The spooky season is upon us! Who doesn't love an excuse to get dressed up and enjoy some sweet treats? But did you know that Halloween celebrations can often be wasteful and harmful to the environment? In fact, The Guardian recently reported that from the millions of costumes which are purchased each year, 7 million are thrown away within the same period. Halloween costumes are often made using polyester, a material which is incredibly difficult to recycle once it has been made into clothing. Another scary fact is that of the 24 million pumpkins which are purchased around Halloween, over half are binned without any part of them being eaten! Whilst these statistics are sure to give you a fright - fear not! You can still enjoy Halloween whilst making more sustainable choices with our top tips...
Many decorations that are available to buy are made from plastic, or will not be saved to be used again. We recommend buying decorations that are made from recycled materials and that you can keep to use again next year, or during other celebrations. A great option for this is our Indian Recycled Paper Bauble in Orange as they can be used year-round but the orange colour makes them perfect for Halloween! Coloured fairy lights are also a good option for decorations that can be used again and again. Another great option is to make your own decorations by re-using materials you have around your home. Old laddered tights make the perfect spider webs and you can use your old cardboard boxes to make spooky spiders. We love these DIY paper ghost decorations by Rhythms of Play and they are the perfect activity for children to take part in too.
If you're going to be wearing a costume this year then get creative and take a look inside your wardrobe! With a bit of imagination, the clothes you already own can probably be put together to create a fantastic costume. If you don't have all the pieces you want then consider borrowing some bits from friends and family. Another great option is looking for specific items second-hand from charity shops, bootfairs, second-hand online sales platforms like eBay or clothing swaps. It's also a good idea to keep your costumes and reuse them next year or whenever you next go to a fancy dress party. Try to avoid buying cheap, polyester costumes and plastic masks that are just going to end up in landfill. If the kids are going to go trick or treating, we suggest taking a reusable tote bag instead of a plastic novelty bucket. You could even decorate your own bag to make it match your costume perfectly!
If you can, it is best to only buy pumpkins that you are going to actually eat, at least partially. We also suggest trying to buy locally grown, organic pumpkins as this cuts down on the emission that come from importing food. Don't throw away the insides of your pumpkin! You can toast the seeds and keep them in an air-tight glass jar as a tasty snack. As for the flesh of the fruit, you can make pumpkin pie, muffins, soup - the list is endless! BBC Good Food has some fantastic pumpkin recipes here or try our pumpkin gnocchi recipe from last year. For any pumpkins that don't get eaten, make sure to compost them or dispose of them in a food waste bin. The process of growing, making, distributing, storing and cooking our food uses loads of energy, fuel and water and this process generates 30% of the world’s CO₂ greenhouse gas levels, so it is really important use and dispose of our food responsibly.