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Halloween. This much-loved eerie tradition originated from the ancient Celtic festival Samhain where people wore frightening costumes to ward off ghosts. Over time, it transformed into something much more costly that leaves a terrible trace on the planet each year. From plastic-heavy costumes that are worn once and then left in wardrobes or thrown away, to millions of pumpkins that are grown then left to rot as decoration, Halloween could very well be the most wasteful holiday.
When you think about it, this holiday is the perfect time to put your creativity to the test. You can utilise items that you already have or rummage around second-hand stores/charity stores for funky items. If you're up for the challenge of making Halloween an eco-friendly occasion this year, then keep on reading!
Cheap costumes are everywhere you look on the run-up to Halloween, supermarkets, clothing stores, online - they're so easy to get a hold of and therefore oh so tempting. However, an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste (equivalent to 83 million bottles) is generated from UK Halloween costumes, so perhaps it's time to rethink what you're going to dress up as this year!
It's okay though; you can still easily be the best dressed at the party while being conscious of the planet too. Here are a few options:
Feasting on sugary sweets is one of the many things that makes Halloween so great, but the reality is, they're not that great for the planet. Many of the classic Halloween favourites are wrapped in plastic that cannot be recycled. To avoid producing so much waste, you should buy sweets in bulk wherever you can instead of those in individual packaging, and remember only to buy what's necessary!
If you are really dedicated, you could recycle all your packaging via a service like Terracycle who do the hard work for you.
When you're on the hunt for sweets, here's what you should look out for:
Are you taking on the responsibility of hosting the Halloween party this year? Well, then this is your opportunity to go green and say no to disposables or single-use items. Put your creative hat on and make decorations from household objects like bed sheets, clothing, toilet paper, and empty glass jars. If DIY isn't your thing and you’d rather buy decorations, then make sure you take good care of them so you can use them for years to come.
Last year, a study concluded that people in the UK binned 8 million pumpkins on Halloween. If you've ever grown your own produce, you'll realise the time, resources, and work that it takes. Can you imagine the number of resources wasted by throwing away millions of pumpkins?! I feel as if this is the most pressing and yet most simply solved issue surrounding this holiday; we're throwing away more than enough food to feed the entire country!
If you can, buy your pumpkins local and organic (preferably from a garden centre or farm as opposed to a supermarket). Then when it comes to carving your pumpkin, save the insides so that you can repurpose them into beauty products. And don't forget to roast the seeds, they're full of nutrition and antioxidants!
You can always compost your pumpkin leftovers if they're unsuitable for eating (which often happens once they've been sitting around our homes/gardens for a few days).
It's tempting to take your children somewhere new and exciting for trick-or-treating, but keeping it local is an easy way to keep your travel emissions down. Everyone has undiscovered routes and roads around their own area to venture around, so take up the challenge to go exploring on foot. You might just find your new favourite spot.
Another opportunity to make a sustainable switch is with trick-or-treat bags. Look around the house or charity shops for an object that you can decorate instead of buying one of the plastic Halloween-themed ones found in supermarkets. You can give old buckets, or unwanted bags a new lease of life by repurposing them into trick-or-treat bags! Your child might very well be prouder of something they've made themselves rather than something shop-bought.