Treat Yourself to a Green Halloween!

With Halloween just around the corner, here are a few “tricks” to help you have a green Halloween!

Pumpkins

We love carving pumpkins for Halloween and this year we’ve been lucky to get ours from a local farm. Why not find out if there is a pumpkin patch near you? It is far better for the planet to buy locally sourced produce if available and it is also lots of fun choosing your own!

When carving your pumpkin, save as much as you can to eat. Pumpkin is great in soups and of course there’s always pumpkin pie. For more pumpkin recipes check out these ideas from A Sustainably Simple Life.

It’s also possible to roast pumpkin seeds with a little salt and oil (or cinnamon and sugar!) as a healthy snack. Last year I followed a recipe which said to boil them first – don’t bother, it was entirely unnecessary! If you don’t fancy eating pumpkin seeds yourself, birds love them and you can also turn your jack o lantern into a bird feeder, find out how here.

It’s estimated that around 8 million pumpkins are thrown away each year in the UK, creating 18,000 tonnes of food waste. So make sure you put any remaining pumpkin in the compost or food waste bin and not landfill.

Costumes

As Halloween only comes once a year, many shop-bought costumes will only get worn once. So, if at all possible, reuse what you already have. No one will remember that you wore it last year, plus it’ll probably be dark anyway!

Alternatively, why not up-cycle some old clothes? Two years ago, we had great fun creating zombie costumes out of old clothes which were already torn and stained. A wise friend of mine once told me that she based all fancy dress costumes (Halloween, World Book Day etc.) around school uniform. I’ve found this a very useful tip and am using it this year for the kids’ vampire costumes – basically school uniform with a black cape and maybe a bow tie! Bit of face paint and fake blood – bosh, done!

If you don’t have time to get creative, a quick dash around the charity shops this time of year is bound to turn up some second hand costumes or other things you could use. Or you could see if there’s a local costume swap in your area or simply ask friends if they’d like to swap.

Decorations

I love seeing pumpkins and other Halloween decorations outside houses at this time of year, but I do worry that more and more cheap plastic decorations will end up in landfill. Try to avoid the plastic tat by using natural materials. Cut cobwebs out of paper or weave them with string. Use old cardboard boxes to make gravestones. Up-cycle glass jars as lanterns. An old sheet can easily become a ghostly figure. You can even make cute bats out of toilet rolls!

If you haven’t got the time or inclination to make your own decorations, try to get some second hand ones rather than buying new – ask friends and family, search your local Freegle and Freecycle groups, or look in charity shops. If you do end up with plastic decorations, save them to reuse next year, rather than throw them away. Remember, There is No “Away”.

Treats

If you’re hosting a party or planning to welcome trick or treaters, why not offer some alternatives to plastic-wrapped sweets. Smarties now come in plastic-free cardboard tubes, or you could try foil-wrapped chocolates. For a completely waste free treat, use a black pen to draw a scary pumpkin face on satsumas and voila, mini jack o lanterns!

If your kids get treats from other people and you end up with a load of packaging, try to reuse or recycle as much of it as you can. You can get more info on where to recycle sweet and savoury snack wrappers in our Keep Calm and Carry On Recycling post.

Hopefully with these simple “tricks” you will have a spooktacular Halloween!

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