How To Celebrate Halloween Sustainably
October 31st. The one day of the year when it’s acceptable to dress up as ghouls, ghosts and witches, collecting free sweets and decorating your home with all things spooky. Or cosy, if you’re going for an autumnal vibe.
While Halloween is fun, it can also be extremely wasteful, with approximately 7 million costumes thrown away every year and 83% of those costumes being made from damaging plastics. Let’s not forget the plastic sweet wrappers making their way to landfill, or pumpkins thrown into our general waste bins.
You might think throwing pumpkins away is harmless - they decompose, what’s the problem?! But other than being a waste of food, pumpkins actually produce a toxic greenhouse gas called methane, when they decompose. This is the largest contributor to climate change, so you can see why making pumpkin soup is a much better alternative to tossing your overgrown squash away.
With all this in mind, we’ve put together these tips to help you enjoy all the best bits of Halloween without harming the planet.
1. Choose Locally Grown Pumpkins
Pumpkins can still be a part of Halloween, we just need to do it sustainably. Before we even
begin carving the pumpkin, we should think about where our pumpkin is from.
It’s much better to source your pumpkins from a local grower, to reduce your carbon emissions. This means less transportation than buying from a supermarket and avoids the knock-on effect of habitat loss and pollution.
2. Eat Your Pumpkins
In reality, the scariest part of Halloween is the pumpkins, because of their methane-producing
powers. The best way to reuse your pumpkin after it’s been carved is by eating it!
Scoop out the seeds and roast them with oil and salt for a tasty snack, or scatter them on your meals. Pumpkin seeds are actually highly nutritious and full of antioxidants, so not only is it good for the earth, it’s good for your body, too.
You can transform your pumpkins into soups, pies, curries, pumpkin hummus, creamy pasta sauce or simple muffins. You could even make your own pumpkin-spiced latte!
3. Eco-Friendly Decoration
Next up, it’s time to decorate your house. To get into the Halloween spirit, putting on your crafty
hat is a great way to decorate your home, especially if you have children.
As you can imagine, most Halloween decorations are plastic and non-reusable, so the best way you can make decorations is by working with what you already have. Put candles in jam jars, fill a pumpkin with orange and yellow flowers, or hang an autumn wreath on your door.
Get messy and paint your own banners, or if you can sew, use old fabric to make seasonal bunting. Make tin can lanterns or cross-stitch some spooky patterns. Use recycled old wood to hand paint a trick-or-treat sign, or hang up some solar-panelled red fairy lights. The possibilities are endless.
4. Upcycle Halloween Costumes
Now that you’ve set the scene, what are you going to wear? While the shops may be filled with fancy dress, don’t buy a one-off costume. Take inspiration from the shop shelves and create your own instead. Some of the best costumes come from being creative and using your imagination.
Re-use past costumes, or use the clothes you already have in your wardrobe, and turn them into something suitably festive. Borrow from your friend’s wardrobes, or if you really have to buy something new, get it secondhand.
5. Sustainable Trick or Treating
You don’t need a plastic orange bucket to collect sweets and chocolates for your children. Instead, use something you already have to go trick or treating, like tote bags or baskets. If you want to keep the crafty theme going, why not make your own out of a shoebox? Decorate the box with all things spooky and make a handle to carry it around.
6. Treat Alternatives
When the children come knocking at your door on All Hallows eve, don’t hand out sweets and chocolates wrapped in plastic. They’re not eco-friendly, and let’s be honest, they’re not very healthy either.
Instead of giving out food, you could opt for some fun but also functional alternatives, like a packet of seeds for children to grow their own flowers or vegetables. How about pencils and colouring books, or even temporary tattoo stickers? If you want to stick with something sweet, then bake your own Halloween cupcakes or gingerbread men, for example.
Being sustainable doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy our favourite holiday seasons. Even if you just try out one tip this Halloween, you’re making a small contribution to the planet, and showing the younger generations how to build a greener future while still having fun.