Halloween doesn’t have to be a nightmare for the planet.
Halloween is a scary time of year but what’s even scarier is the amount of excess waste that can accumulate when it’s all over.
The environmental damage that a single holiday can generate is pretty unbelievable – from single-use costumes to mass-produced plastic decorations.
A study from UK environmentalist group Hubbub found that over 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste comes from Halloween costumes alone.
But it’s not just the planet that commercialised holidays hurt, they can also be pretty hard on our wallets.
With that in mind, here are four easy ways to embrace an eco-friendly Halloween.
Everyone knows the best part about Halloween is getting to dress up. Unfortunately, costumes are the biggest source of waste this time of year.
These costumes carry quite a heavy carbon footprint so instead of buying a brand new costume, why not bring an old outfit back from the dead? Better yet, swap with a friend.
Another option is to get creative. Once you’ve decided on your costume, have a look through your wardrobe to see what you already have, and up-cycle it.
Or check out local charity shops and online thrift stores, such as Thrifty, rather than fast fashion retailers. A bonus here is that you can guarantee your costume will be 100% unique.
Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year after Christmas and many of these decorations are made from non-recyclable plastics.
Thankfully, the most classic Halloween decoration, pumpkins, are a great choice for the planet. Look out for ones that have been grown in Ireland and dispose of them correctly in your compost bin.
Making decorations from things you have at home is another brilliant way to keep things sustainable (old stockings with runs make great fake spider-webs). This can also double up as a fun Halloween activity for kids. There’s plenty of tutorials online for homemade decorations, like this spooky tin can lantern.
If you want to buy decorations, the best option is to purchase good quality ones that can be used year after year.
Trick or Treat
Kids come home with quite the haul after an evening of trick or treating and all those plastic wrappers have to go somewhere.
The best way to combat all of this rubbish is to look for goodies with minimal packaging. You can also buy sweets in bulk and divide them into biodegradable brown paper bags. Not only is this good for the planet but it’s also good for your pocket as it will work out cheaper than buying tons of multi-packs.
And for trick or treaters, reusable tote bags are an easy greener alternative to plastic ones.
Don’t waste your pumpkins
When they’re carving pumpkins, most people scoop out the inside and chuck it in the bin. To lower food waste, roast the pumpkin with salt and pepper. Use it when baking breads, pies or muffins. Or try out this gorgeous spicy pumpkin soup recipe – the perfect comfort food as the evenings get chillier.
You can also save the seeds, which are delicious roasted with a drizzle of oil, as well as making a much appreciated snack for the birds.