A Sustainable Guide to Halloween
Whether you love it or hate it, Halloween is a time of year that gets everyone talking. From children choosing their witches’ hats to grandparents locking the doors and hiding in the dark; Halloween is not a holiday you can hide from. Personally, I love Halloween, and always have lots of fun creating the most bizarre and wonderful characters and costumes I can but the horror this holiday does to our planet is scary.
In the UK alone, over 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are sent to landfill each and every year which is the same amount as 1500 double decker buses! That is a terrifying amount of waste! And if that’s not scary enough, 12,500 tonnes of Halloween costumes also get chucked away into landfill without a second thought. Surely there must be a more environmentally friendly way to celebrate this holiday, which is why I’ve created a Sustainable Guide to Halloween to share tips and inspire creative ways to have a greener Halloween.
The Jack O’Lantern
There is no denying the simple pleasure of hacking away at your pumpkin to make a masterpiece, to shine and scare trick or treaters in all its gory. It almost becomes a competition of who can gut the pumpkin the quickest! But what should we do with all of its insides?
There are lots of recipes to try out – all of which stop us contributing to the already enormous 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste. Whether you try your hand at a traditional soup, a fruity cake, or even the classic pumpkin pie, there are so many ways you can enjoy your pumpkin! Take a look at BBC Good Food for an awesome collection of pumpkin recipes – the pumpkin pancakes sure have me curious!
The Pumpkin Graveyard
One of the most frightening facts about Halloween is just how much pumpkin waste goes to landfill – an estimated 5 million pumpkins each year in the UK. When there are so many environmentally friendly alternatives there’s really no reason to throw out your pumpkin.
Compost your pumpkin
When pumpkins go into landfill, they take a very long time to breakdown, instead why not try composting your carved pumpkin in the garden. And if you don’t have a compost bin at home, check your local councils’ website for your closest composting site.
Recycle your pumpkin
Some parts of the UK are lucky enough to have food waste bins – this is an easy way to recycle your pumpkin, just pop it in there (making sure you’ve removed any tea lights or candles) and it will be whisked away with your weekly collection.
Let the Squirrels play
Personally, this is my favourite idea, the picture speaks for itself! Another great way to stop your Jack O’Lantern making its way to the pumpkin graveyard is to leave it out to feed the wildlife – you could even make it into a Pumpkin Feeder! Recycling your pumpkin doesn’t have to be boring!
Trick or Treat
It’s time to say goodbye to the traditional individually wrapped Halloween candy in plastic; save your ‘Tricks’ for the trick or treaters, not for the environment. There are plenty of other treats you can make without harming the environment – think brownie bites, flapjack snacks and cookie crunches!
If you need some more inspiration, country living is a great place to start with these ghost popcorn balls!
If you don’t have time to make or bake, you can still buy from the supermarket, just try to shop more consciously and look out for treats that come in paper bags, or maybe even try a pick-a-mix option.
Costumes and decorations are also fall victim to the landfill of horror. There really is no reason for 12,500 tonnes of Halloween costumes to end up in the bin. So again, what do you do with it when the spooking’s over?
The first suggestion has got to be don’t buy it in the first place. Halloween costumes are just another form of fast fashion in disguise. Set yourself a challenge with a few friends to create costumes from only what you already have hidden in the depths of your wardrobe, or scout out second-hand clothes stores and charity shops. This is a great time to get creative and discover your hidden talents! **A black skirt unpicked down the seam makes for a fabulous cape!**
If you do buy a Halloween costume, reuse or recycle, don’t just throw it away. Make the effort to drop it off to a local charity shop – I’m sure someone else will appreciate it next Halloween. If you have kids why not keep a fancy-dress box – stocked up for any occasion. You never know when that old Dracula cape from last year will perfect to transform into the hero that is the Mask of Zorro.
Moving on to decorations; have you seen how beautiful squash can be? They make a perfect alternative to a plastic Jack O’Lantern. If you can’t help yourself from buying all the spooky décor this Halloween, maybe it’s time to invest. Buy better quality decorations that can be reused year after year – store them with your Christmas tree decorations, after all it won’t be long until you get those out too!
Blood thirsty make – up
One of my favourite parts of Halloween is the creative make-up, I love being able to do crazy transformations you can’t get away with any other time of the year. Whether you make yourself into a wicked witch, a decomposing zombie or take inspiration from the Day of the Dead festival, you can have so much fun doing so. Be mindful of the type of face paint, make-up and hair colourants you buy to achieve these looks though - if you can go plastic free, that’s fantastic, but think about the animals too and make sure to shop cruelty free.
On that note, who else has woken up having ‘forgotten’ to remove their Halloween mask of make-up from the night before? Trust me, this look is scarier than Halloween itself! But have no fear, at Naked Pinecone we stock a fantastic natural and vegan cleanser to help you remove all of this – kind to your skin, kind to the environment – and kinder to everyone else that has to see you the next day!
Finally make the most of nature and the last of autumn with Halloween. Many outdoor parks and National Trust properties offer pumpkin trails to keep you busy and enjoying the outdoors. Hopefully spending time outdoors surrounded by nature will give you the push you need for a greener Halloween.
Please share any ideas you have to create a more sustainable Halloween with us, we’d love to hear from you!