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It’s that spooky time of year again, where pumpkins line streets and fancy dress takes centre stage. As autumn settles in and the days get shorter, the UK startles to life every 31st October.
Whether trick or treating, or doing the monster mash, Halloween is a cause for celebration for many of us. Unfortunately, as with many celebrations, excessive consumption leads to excess waste. This Halloween, consumers will spend over £472 million on Halloween products, in the UK alone. Whether frighteningly fast fashion or perishing pumpkins most items purchased will be thrown away before bonfire night, making Halloween one of the scariest days for our environment.
That’s why we have created our ultimate guide for a more sustainable Halloween, to help you give people a fright without harming our planet:
Pumpkins – Be ahead of the carve
Pumpkin carving is a fang-tastically fun and creative activity for you and your family this Halloween season, but did you know that 14.5 million pumpkins are anticipated to go uneaten in the UK this Halloween. Amazingly, it is estimated that 60% of people in the UK will buy at least one pumpkin, with only 8% of buyers cooking with it, creating tonnes of food waste.
Every part of the standard supermarket Halloween pumpkin is edible, apart from the stalk. Pumpkins are nutrient-dense, containing a lot of vitamins and minerals and relatively few calories. The pumpkin contains an abundance of vitamins A, C, and E, which boost your immune system.
Pumpkins are also known to be a superfood for dogs. They’re high in fibre and contain many important micronutrients, helping your pooch’s stomach, as a natural soother. If that’s not enough, pumpkins aid in the removal of excess water from a dog’s digestive tract.
So, when hollowing out your jack-o-lantern this Halloween, think twice before throwing away the flesh. To help you prepare your sustainable Halloween pumpkin meal, check out our list of delicious recipes.
Costumes – Look Sustainably Fa-boo-lous
In 2019, an estimated 39 million brits dressed up for Halloween, spending 510 million pounds on costumes in the process. Unsurprisingly, an estimated 7 million costumes are thrown away every year, contributing to a scary 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste.
Halloween costumes are generally made from polyester and oil-based fabric, to be cheaply manufactured to supply the booming demand for the season. Shockingly, 40% of Halloween costumes are only worn once, with 90% of individuals admitting to buying a new costume every year.
According to a survey conducted by the UK charity Fairyland Trust, in 2019, plastic accounted for 83 percent of the material used in Halloween costumes. The study included 19 major retailers and recorded details of 324 items.
This year, why not make your own sustainable Halloween costume, to avoid contributing to the mountains of waste produced this time of year for example:
- Use your old white bed sheets and cut two eye holes to produce a ghost costume. Of course, this example is straightforward, so indulge in your imagination and make something spectacular.
- Another way of reusing your old clothes is to dress up as iconic characters like ‘Harry Potter,’ who have instantly recognisable aesthetics but can also be created from what you currently have in your wardrobe.
- You don’t have to bring your own clothes back to life, you can resurrect someone else’s. Charity shops, such as traid are a treasure chest, opening up a world of costume possibilities. If you’re lucky, you could even buy someone else’s old Halloween costume. If you can’t find anything you like, you couldt try a costume swap or borrow with family or friends. Saving you a buck and saving the planet.
Hosting a fang-tastic sustainable Halloween party
On average, Brits spend £300 million in preparation for Halloween every year. With large sums spent on home decorations for ghoulish Halloween parties, it’s important to be mindful of the large amount of waste that’s being produced.
It’s easy to buy single use items, especially when cleaning up. However, with some consideration your party can be just as terrifying whilst reducing your impact on the environment. Instead of buying mass produced decorations, you can create your Halloween decor using old material found in the house. Whether using old paper to create garlands, or using milk bottles to make ghost lanterns, your creativity is limitless!
When hosting your Halloween party, avoid single-use plastic. Every year, 40 billion single-use plastic utensils are thrown away. Where possible use reusable items, however if you must use disposable items there are many alternatives out there, such as Stroodles edible Eco-ware. Stroodles Eco-ware are 100% biodegradable and good for the planet. And you can even munch on them after use, as they are all edible.
Halloween doesn’t need to produce a frighteningly large amount of waste. You can still have a “bloody” good time, whilst considering your environmental footprint. Simple changes can have a massive impact, so why not try something different this year?