With our awareness of the need to reduce waste now growing and trying to find ways to be more eco-friendly, it is about time that we also turn this idea to those big times of year where we are all guilty of creating the most waste and using the most single-use items. Now, I don’t want the fun to be limited, that isn’t the point of this post. What I want to do is highlight where changes can be easily made and with Halloween just around the corner now is the time to get our thinking caps on to work out exactly how we can be more eco-friendly.
Here are my tips on how to be more eco-friendly this Halloween
Thankfully, this is one area that has already become far better for the environment as most people choose to buy their pumpkins from a pick your own farm rather than from a supermarket. This means that you know for sure what you are getting has been grown right there in your own country and that it hasn’t been imported. But, do some of us go a bit overboard with how many we buy and how much we throw away? I know I have been very guilty of this in the past. Halloween is my favourite time of year and pumpkin carving has become an activity that we love doing in our household… but what about all that pumpkin goodness that goes to waste through this activity?
This year, why not think about how many pumpkins you really need and why not do some research into how you can use the pumpkin for a nice autumnal meal, snack or even drink?
Some recipes I have come across include:
- Pumpkin Spice Loaf Cake
- Pumpkin Flapjacks
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup (can make from Pumpkins)
- Pumpkin Dip
- Thai Pumpkin Curry
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk Latte
- Couscous and Pumpkin filled Peppers
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
When it comes to discarding your pumpkins, the wheelie bin isn’t the best option. Did you know that back in 2015 it was reported that the UK send 7.1 million tonnes of food waste to landfill each year?!! That is shocking. Not only because of the fact that a lot of it was probably still ok to eat (sell-by dates are a big problem here) but also because the methane released as this food breaks down contributes to our climate change problem. In 2018, The Guardian reported that an estimated 8 million pumpkins would go to landfill that year… 8 million! So what are your other options? If you have a home compost bin, your pumpkin can go straight into that, otherwise, you could go into the woods and leave your carved pumpkins for some of the wildlife to eat – leave them higher up in trees for the deer to enjoy and not on the ground as Hedgehogs can become very unwell from them. And don’t forget to save your pumpkin seeds to grow your own for the following year!
Costumes. They seem to get more and more elaborate each year and also a lot more pricey! But what a waste. The fashion industry is a HUGE contributor to water and air pollution as well as creating a massive carbon footprint which is why we all need to be looking at other options. The first thing you could think about doing is just checking to see if last year’s costume still fits. If not, can you perhaps adapt that one for this year by getting a little handy with the sewing machine?
If that isn’t an option, why not try making one from scratch? There will be thousands of ideas on Pinterest and I promise they won’t all be hard. It’s amazing what you can do with an old cardboard box!
Or why not rent a costume from a fancy dress shop?
And lastly, check out the second-hand shops. They usually have whole window displays with Halloween fancy dress so hop in and see if you can find something suitable.
Decorations are usually made out of plastic which is fine as long as they will last you for years to come. Choose decorations that are well made, that look and feel durable and ones that could be used time and time again. Anything that is flimsy, that is just for that one year, that won’t last being left out in the wet or cold just steer clear of.
With the awareness of plastic waste being in the spotlight at the moment, you may actually find that there are far more eco-friendly Halloween ideas out there on the market. Products may be made from recycled materials, made from cloth rather than plastic, built to last and so on. Take some time to do a little research and see what options are available to you.
If you like to be crafty you could make paper lanterns, paper spiders, have your children draw large ghosts onto paper to go up on the walls, make bloody handprints using red paint on an old bedsheet… think about what you already have around you and how you could utilise that rather than buying new. Being eco-friendly this Halloween could be even more fun for both you and the kids.
Trick or Treat Buckets
If you already have a plastic bucket, keep it, take care of it and store it away safely year after year. Single-use plastic is our enemy, not plastic that will last us.
If you don’t have anything yet, there are material buckets available in shops usually made from felt, cotton or even wool, which should last you a long time.
If somebody is very crafty in your household, perhaps they could make your child a non-plastic bucket?
Another option is to take out an empty pillowcase. Not only would it look good as a ghost or zombie sack, it will also hold a huge amount of goodies!!
Oh, the sweets, oh, the plastic, oh the waste… Yep, unfortunately, those sweety wrappers will hang around looooong after the sweets will (a few hundred years I should imagine!) So, what is the answer? Now this one is tricky (pun there!) Because if you bake something, you may come across issues with allergies or intolerances. Parents may not like items that aren’t wrapped up. Children may get upset if they don’t get their sweets.
What I am thinking, is that a choice of things may be the way to go (and don’t shoot me because I know we don’t all have the time to be this organised at such a busy time of year!) If (big if) you do have the time to bake, why not make something out of that pumpkin flesh to hand out? Maybe make a few plain flapjacks and wrap them individually in a piece of cloth? Or you could make ghostly shaped biscuits, Halloween style cupcakes or perhaps even your own candy?
The kids may not be too pleased but how about fruit?… Sorry, I know it isn’t much fun.
If you do want to give out sweets, then pick ones with the least amount of waste where possible. It isn’t the easiest swap especially as how the UK has now grabbed onto the trick or treat idea with both hands.
As with all parties, we all now need to move away from those disposable items such as plastic cutlery, paper or plastic plates, cups and straws. Why should we throw all of these items away after a 2 hour party year after year? I mean it’s not only the extra waste it’s also our wallets that we are impacting on. Instead, invest in reusable products, such as bamboo straws, that you can whip out at every Halloween party for the foreseeable future. You will be saving money in the long run and you will also always be organised– no mad dash to the shops to get supplies! As well as far more eco-friendly.
Did you know that you can also hire everything you need for a party from The Party Kit Network? You simply hire a pack which can include all of your plates, cutlery, cups, decorations and more. Meaning that you can relax in knowing that your party will be eco-friendly.
And don’t forget your table cloths. Look for ones that are made from cotton and can be washed rather than a single-use plastic or paper one.
As for decorations, see above.
Be Eco Considerate
When out and about just be considerate of any mess you may be trailing behind you. Children are often eager to open their sweets straight away and wrappers can easily get lost or blown away especially in the dark. Take out a rubbish bag with you and take your rubbish home. If you see somebody’s decorations blowing away, go and grab them and let the homeowner know. If you see people throwing toilet rolls etc everywhere, maybe (if it’s safe!) make them aware that their actions have an impact on the environment. We all have responsibility.
I hope you all have a fantastically spooky Halloween and a more eco-friendly one too!!
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