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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. In 2023, UK consumers are expected to spend over £1 billion on Halloween products. 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 nearly 16 million pumpkins are expected to go to waste in the UK alone? That’s around 95 million meals worth of pumpkins!
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. 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 households 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. Moreover, a 2021 update on the study found that 74% of costumers were made from polyester alone – suggesting that not enough has changed since.
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 back from the dead. 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 could try a costume swap or borrow from family or friends. Saving you a quid and saving the planet.
Hosting a fang-tastic sustainable Halloween party
Let’s face it – celebrations are always a large part of Halloween, with large sums spent on home decorations for ghoulish Halloween parties every year. Having said this, it is 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?