As much as I adore Halloween with every fibre of my being, it is a big environmental hazard. With so much cheap, over-processed single-use items plaguing the season, I’d say it’s just as bad as Valentine’s Day for the environment. The only reason it’s probably just behind Christmas is because we don’t gift people things they don’t need, in non-recyclable wrapping paper. Here’s my tips for an eco-friendly Halloween:
Halloween is probably the biggest night for single-use costumes. I love good Halloween costumes as much as the next person, but buying an outfit and wearing it for a few hours once is not sustainable. The environmental impact that goes into making just one outfit is huge, so at least get the wear from your wardrobe!
I’m not saying you can’t dress up. I start thinking about my costume very early in the year, I’m just suggesting to be more considerate with it. Most single-use Halloween costumes are so cheap and flimsy they don’t even look that good!
I always try to use things I already own as part of my Halloween costume, for example, when I was Veronica from Heathers I didn’t need to buy a single thing because all the clothes were either mine or my sisters! For other costumes I bought accessories to accompany things I already own, like buying the wig and bullet belt for Black Widow, and the wig, gloves, feather boa, and cigarette holder for Cruella. When I buy new things I always get something I feel can be used for another costume down the line or I’ll actually wear again. Last year I was Esmerelda, and only had to buy the corset and skirt, which I would actually wear in my day to day life. This year, I only bought secondhand; I got the red blazer on Depop, and I’ll pick up a sword in a charity shop. Everything else was something I already owned, the shirt for Elizabeth and Esmerelda are the same!
Unfortunately most wrappers from sweets aren’t recyclable, if you stop and look at the waste that washes up on the beach, a lot of the single-use plastic is decades old. Halloween candy is no different, if anything the fact that these companies make new packaging for Halloween is a big waste of plastic.
I’m not saying the solution is to hand out loose fruit, because the kids will throw it back at your house. I think the solution is to track down sweets in sustainable packaging – which is few and far between right now. Chocolate brands like Seed & Bean have biodegradable packing, and the bonus of no palm-oil, that you could make chocolate covered apples with!
At the very least, if we can’t get to zero-waste or plastic free, then avoid palm oil.
I love seeing Halloween stuff in stores, and usually buy at least one thing a year, but I only buy good quality things I love and actually keep them out all year. A lot of decorations are low quality and won’t make it until the next Halloween. Get things you can reuse the next year.
The most important decoration after all is the pumpkin, which is already biodegradable.
Better again, DIY some decorations, Pinterest is a goldmine for these kinds of projects.