Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Halloween originates from Samhain, a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition, celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.” Nowadays there is not much left of the tradition celebrating nature's cycle. Halloween has become a scary (pun intended!) example of over consumption, throw away culture and ultra processed food.
Research by Environmental charity Hubbub estimated that 33 million people in the UK dressed up for Halloween in 2017. Four in 10 costumes were only worn once. Most of these costumes were made from oil based plastic materials, like polyester. The study predicted that the costumes will add up to 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste in the UK every year. Add other Halloween plastics such as party kits, decorations and food packaging and it soon becomes a throwaway celebration that horrifies our environment in the wrong kind of way.
So how can we enjoy a spooky Halloween? Here are our suggestions for a frighteningly fantastic, waste-free Halloween.
1. Dress yourself scary sustainable
Shop for second hand costumes or create your own from stuff you already have.
There are plenty of inspirations for cheap homemade costumes on Pinterest
Photo of my family's scary costumes last year all second hand and homemade.
2. Decorate using natural materials and upcycled craft.
Collect some beautiful autumn leaves when you go out next on a walk. Place them in between two pieces of cardboard with a weight on top. Dry for a week before painting them or iron in between to sheets of paper for a quick dry.
3. Replace (or supplement) sweets with popcorn or other healthy and low waste snacks.
My family and I make lots of sweet popcorn that we customise with cocoa powder and red or green food colouring to give them a gruesome look. Think bloody bones and mouldy popcorn.
You can place them in upcycled paper envelopes to give away.
Popcorn is a cheap and healthy option loved by both kids and grown ups. You can easily flavour them with a bit of sea salt, a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey and spices like cinnamon or even chilli powder.
Check out our video to see how easy and quick it is to make popcorn from scratch
4. Finally, if you are carving pumpkins, don't waste any of the flesh.
From pumpkin pies to delicious soups there are lots of recipes to use up pumpkin flesh and seeds. Did you know you can even make a pumpkin body scrub? Just combine the following ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil (almond, olive, or coconut work best)
1 – 2 teaspoons chai spices (or 1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Remember to compost the skin or use as a temporary biodegradable planter.