With every major holiday comes so many chances to lessen your waste, and this October is the perfect time to think about pursuing a more sustainable Halloween! Starting as soon as September 1st, the “spooky season” consumerism is pushed by marketing teams. Here are just a few eco-related things to consider while encountering this influx of Halloween-themed agendas.
Jack ‘O Lanterns
Everyone, young and old, knows the joys of carving the pumpkin they’ve picked straight from the pumpkin patch. It’s a great Halloween party idea, and relatively eco-friendly, depending on how you dispose of the pumpkins in question. A common myth is that these holiday pumpkins aren’t edible! You can actually roast pumpkin seeds of jack 'o lanterns, and use any decorative pumpkins to make pies. For old jack ‘o lanterns, the best thing to do would be to compost them or make some wildlife treats.
About 7 million Halloween costumes are thrown out annually in the UK alone, and though little research has been done on this subject, one can only imagine the numbers in America. One of the best things to do when it comes to Halloween costumes other than making your own, is to purchase them secondhand. Many thrift stores will have displays highlighting costumes specifically at Halloween, so keep an eye out for them!
Another “green” option when it comes to costume hunting near the holidays is to do costume-swaps with friends and family. This way old costumes don’t get thrown away or forgotten in a secondhand shop! It also allows your kids some fun and creativity while playing dress up.
I feel that Halloween décor is one of the easier sustainable swaps to make. Most secondhand stores (or even your in-law’s storage) will have beaucoups of spooky decorations. These are also things that are easily reused. Instead of purchasing new, disposable ornaments to scatter around the yard, check Facebook Marketplace for a secondhand option. Then, if you don’t want to keep the same theme for next year, re-sell it! Another great option is to do a Halloween décor swap with neighbors or friends, just like you could do with costumes.
As always, if the options above aren’t available to you, always try to purchase the most biodegradable/reusable options! Instead of plastic disposable cups, try to get paper cups. Rather than using piles of Halloween napkins, purchase orange reusable napkins that would suit an autumn-décor theme until the end of November.
Candy is the driving force behind the magic of Halloween! Along with this candy comes about 40 million pounds of trash, one pound per trick-or-treater. I think the best way to combat this is by changing what candy you give away at your door. In general, opting for candy that is packaged in cardboard or foil is always the better option, since these materials are biodegradable and recyclable.
If you want to support some sustainable candy companies, you can check out the Natural Candy Store that has a variety of candies from different brands that are all-natural and fair trade certified. Also Yum Earth, an organic candy brand!
And obviously, we’re not saying to ask your kids to forgo their night out (or their candy)! Even if the previous sustainable suggestions don't happen, everything can be a learning experience. For example, the time post trick or treating can be used to teach your kids to properly dispose of their candy wrappers, using facilities like CRDC Global here in York, PA.
Whatever you end up doing this October 31st, make sure to enjoy it, and remember that the small actions harbor the greatest results! Sometimes the best memories are made by doing the small things together – like putting together a costume, putting up well-loved decorations, or creating a pie out of pumpkins you picked as a family. We’re wishing you a happy green Halloween here from Refillism!
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