t have a home compost system, look for designated drop-off sites in your neighborhood or community that accept pumpkins for composting or sustainable disposal.

18. Do NOT dispose of them in the woods

After a day or two, carved pumpkins already begin to decay. This means it is not safe for consumption, and you may endanger wildlife by disposing of your pumpkin in this way.

19. Do NOT dispose of them through your dog, chickens, or other pets

As mentioned above, the decay process starts quickly with carved pumpkins. It’s crucial to prevent pets from consuming pumpkins that have begun to show signs of spoilage.

Halloween Parties

Impact on the Planet

Traditional Halloween parties are essentially a combination of all the negative environmental implications and pet dangers I discussed above.

From disposable partyware to single-use decorations to surplus food, Halloween parties can bring a whole new definition to the word “scary”.

Impact on Your Pet

During Halloween parties, the constant flow of visitors, with frequent comings and goings, poses a risk of pets escaping unnoticed.

Additionally, the loud and chaotic environment, along with unfamiliar faces in unfamiliar costumes, can easily lead to high levels of stress and anxiety in your pup.

For pups that aren’t stressed by the party chaos, there is still risk. In the midst of the commotion, there’s a good chance that observant pets will consume party foods left within their reach.

Tips to Reduce Your Pawprint

20. Opt for reusable tableware

Wherever possible, minimize the use of disposable partyware to reduce overall waste. For parties, while I don’t use our regular dishes, I have found plenty of great options for inexpensive plates and cups that last year after year.

21. Plan a sustainable menu

Focus on sustainable ingredients with minimal packaging, choosing items that are either package-free or come in eco-friendly packaging.

Xtra Eco Tip: Skip the plastic produce bag. Place the weight sticker directly on your fruits and veggies or invest in reusable produce bags like these from Amazon.

And to ensure food doesn’t go to waste once the party ends, send your guests home with to-go containers.

22. Avoid dangerous ingredients

As much as we’d like to think our dogs won’t get ahold of any party foods, our furry friends are quite the opportunists. Froda, in particular, literally and figuratively jumps at the opportunity to snag food during party time chaos, so we have to be extra vigilant at our house during fiestas.

One prevention method is to eliminate low tables or surfaces where guests may leave food or treats that your pet can easily access.

However, as an extra precaution, try to avoid using ingredients that can make your dog sick. If you aren’t familiar with the foods your pup should never eat, you can check out my post on the 10 most dangerous foods for dogs.

most dangerous foods to dogs on wood serving board
23. Have an anti-escape plan

Planning a party can be stressful enough on its own. The last thing you want to worry about is searching for a lost pet.

Whether or not your pup likes to escape the house and yard, be extra cautious on party day. Even if your dog never tries to dart out the door, remember they may behave differently with the extra noise, people, and costumes.

Therefore, secure your pet behind a gate, in a closed room, or on a leash during guest arrivals and departures to prevent them from getting lost in all the commotion.

24. Take time for introductions

My dogs LOVE all people and are incredibly friendly with everyone they meet, including new friends who come to our house. However, during our first Halloween party, Froda was initially quite stressed. She continually barked at a werewolf and a witch that showed up at our door.

So, we took a step back, asked our guests to remove their masks, and had them feed her a treat. After this, Froda was back to her normal, outgoing self. (Pheobe and Franklin were completely unphased by all the costumes).

The approach we used with Froda will not work with every dog. But as a start, introduce your pet to guests, encouraging a calm and controlled environment. Observe their response to various costumes and unfamiliar individuals.

You may find that your dog quickly adjusts; however, if they continue to be stressed and fearful, prioritize the safety of both your pup and your guests. In the end, your dog may be much happier sitting this one out in your bedroom or other isolated area.

25. Involve your pup!

Throughout the Halloween season, look for ways to get your pup involved! If you are hosting a small party, you can even incorporate some dog-friendly Halloween activities.

We experimented with several dog-friendly, eco-friendly Halloween activities, and my whole family had a blast. Check out the games we played here, and try some out yourself!

mixed breed dog grabbing food from bowl of water during dog-friendly bobbing for apples halloween game
mini dapple dachshund dog standing behind cups decorated as pumpkins used for a dog-friendly halloween game
pug mix dog getting food from halloween sensory box

Create Some Eco-Friendly Halloween Memories with Your Pup

No matter how you celebrate Halloween and the fall season in general, there are so many opportunities to make small, sustainable changes and try out new ideas.

And, remember, you don’t have to change all your habits at once. I am certainly not here to rain on your Halloween parade!

Rather, I believe it is important to recognize the heightened environmental impact we have during this season. From there, it becomes easier to see the changes you can make without taking away from the celebration.

So, how do you plan to make your impact on our planet a little less scary this Halloween?

FAQs: Eco-Friendly Halloween with Your Dog

Are the Halloween costumes mentioned in the post safe for dogs?

Yes, the Halloween costumes recommended in the post are designed specifically for dogs and are made from pet-safe materials. However, it’s essential to ensure that the costume fits comfortably and does not restrict your dog’s movement or ability to breathe.

Can I use natural or homemade treats for my dog during Halloween?

Yes, using natural or homemade treats for your dog during Halloween is an excellent way to ensure they are consuming healthy and safe ingredients.

Homemade treats can be made from simple, pet-friendly ingredients like pumpkin, peanut butter, and whole wheat flour.

3. Are there any Halloween decorations I should avoid if I have a dog?

Yes, some Halloween decorations, such as fake spider webs, candles, and small decorations that can be easily swallowed, should be avoided if you have a dog. These items can pose choking hazards or cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested.

Avoid these entirely or ensure they are always kept out of paw’s reach.

Can I take my dog trick-or-treating with me?

While some dogs may enjoy accompanying their owners while trick-or-treating, it’s essential to consider your dog’s temperament and comfort level in crowded or noisy environments.

If you do decide to take your dog trick-or-treating, ensure they are wearing a secure collar and leash and are comfortable around strangers and other pets.

How can I ensure my dog’s safety during Halloween festivities?

To ensure your dog’s safety during Halloween festivities, keep them indoors in a quiet and secure area away from the front door to prevent them from escaping or becoming overwhelmed by visitors.

Additionally, make sure your dog is wearing proper identification in case they do manage to get out.

Are there any eco-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween decorations?

Yes, there are several eco-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween decorations, such as using recyclable or biodegradable materials, opting for LED lights instead of traditional ones, and repurposing household items for decorations.

How can I involve my dog in Halloween-themed activities at home?

You can involve your dog in a variety of Halloween-themed activities at home, such as making homemade treats together or playing games like hide-and-seek with Halloween-themed toys.


If you need some inspiration, check out my post on Halloween games for dogs.

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8 thoughts on “25 Eco-Friendly Halloween Tricks To Reduce Your Pawprint As A Pet Parent”

  1. Thanks for all the great ideas. You’ve thought of a lot of elements that often go overlooked with the holiday season. My pets are always stressed when their routine is disrupted so I appreciate how thorough you were with ways to keep them safe and comfortable.

  2. I absolutely love the idea of making doggie treats for our pet tricker treaters! Thank you also for providing a quick reference at the top to save for later! It made the content easy to digest and apply!

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