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How to be ghoulishly good this Halloween

As an introvert, the idea of dressing up and knocking on strangers doors asking for free food never really appealed to me as a child. The one year I did dress up in a 'mum-made' Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer costume, I didn’t even I make it to the 'trick-or-treating'.


Now as an adult, and particularly since moving to the UK, where Halloween is celebrated a lot more than back home in Australia, it’s the thought of expensive, single-use costumes, and the plastic and food-waste, that doesn't interest (rather bothers) me.


If your love of Halloween clashes with your values, don’t despair. You can still enjoy yourself while being kind to the environment, and your wallet. I have compiled a list of some easy switches we can all adopt that will make a real difference this Halloween.


Costumes

Halloween costumes can be quite pricey, and if the thought of spending £40 pounds on what is often a 'single use outfit' doesn't sit well with you, why not try one of the following:

  • DIY: Fight the urge to buy a new costume, and instead try making your own. There are plenty of sewing patterns out there themed for Halloween. You could even try rummaging through your local op shop for the fabric. Maybe sewing isn't your thing, but don't let that stop you. You don't have to look far. Start by looking around your house. A fail safe idea is a ghost made from a white sheet, wrapping yourself up as a mummy using bandages from your medical cupboard or box, or using curtains or sheets to easily make witch and wizards cloaks. Again, you could also try upcycling from your local charity shop. Look out for evening dresses that can be embellished, or shirts and trousers that can be torn or cut-up, and keep an eye out for autumnal colours and black velvet. A simple search on Google, YouTube or Pinterest will return a number of great ideas.

  • Rewear: Why not bring an old costume back from the dead. We need to distance ourselves from the stigma of wearing the same outfit more than once, and this should include costumes.

  • Swap: What about simply swapping costumes with family or friends, or through a organised group, like on Facebook.

  • Rent: If time just isn't on your side, resist the last minute impulse buy. There may still be time to get that killer costume. Think about renting one and returning it as soon as you are finished, putting it back into circulation for someone else to wear.


N.B. If you find yourself with unwanted costumes, don't just throw them out. You can donate them to your local charity shop or school, or give selling them online a go.


Plastic. Plastic. Plastic.

Pesky plastic has made it's way into everything when it comes to Halloween, from

the costumes and their accessories (e.g. wigs, masks, etc.), the party decorations, to the lolly (or candy/sweet) wrappers, and don't get me started on darn glitter.

  • When it comes to those Halloween costumes, a 2019 investigation by Hubbub and the Fairyland Trust revealed that from 19 supermarkets and retailers, 83% of the material used was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfill with the most common plastic polymer being polyester. Therefore, trying some of those swaps I mentioned previously will not only save you money, but will help you cut back on plastic also.

  • For those of you throwing a Halloween bash, opt for recyclable and reusable when it comes to decorations, cups, utensils, plates etc. Look to nature for decoration ideas, like confetti made from hole punching leaves (Autumn is the perfect time of year for decorating). A search on Pinterest will return some excellent ideas.

  • When it comes to 'trick-or-treating', why not make your own Halloween treats, or just try avoiding individually wrapped lollies and chocolates. Also, swap the plastic bucket for a basket, or reusable tote.

  • And to solve that glitter problem, look out for biodegradable glitter, made from plants (check out EcoStardust). This way you will not be contributing to micro-plastic pollution.


Pumpkins

You might not have given much thought to pumpkin waste. But the act of using pumpkins as simply decorations to line our front steps, or to carve designs into them, means that most, if not all of the pumpkin is likely to end up being put out with the rubbish. In fact, up to a staggering 18,000 tons will be thrown out by the end of the big day in the UK.

But there are some great things we can do to ensure we use up as much of the pumpkin as possible. Besides searching the web for the abundant recipes that are out there, why not think about;

  • Cooking the pumpkin seeds to create a snack,

  • Creating a pumpkin infused vegetable stock,

  • Storing the innards in the freezer, and using when your are ready,

  • Planting your pumpkin seeds and reaping the benefits next Halloween!

  • Composting your leftovers.

What are you up to this Halloween? I think my night will be spent in front of the telly with a good ol’ scary movie (or re-runs of Buffy), and some home baked treats.


What tips do you have to make Halloween more sustainable, and better for the environment?


Leave me a comment or let me know via my 'Contact' page


*This article was originally published on the 27 October, 2019.

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