Halloween is almost here! A time for all things scary… like ghosts, creepy clowns, ghouls, and… TRASH! Yes, you read that right. In fact, the most terrifying thing about Halloween is the useless piles of waste that it generates worldwide.
Every year, around one million kilograms of pumpkins are farmed in the United States. Many are carved into jack-o-lanterns and then wind up in the trash rather than on the table. Authorities have warned that these decomposing pumpkins release methane, which significantly contributes to climate change. Similarly, according to 2020 research, half of the UK’s 24 million pumpkins carved for Halloween had ended up as food waste. Plus, 42% of study respondents had no idea that pumpkin flesh was edible. There’s more, with 70% of UK shoppers expecting to buy sweets, chocolates, and other delights, Halloween is now the UK’s third largest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter.
Starting from the massive food waste, shoddy single-use costumes, and plastic candy wrappers to mass-produced decoratives, Halloween is not only a nightmare to the environment but also to our wallets. Here’s your guide to how you can have a happy and Green Halloween in 2022.
1. Reuse or DIY your own costume
Find your old costume from last year. Adding a different accessory or face paint will make it new again! You can also DIY your own costume from thrift store fabrics or recycled finds around the house. Get creative!
2. Swap costumes with friends
Another super fun option is to arrange a Halloween costume swap with your friends. This is a great option if your old outfit doesn’t fit anymore, or if you just want to change things up this year!
3. Make your own homemade treats
Homemade treats are the best! Plus you get to spend a great time with family and friends baking cookies and cakes for Halloween! Then again, if making homemade treats is too time-consuming for you, you can do this instead…
4. Ethical alternatives to regular candies
You can look for sweet treats and candies with independent certifications like B-corp. Note that these certifications do not necessarily always mean they’re completely green. It’s completely okay if you still have to buy regular candies. Just remember that buying only what you need is not only better for the planet but also for the kids too!
5. DIY Decorations
Decorating for Halloween with family, friends, or even just by yourself is a great way to explore your creativity while also being a conscious planet lover. Just find random stuff around your house and go crazy with your ideas!
6. Buy local and seasonal produce
It’s best to buy your pumpkin from a local grower or a farmer’s market. If pumpkins aren’t in season for where you are(like the Southern hemisphere), you can carve out watermelons instead!
7. Make the best use of your pumpkin
Save the seeds and flesh to eat later. You can make pumpkin soup with the flesh and even muffins. Plus, you can also roast the seeds, it makes a pretty good snack! Compost the remains of the pumpkin if it’s past its best use after being on display for too long. Remember, you don’t have to throw away your Halloween pumpkins. You can actually use the Guts, Skin, Flesh, and Seeds to make some amazing dishes. Some examples include:
- Baking a pumpkin pie or a cake
- Making pumpkin cookies
- Making pumpkin soup with the flesh
- Making chips with the skin
- Making pumpkin gut muffins
- Baking a pumpkin bread
- Cooking a delicious pumpkin curry
- Roast the seeds as a crunchy snack
It’s okay if you still can’t eat your pumpkins, or they seem to be completely inedible. You can always just compost them instead!
8. Save your costume and decorations for next year
Now, this is pretty self-explanatory. Saving everything up will make it smooth and easy for you to set up your Halloween game for the next year. Even if you don’t want to repeat it next year, you can always swap with your friends, or even get crafty and DIY it into something completely new.
Remember, trying to be sustainable, should not take the fun out of the festival. All you have to do is be mindful of your small choices, and it would make a huge difference. Happy Green Halloween!