We understand that it can be pretty tricky to be mindful during the holidays, considering that a lot of waste is generated. While it is great to think about having a sustainable and eco-friendly Halloween, it can be overwhelming to make decisions and sustainable choices.
Aiming to be sustainable during the holidays has a lot of environmental benefits. Every year, during Halloween, lots of waste is generated in every household. Considering that many candy bars are given to children and kids, along with adults, dressed up in Halloween costumes, it is not surprising that Halloween generates a lot of waste.
Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly tips that you can follow for Halloween that can help you lower your environmental impact and achieve a zero-waste Halloween.
With carbon emissions increasing day by day, we must reduce our carbon footprints, even during the holidays. We must make more and more minor changes to better the planet.
The most significant carbon footprint you can generate is choosing low-quality, fast-fashion costumes produced in large numbers every year. Not only are they wasteful, but they are also made from unsustainable materials and fabrics like polyester and regular cotton that require gallons of water for production.
These costumes are so cheaply made and are such low quality that they start to wear out after just a few uses. While all this might seem spooky, there are ways in which you can have a great Halloween costume while also making meaningful choices.
- Rent your costume: Many stores have a selection of exclusive and good-quality costumes that you can rent, unlike the fast fashion choices when buying a costume. You can also check out some thrift stores and vintage shops to find hidden gems and accessories that can go well with the costume you have decided.
- DIY your costume: Why buy a costume when you can save some money and resources by repurposing what you already have? There are many ideas for a spooky yet straightforward costume that you can create. You can wear some old bedsheets, or pair your clothes that resemble a character.
- Borrow or swap your costumes: Suppose you already have costumes from last Halloween; you can either swap or borrow them from your close friends. Instead of wasting money, repurposing a costume is a great way to have a unique costume, and you won’t be stuck with it.
- Donate your costume: If you already have a costume you no longer want, the best thing you can do to get rid of it is to either donate it to a thrift store or give it away to a family member. This helps you get rid of the unwanted burden and creates more use for the costume.
Decorations make any celebration or festival come to life, but it also means lots of waste! Instead of buying cheap plastic decorations, why not let your creativity flow and make the best of what you already have?
- Buy a pumpkin from a local grower: This helps the local farmers have a better livelihood, and you get access to some of the best quality pumpkins. Carve the pumpkins to make a classic Jack O’Lantern. After using the pumpkin, don’t forget to take out the seeds and use them for future use. In case pumpkins are not grown locally in your area, why not use other local fruits like watermelon
- Create your decorations: YouTube has many creative, easy-to-make decoration ideas that you can try with readily available items. You can use items like a cupboard and shape it to make skeletons and other figures, create ghosts from old sheets. You can also use handprints over windows, for example. It is all about getting creative and designing your version of Halloween.
- Buy reusable/biodegradable decor: In case you don’t have enough time and decide to buy decorative items, make sure that they are of good quality so that you can reuse them every year. While buying candles, make sure that they are either soy or beeswax-based and not paraffin-based.
- Go secondhand: If you don’t find the items you need that are good quality, you can check thrift stores or vintage shops that keep some of the best spooky pieces. It is common to find old items and artifacts that you can use as decorations and are great value for money!
While treats make the holidays unique, note that some of the most prominent players in this industry contribute to deforestation due to the growing demand for palm oil, cocoa beans, and other ingredients.
These companies also source cocoa from Ghana, which is known to use exploitation and child labor to grow cocoa. A large amount of energy and resources are used to manufacture, pack and export these candies - which honestly doesn’t sound like such a tasty treat to us.
- Make some sweet treats yourself: Get your baking cap on and start stirring some sweet candies, cookies and lollies yourself. It is a great way to learn and enjoy the holidays even more. You can get creative by carving them artistically and decorating them as well. YouTube is a great resource for this.
- Buy from ethical and local brands: In case you find making treats time-consuming and not your cup of tea, many ethical brands produce treats and chocolates locally. Look out for companies with certifications for ethics and fair trade. Also, limit the number of chocolates you give to kids; it is good for them and the environment.
- Give your treats a healthy twist: You can also carve out some delicious fruits and top them with chocolate and nuts. They are not only colorful but also delicious and healthy! You can also add some roasted seeds and nuts by the side.
Other things that you can consider: Guide to sustainable and eco-friendly Halloween
- Use toxin-free face paints: Face paints are one of the most purchased items during Halloween; it is easier for anyone to buy store-bought face paints that are easily accessible. These face paints are made from toxic chemicals that can harm yourself and the environment once it is washed off.
- Avoid using plastic buckets: Plastic pumpkins are usually cheap, which also means they are not very durable. There are eco-friendly options like tote bags and pillowcases that can carry treats.
- LED/ Solar Powered Lights: LED light bulbs are more efficient and effective than other light decor.
- If you're carving a pumpkin to put in front of or inside your house, keep the insides! Remember that pumpkins are edible; therefore, throwing away perfectly good food makes no sense.
You may either roast the pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack or save them and use them to grow pumpkins next season!
If you don't like pumpkin, there are other zero-waste alternatives, such as composting or giving it to your hens if you have some. Finally, look for an organic pumpkin at your local farm!
As you can see, there are many things you can do to have an eco-friendly and zero waste Halloween. If you're planning on trick-or-treating, another alternative is to skip it and discover some other idea to spend Halloween with your friends or family.
Visit a public Halloween event, enjoy horror-themed plays, or take a frightening twilight hike through the forest or through a conservation area (carry a lantern!). It may be an opportunity for a more sociable, pleasant, and waste-free celebration!