If your love of Halloween clashes with your values, don’t despair! You can still enjoy yourself while being kind to the environment (and your wallet).
As an introvert, the idea of dressing up and knocking on strangers doors asking for free food never really appealed to me as a child. The one year I did dress up in a 'mum-made' Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer costume, I didn’t even make it to the 'trick-or-treating'.
Now as an adult, having lived in countries where Halloween is celebrated a lot more than back home in Australia, it’s the thought of expensive, single-use costumes, and the plastic and food-waste, that doesn't interest (rather bothers) me.
But, if your love of Halloween clashes with your values, don’t despair! You can still enjoy yourself while being kind to the environment (and your wallet). I have compiled a list of some easy switches we can all adopt that will make a real difference during the Halloween season.
Halloween costumes can not only be quite pricey, but are typically made of plastic and intended for single use. Therefore, to avoid spending unnecessary money and sending more plastic to landfill, why not try one of the following:
Do it yourself
Fight the urge to buy a new costume, and instead try making your own. There are plenty of beginner friendly sewing patterns out there themed for Halloween.
If sewing isn't your thing, don't let that stop you. You don't have to look far. Start by looking around your house, or local op shop. A fail safe idea is a ghost made from a white sheet, wrapping yourself up as a mummy using bandages or strips of white fabric, or using black fabric to create cloaks and capes.
You could try upcycling from your local charity shop. It doesn't have to be an actual costume. Look out for evening dresses that you could add your own embellishments to, shirts and trousers that can be torn or cut-up, and keep an eye out for fail-safe autumnal colours and black velvet! A simple search on Google, YouTube or Pinterest will return a plethora of inspiration.
Get crafty! Once you have the foundation of your outfit sorted, why not finish things off by taking a look through your recycling bin (there is a lot you can do with a cardboard box), or simply add some paint?!
If time just isn't on your side, resist the last minute impulse buy. There may still be time to get that killer costume. Why not consider;
Bring an old costume back from the dead. We need to distance ourselves from the stigma of wearing the same outfit more than once, and this should include costumes. Perhaps you have a witches costume floating around from last year; with some simple accessories, you might just be able to transform it into something completely different.
Why not share costumes with family, friends, work colleagues, or through an organised group, like on Facebook?!
Think about renting a costume and returning it as soon as you are finished, putting it back into circulation for someone else to wear.
N.B. If you find yourself with unwanted costumes, don't just throw them out. You can donate them to your local charity shop or school, or give selling them online a go. Just remember to wash them first!
Plastic. Plastic. Plastic.
Pesky plastic has made its way into everything when it comes to Halloween, from the costumes and their accessories (e.g. wigs, masks, etc.), the party decorations, to the lolly (or candy/sweet) wrappers, and don't get me started on darn glitter.
When it comes to those Halloween costumes, a 2019 investigation by Hubbub and the Fairyland Trust revealed that from 19 supermarkets and retailers, 83% of the material used was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfill with the most common plastic polymer being polyester. Therefore, trying some of those swaps I mentioned previously will not only save you money, but will help you cut back on plastic also.
For those of you throwing a Halloween bash, opt for recyclable and reusable when it comes to decorations, cups, utensils, plates etc. Or, tone the theme down so you can use the items more than once a year (e.g. simply focus on an Autumnal colour scheme). Alternatively, look to nature for decoration ideas, like confetti made from hole punching leaves, or pine cones and conkers (Autumn really is the perfect time of year for decorating).
Why not make your own Halloween treats, or simply try avoiding individually wrapped lollies and chocolates. Furthermore ,you could swap the plastic bucket used for trick-or-treating for a reusable basket, or tote.
To solve that glitter problem, look out for biodegradable glitter, made from plants (check out EcoStardust). This way you will not be contributing to micro-plastic pollution.
You might not have given much thought to pumpkin waste, but the act of using pumpkins as simply decorations to line front steps, or to carve designs into them, means that most, if not all of the pumpkin is likely to end up being put out with the rubbish.
But if you still want to experience the fun of carving a pumpkin, then there are some great things we can do that will make a real difference.
Buy or pick pumpkins locally!
Remember you can eat everything but the stalk of pumpkins.
Try cooking the pumpkin seeds to create a snack, or add to a salad.
Create a pumpkin infused vegetable stock from the slimy innards.
Store the innards in the freezer, and use when your are ready.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, plant your dried pumpkin seeds once the weather warms you will reap the benefits.
Compost your leftovers, instead of just tossing in the rubbish.
If you are unsure, a simple google search will also return an array of resources and recipes. Plus, any site featuring food will be undoubtedly be focusing on pumpkin at this time of year.
Please get in touch or leave me a comment. Let me know if this article was helpful, or share your tips on how to make Halloween more sustainable, and better for the environment.
Thanks for reading.
This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions contained on this site are my own. I am not affiliated with any brands, products, or organisations mentioned, and do not receive any sponsorship, payment, or other compensation for any of the content on this site.