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Ideas for eco friendly party favors and decorations

Credit: Kudzu Monster

I love parties –planning and hosting included. I recall celebrating nearly every birthday of my own up until motherhood because after that, let's face it, parties are no longer about us! Anyone that knows me knows I will gather people for no good reason other than for the sake of getting together. Who says we need a reason to celebrate? There are enough issues out there to keep us depressed year-round, so if you want to throw the party-of-the year because your child wiped his/her own butt, by all means, put on your dancing shoes and go wild! Pregnancy? Job promotion? Go for it. Our planet desperately needs more people celebrating than hating, sans the environmental cost that goes with it.

Parents know nothing screams waste like a child’s birthday party⁠⁠— the uneaten cake, the disposable decorations, the cheap party bag toys, and the oversized custom-made balloon garland meant to blow away all of your Instagram followers. I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but there are better options. No one will remember the balloons, I promise. Focusing more on the celebration itself and a little less on the decorations can go a long way in reducing the waste, the chaos, and the cost of any party.

The basics:

Credit @girassoismagicos Instagram

All the shiny confetti, the glitzy foil, and multi-colored latex balloons will surely outlive your child’s party—in a landfill or in the stomach of some dead animal. Why not go with low impact choices? Prices for paper and compostables have become quite competitive in recent years making it easier than ever to keep environmental gloom at bay. Keep in mind that if you don’t offer a bin to compost and/or recycle, everything will end up tucked away with the rest of the garbage. Compromising is a great first step; keep the funky unicorn cups but use compostable plates. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.


Credit @lfrustics Instagram

A “greener” party doesn’t mean giving up on your child’s favorite theme. Any theme can be adapted to more eco-conscious materials; you just have to be conscious about it. We tend to do things on auto mode, so it may take an extra effort to pause and think; can I substitute it with something reusable or compostable? Natural elements like flowers and wood pieces make great decorations. I recently came across Kudzu Monster and their amazing DIY party kits that can be printed on post-consumer paper. Also look for cupcake towers, vases, and other knickknacks that can be reused no matter the theme or season at your local discount home decor store.


If you are hosting at an “all-inclusive” party facility, you might be asked to pick a package, and the rest is on them. These venues tend to maximize profits by hosting multiple parties at a time, paying little to no attention to their environmental impact. Ask about their products (or bring your own) and skip the party bag if they don't offer quality items. Kids are there to jump around in the bouncy house anyway, not for the flimsy goody bag toys. Keeping things simple and choosing a place that will allow you and your child to enjoy your guests company will make any amount spent much more worthwhile. Some themes naturally make excellent “green” parties. Here are just a few ideas of locations:

Credit @mypinkevents Instagram
  • Local Park

  • Educational NatureCenter

  • Nature Reservoir

  • Urban Farm Petting Zoo or Children's farm

  • Pumpkin Patch (seasonal)

  • Gardening Center - (some garden centers offer kids workshops)

  • Craft store (Michaels craft stores offer party packs at certain store locations)


  • Dinosaurs

  • Faires

  • Bugs

  • Reptiles Farm animals

  • Knights and Warriors

  • Fall Harvest/Pumpkin patch

  • Camping

Party bags :

"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend." - Abraham Lincoln

Party bags get a bad rep. While I like the idea of skipping it all together or asking for donations to your charity of choice, party favors need not be doomed for the landfill. With a little bit of thought, they can make fun and useful keepsakes. Below are some ideas:

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