We have come to embrace the Halloween spirit, going all-out on our costumes, hosting themed parties and trick or treating. But while it is one of the most fun celebrations of the year, it can also be one of the most wasteful. We can amass tons of junk from throwaway outfits, single-use plastics, and not to mention all those discarded sweet wrappers in just a night.
Fortunately, there are ways to make Halloween celebrations more sustainable. We are sharing these tips with you as we wish you to become part of the collective action of being kinder to the planet. As we all know, the climate crisis is real, so every effort, even if it seems insignificant, can make a difference.
How can you have an eco-friendly yet fun and spooky Halloween? Read on to find out!
Tip 1: Pick locally grown pumpkins.
Halloween is not complete without a pumpkin. For a lower carbon footprint, look for those grown closer to home. Farmers' markets and local farm shops are good places to start. Of course, you can also visit a pumpkin patch and take your pick.
If you wish to maximize the use of your pumpkin, don't be fooled by supermarkets advertising their pumpkins as 'carving pumpkins.' Don't let the pumpkin flesh go to waste. Instead, scoop out the inside, then use it in the kitchen. Don't dump it in the bin and use it to make soup, vegetable curry or pumpkin pie instead. The options are endless. As for the seeds, you can air-dry on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for snacks or salad topping. Storing them to grow pumpkins for next year is also an option.
Tip 2: Make your treats or buy ethically made ones.
Use locally sourced ingredients to make spooky Halloween treats. Not only will you cut your carbon footprint, but you will also reduce the amount of packaging and wrappers to throw away or recycle. On top of that, making treats is a fun way to spend time with your kids.
If you choose to buy treats, get locally made ones and look for those made from natural ingredients. The options for fair-trade and ethical chocolate are practically limitless. Though it may seem more expensive, you can be sure that no one was hurt in the process of making it. Check out THE GOOD GUIDE CHOCOLATE GUIDE, World Vision's guide to ethical chocolate. When shopping, look for third-party certifications like Fair Trade Canada, Fair For Life, Fair Trade USA, and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Tip 3: Decorate for the long term.
Rather than cheap plastic decorations you will throw out after Halloween, invest in ones you will use for years to come. You can even make ones out of recyclable materials using one of the many guides on the Internet. With a simple search of Halloween decorations, you can have several ideas on how to spruce up your home for your upcoming party. Repurpose things and involve children at home to get crafty.
Tip 4: Swap plastic buckets for something durable.
Instead of the classic plastic pumpkin bucket, use an old pillowcase or t-shirt or a canvas tote bag for trick or treating. Store-bought buckets won't pass the test of time. They will end up in a landfill or the ocean.
Tip 5: Plan your party.
Think green when throwing a party. Skip disposable cups, plates and cutlery and go for biodegradable options. You can also get a different set of dishes and glasses to use from a charity shop if you don't want to show off your most delicate china.
Also, turn your thermostat down by a degree while the party is on. Naturally, it will be warmer in the house with more people in it.
Tip 6: Be smart when picking your costume.
For a sustainable choice when it comes to costumes, always buy less. As a rule of thumb, try to reuse and recycle. In addition, making your costume is more fun than buying ready-made ones.
Here are ways to make your Halloween costume eco-friendly:
- DIY - Always look inside your wardrobe to see what you have that you can use.
- Vintage/Thrift/Consignment - A local thrift shop is an excellent source of unique clothing and accessories. There is also the thrill of searching for pieces that work together.
- Swap or Trade - Gather your friends to swap or trade last year's costumes.
- Buy Ethically - Choose progressive brands.
Lastly, don't forget to be respectful when choosing costumes. Avoid outfits that are not culturally appropriate or offensive to marginalized groups.
Tip 7: Choose organic and cruelty-free beauty products.
Opt for certified green beauty products and biodegradable glitter when looking for Halloween makeup.
Keep in mind that Halloween is just one night of fun. So if you will buy items, make sure you will keep wearing or using them throughout the year. Be a conscious consumer and see how your little actions impact the Earth.