Whilst the Americans are undoubtedly the most renowned for their extravagant Halloween celebrations, Brits despite their more understated approach, still spend millions every year on pumpkins, decorations and dressing up.
However, one night a year of Halloween fun takes a spine-chilling environmental toll. Last year, for every five Halloween outfits worn, two were thrown away, contributing to a total of 7 million items of clothing sent to UK landfill.
Our CEO, Maria Chenoweth, previously argued the impacts are so bad we should ghost Halloween altogether, but if you’re set on celebrating the spooky season, here’s how you can reduce the horrors of Halloween-related waste.
1. Shop Secondhand
We might be biased but our first recommendation is to find a secondhand costume – TRAID shops are the obvious go to if you’re based in London, and don’t forget we’re online on eBay and Depop. Plan ahead so you don’t have to buy a single use costume at last minute.
2. Borrow or Swap
Whilst two out of five Halloween outfits are thrown into landfill every year, three out of five are left most probably neglected at the back of a friend or family’s wardrobe. This year, save money and reduce waste by organising a Halloween-themed clothes swap.
3. Make Your Own!
Start the fun early this Halloween, plan a group outfit and arrange a craft day, of course using secondhand items where possible. Group Halloween outfits can be made extra fun by designing outfits before the day using some good old imagination and what you already have around the house. If you have a sewing expert in your group, even better! As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once said -“When there is no imagination there is no horror!”
4. Get Crafty with Decorations
On the subject of making your own, crafting your own decorations definitely adds to the Halloween fun. Think graves made from salvaged cardboard and bat bunting made of coloured cereal boxes or fabric scraps. However, when in a pinch or if you need that extra hair-raising pizzazz, make sure to buy decorations that are built to last or even better, that can be repurposed after. For example, glass lanterns and candles. Don’t forget to check out your local secondhand shop to see what they have to offer!
5. Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Pie, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Last year it was estimated that 14.5 million uneaten pumpkins are binned yearly following the October celebration. However, the too often discarded pumpkin seeds and flesh, can make excellent ingredients for plenty of tasty treats. This year, double the pumpkin-carving fun by making a warm pumpkin soup or bake some Halloween treats, pumpkin pie or cupcakes. As well as being a great snack, pumpkin seeds can be planted, so that you can grow your very own pumpkin for next year!
Finally, in November, remember to put your Jack-o’-Lanterns in the compost bin, so they can be used to help next year’s pumpkins grow.
Don’t forget at the end of all the Hocus Pocus of this year’s Halloween, re-use, choose secondhand, swap and donate!