Archive for the "Halloween" category

How can I reuse or recycle plastic tablecloths?

After last month’s straw placemats and coasters post, I got thinking about plastic “disposable” tablecloths – the type people buy as a cheap way to decorate their table for children’s (and other) parties.

They’re usually thin sheets of plastic, either brightly coloured or covered with character pictures – so they seem like ideal candidates for upcycling — any specific ideas?

They’re also good as table/floor/everything covers for during messy crafts sessions – or use a no sew poncho pattern to turn them into splash-proof ponchos for very messy art activities!

Of course, it would be better to reduce in the first place – buy multi-purpose washable textiles or easy-clean oilcloth ones. Or if you don’t want a bunch of 5 year olds to ruin your best linen, cover tables with cheap blank newsprint/sugar paper and let the kids decorate it themselves — the best bits can be cut out and kept as a memento and the rest can go into your paper recycling.

As for actually recycling plastic ones, they’re usually made from HDPE (resin code 2) like carrier bags – so can be recycled alongside shopping bags.

Any other ideas for reusing and upcycling them?

Green Halloween: How can I reuse or recycle pumpkin seeds?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series ahead of the spooky day on Sunday…

If you’re carving your own jack-o-lantern this weekend, you’ll end up with a whole load of pumpkin seeds.

While there are varieties of pumpkin that both taste pretty good and grow to a lantern-friendly size, most shop-bought pumpkins tend to be grown for one or the other — and ones sold particularly to be lanterns don’t tend to be that flavourful at all. The seeds could still be scooped out and roasted – but plan to add spices and other yummy things or drown them in toffee to compensate.

While some growers frown on saving seeds from shop-bought produce (because they are often hybrids so less like to breed true, you don’t know what they’ve been pollinated with and there may be disease risks), it’s pretty easy to save pumpkin seeds to grow your own next year (instructions at the bottom of that page).

Other people use the pumpkin seeds for crafty purposes – for example, they make fun beads for chunky jewellery or as mosaic tiles for kids.

Ours, along with any watery, tasteless flesh that’s scooped out, will go to our chickens. Other people use them as part of their lantern creations.

Any other suggestions for what to do with pumpkin seeds?

Green Halloween: how can I reduce the amount of sweet/candy wrapping?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

What with food safety issues and all the urban legends about razor blades & whatnot, nearly all trick-or-treat treats these days are shop-bought and individually wrapped – possibly the worst way to eat sweets or chocolate in terms of packaging waste, especially as it’s mostly plastic wrappers which can’t be recycled.

Do you do anything to minimise the amount of sweetie packaging you give out – or collect?

What are the most reusable or recyclable options?

One way of to reduce, of course, is to opt out of the whole trick or treating thing altogether – but are there any other alternatives?

And while we’ve covered this before in the long dim and distant past, any new reusing/upcycling ideas for the wrappers – transparent ones like in the picture or opaque ones used on mini chocolate bars etc?

(Photo by eisenbahner)

Green Halloween: How can I reuse or recycle Halloween decorations?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

Along with masks and costumes, the shops are full of Halloween decorations at the moment too. Plastic skulls & skeletons, plastic pumpkins, plastic spiders & bats, plastic ghosts & ghouls … lots of plastic.

As with the masks, it’s far greener (and more fun!) to make decorations from scratch rather than relying on stuff that’s mass produced on the other side of the world. There are loads of make your own Halloween decorations how-tos out there (for example, these ten different ideas…). But still, lots of people turn to shop bought stuff.

Any suggestions for ways to reuse or recycle these bits and bobs? Plastic pumpkin/cauldron plant pots?

Or how to repurpose/upcycle things to use them all year around – as decorations or for other purposes?

One idea I saw was using skull ice cube trays as soap moulds – while they intend the finished article to be a Halloween party favour/trick or treat gift, why restrict the fun to just this event? I say fun skull soaps all year around!

Another idea for a bigger, harder plastic skull – drill/poke pencil size holes around the cranium and use it as a fun pen/pencil pot – like Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, but with brightly coloured felt tips.

Anyone using Halloween decorations or party favours to make spooky costume jewellery?

Any other ideas?

Green Halloween: what can I reuse or recycle to make a Halloween mask?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

So yesterday, we looked at reuse or recycling ideas for Halloween masks – and I suppressed my desire to rant about shop-bought costumes. In my ever-so humble opinion, homemade costumes are way more fun – and they often reuse and recycle stuff, rather than using resources to make a one-off outfit.

In the past – way back in the past – we spoke about making Halloween costumes in general but I wanted to think about masks in particular this time – partly, because I mentioned yesterday, I sometimes need non-Halloween masks for theatre things and so the more suggestions the merrier.

What have you used to make masks?

Any suggestions for base materials – things that are malleable or things that already have a suitable shape? I guess the most basic type of mask is an oval of card (cereal box?), shaped and painted — but anything more creative?

Any suggestions for how to fix it onto your head/face? And getting a bit more involved – any ideas what to use for hair?

(The mask in the picture is