How to have a spooky and sustainable Halloween celebration.
Halloween is coming up and I'm excited, mainly because I love a good pumpkin soup! However, there is often a huge amount of waste created at this time of year. From the single portion sweets, to costumes and decorations. It can be a scary day for the planet as well as for us!
Fortunately, there are ways that this celebration can be made more sustainable and low waste. I've shared my best tricks for cutting down plastic and reducing waste so you can still have a treat at Halloween.
Reduce food waste:
Did you know that a massive 18,000 tonnes of food waste is created from Halloween pumpkins each year? 1 These winter squash are actually really good for you, they are high in vitamins A, C and E which support healthy skin, eyes and immune health. It's worth saving your carvings and eating them rather than throwing away the insides.
If you're not as keen on pumpkin soup as I am, don't worry! There are lots of other recipes that you can add pumpkin too. I've shared a few recipes that you might like to try out below:
If possible, compost whatever is left of the pumpkin that can't be eaten or used. Composting is better than throwing away as organic matter struggles to break down in landfill and can release the toxic gases methane and carbon dioxide.
Dress the part:
It is estimated that fancy dress costumes can create around 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year. 2 This doesn't just account for the plastic packaging that they often come in, many are also designed to be worn once before being thrown away. Children's costumes may quickly be grown out of but could be donated, passed on or handed down to be worn again and again.
Before buying a new costume, you might find the perfect thing while looking second hand. There are a few places you can look for preloved costumes but charity shops are a great starting point as they will either have donated costumes, or you can be creative and make your own outfit from items on the rails while supporting a charitable cause too. When shopping online, my go to places would be:
You may also like to hire a costume, that way it can be returned and reused multiple times and for multiple occasions throughout the year.
One of the worst offenders for home decorations are balloons, which can hurt wildlife and take hundreds of years to break down. These can be swapped out for paper baubles, which are not only recyclable but can easily be folded back flat for next year. Another big offender for microplastics is glitter, but it is now possible to get eco-glitter that will biodegrade or you can make your own with colourful card and a hole punch!
Halloween decorations can include seasonal, natural and foraged items. Autumn leaves have started to fall, as have conkers, both can be scattered on table tops and shelves, or be threaded onto twine for a garland.
Reusing and upcycling materials that you have at home is another great way to create your own halloween decorations. Saving cardboard boxes is ideal as you can cut out all sorts of shapes to paint and stick together. Here are a few ideas that you might want to try:
Ultimately, reusing your decorations year after year is the most sustainable way to spruce up your home for Halloween so if you don't have time to craft everything yourself try to opt for reusable decorations you can pack away for next 31 October.
If its for family and friends you might want to cut down on plastic packaging waste by opting for larger sharing bags or homemade instead of singly wrapped sweets and chocolates. However, trick or treating is a difficult one as I would not recommend giving out homemade foods. It too easily poses a risk to those with food allergens, it's also better in terms of general safety and hygiene not to give out unpackaged food.
To make this Halloween tradition a bit more sustainable you can save your sweet and chocolate wrappers from your trick or treat haul and recycle them with Terracycle. You can find your nearest collection point, and the rules for the confectionary wrapper collections using the links below:
I hope that this helps you to find ways of cutting out waste for Halloween. If you have any tips and tricks that you'd like to share let me know. I'd love to hear them!
Also, don't forget that the Spooky Winch Trail is happening now! The activity sheet is available to pick up from the Visitor Centre or the Discovery Centre and there is a prize draw for a Halloween Hamper if you return it before the end of the day 31 October.
Have a spooky time everyone!