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How to have a sustainable Halloween


Halloween is great for many reasons – you can dress up in spooky outfits, eat lots of treats (or knock on door to get freebies) and there are spooky parties all over town.

There’s one particularly scary aspect of the holiday that many people don’t consider: how it affects the environment.

It’s a valid concern. Just today, a new study of 19 major retailers revealed how much plastic can really be found in Halloween costumes.

According to environmental charity Hubbub and The Fairyland Trust, a nature charity, 83% of materials in 324 clothing lines are made from oil-based plastic – that’s the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles.

The problem only gets bigger when we consider other plastic items that we buy especially for Halloween, such as decorations, cups and cutlery for house parties, plastic wrappers on sweet treats and the overflow of pumpkins (which will never get eaten).

It’s enough to give anyone eco-anxiety, but there are ways to have a sustainable Halloween.

Make your own costumes or swap with friends

Let’s start with the biggest problem: the costumes.

A lot of people will invest in a new outfit every year and variety is the spice of life, but rather than buying one from the shop, take a look around your house and see if there’s anything you can use to make your own costume.

It’ll not only be better for the environment, but you’ll also save money. If you’re not great with a sewing machine or a glue gun, round up your mates and host a ‘swap’ party.

This way, you get rid of Halloween costumes that you don’t want and, hopefully, score a free outfit from someone else.

Share your Halloween makeup kits

Most Halloween makeup kits include more than one colour or item.

So, if you’re going as a skeleton and don’t need the red paint on the palette, why not give it to your mate, who is dressing as the devil?

Get ready together and share your Halloween goods, including fake blood.

Buy one big pack, instead of a lot of small ones, because as much as you tell yourself that you’ll ‘save it for next year’, it’ll most likely end up in the bin the morning after.

Get pick-n-mix for trick-or-treaters

One of the biggest joys of Halloween is the treat-or-treat round in the neighbourhood.

Most supermarkets sell extra large tubs of sweets for the occasion, but this can often involve a lot of excess plastic. Instead of getting that huge bag of sweets, filled with smaller bags of sweets, buy pick-n-mix that you can choose yourself.

You could also bring your own tub, and ask the store if they’d be OK with you using that instead of their paper or plastic bags.

Also, check the ingredients of the sweets and consider buying non-GMO products where possible.

Recycle your pumpkin

After they’ve created their masterpiece, most people will throw out the pumpkin pulp – don’t.

You can use it to make soups, pies and other culinary delights. Don’t fancy eating this particular orange vegetable? Make yourself a face mask instead.

As for the pumpkin, don’t just chuck it in with your regular trash – put it into a compost bin. Alternatively, if you have a garden, you can bury it.

We’re not being morbid for the sake of Halloween; according to Recycle Nation, the pumpkin pieces will break down and ‘enrich the soil’.

Also, if live near a farmer’s market, you could potentially reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing local produce.

If you’re having a party, make it sustainable

Odds are that if the host encourages guests to be sustainable, they will.

Give away a prize for the most environmentally-friendly outfit, buy biodegradable cups and plates (if you really need them) and make your own decorations.

If you’re using lights, try to source those that are better for the environment and recycle any batteries responsibly once they run out.

You could even ask your friends to walk or cycle to your house, and reduce their carbon footprint. Having said that, if they are drinking or going home on their at the end of the evening, tell them to leave their bike overnight and take a cab instead.


This article was originally published on  metro

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