Here at EcoVibe, we’re suckers for celebration, including the annual fright-fest Halloween. But if you want something really scary, think about the amount of waste the festival creates! From trick or treating sweet wrappers to thrown-out pumpkins, Halloween can be really terrible for the environment. So, we put together a list of our favourite eco-tips for a greener celebration – check it out!
1. Switch up your trick or treating gifts
This year, Halloween's looking like a cosy, homely affair. So why not opt for a homemade version of trick-or-treats for your family and housemates? You could make your own chocolates and jellies in creepy shapes, bake biscuits and cakes with spooky icing or even – if you want to cut the sugar this year – munch on satsumas with pumpkin faces drawn onto them.
If your local community have found ways to make trick-or-treating COVID-secure, then we're super excited for you and the little ones! But we know a lot of waste can come from individually wrapped sweets too. Smarties are a great plastic-free option – they’re suitable for vegans and are gluten-free so safe for most allergy sufferers, plus the box is recyclable too.
2. Buy your costumes second-hand
Stepping out for a local pumpkin trail? Take a moment to think about how sustainable your costume us. Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and, when you stop to think about it, our worn-for-one-day-of-the-year Halloween costumes contribute to the problem. In fact, a new report warned that Halloween costumes in the UK alone will create 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste this year.
Shopping for second-hand clothes is much more sustainable than buying new - and fashion circularity doesn’t need to be limited to ours and our families’ regular wardrobes. This year, look for pre-loved costumes on Facebook Marketplace and connect with people local to you or check out your local charity shops if you're comfortable doing so. If you live in more remote areas with less options available near you, other online marketplaces such as eBay or Depop have plenty of options too, many of which might even be unworn!
3. Make your own decorations
Halloween decorations can be a plastic nightmare! They’re usually made of cheap, non-recyclable plastics that clog up landfills after use. This year use old blankets and cloths to make creepy decorations. Then after, you can either save them for next year or give them to a rag bin.
Don’t forget the candles in your pumpkins too, many decorative candles and tealights placed inside contain petroleum-based paraffin that release harmful chemicals when lit. You can find ones made of soy or beeswax cheaply and widely available, just check the ingredients before you purchase.
Looking for more ideas? See our full Handmade Halloween Decoration ideas here.
4. Don’t forget your pumpkin’s afterlife
Carving out pumpkins can be a fun family activity that’s completely plastic-free – yay! And it’s easy to reduce your waste from this too – double yay! You can use any leftover pumpkin flesh for soups and roast the seeds with a bit of paprika or whatever herbs and spices you fancy for a tasty snack.
When Halloween’s over, clean your pumpkin (give them a good scrub on the outside to remove any wax put on to preserve it), then put them outside for the wildlife to eat. Winter can be a hard time for animals and by doing that, you’re giving them food. But don’t forget, if you’ve used a wax tealight, please compost your pumpkin instead as the soot and wax can make wildlife ill.
5. Make your parties waste-free too
Having a party at home with those wonderful people you live with? We get it, plates with dancing skeletons and green-faced witches are cute, but the waste and carbon footprint from these isn’t such a pretty picture. For parties, reuse your regular cups, mugs, plates and cutlery instead of the nasty disposable stuff. Even if you can’t be bothered with washing dishes – we’ve all been there - there’s compostable stuff that’s available. And please recycle those bottles and cans!
Got any other ideas or suggestions? Share them in the comments with our eco-community below!