Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in America, loved by children and adults alike. By the time October rolls around, people are already planning their spooky costumes, selecting horror titles for a movie marathon or readying to carve the creepiest jack-o'-lantern in the neighborhood.
In fact, Americans spend an estimated $10 billion is spent on Halloween celebrations. But all this takes a heavy toll on the environment. Throwaway outfits or the plastics from sweets and candy wrappers take hundreds of years to degrade and contribute to the rising amount of microplastics which disrupt the ecosystem.
However, by being creative and mindful of how our actions affect the environment, we can celebrate Halloween and also keep our planet safe for future generations. Be it by thrifting costumes or making decorations out of recycled materials, we can ensure that the spookiest festival doesn’t exact a frightening toll on Mother Nature.
Why Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween?
With a festival around the corner, our spending habits tend to increase. In 2020, Americans spent an average of $92.12 on Halloween materials, while the prices of products go up year after year. Thus, an eco-friendly Halloween is not only good for the environment, but also lighter on the pocket, for the following reasons:
Around 7% of all candy sales happen during the Halloween time of year. Most of these treats come in plastic wrappers that are simply thrown into the garbage and forgotten about. But the plastic doesn’t forget—they take a notoriously long time to break down and continue to persist in the ecosystem. Nowadays, microplastics are everywhere, even in the human body, causing problems with the immune system.
Similarly, most Halloween costumes are single-use only. They are made of materials like polyester which aren’t good for the environment and burn a hole in the pocket. In fact, a staggering 83% of Halloween costumes are made from non-recyclable oil-based plastics.
Plenty of unused or half-used pumpkins are tossed off into the garbage. These gradually decompose, releasing methane into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
Due to the sheer amount of waste generated during this time, landfills are filled beyond their capacity. This makes the space extremely unsafe for workers and neighbors.
Climate change can be fueled by consumer cultures where we frequently rely on use-and-throw items and generate huge amounts of toxic waste from our daily activities. But by being conscious of our consumer habits, we can save money and Mother Nature, too!
10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Halloween
Following these simple pointers will go a long way in reducing waste during Halloween without compromising on the fun and merry-making.
1. Get Crafty with Spooky Décor
Most of us put away our cheap Halloween decorations in a box where they gather dust for the rest of the year or throw them away after using them once or twice. So, this year you can try something different and make your own eco friendly Halloween decorations with materials easily available in the house. Here are some ideas:
Old textiles such as bedsheets or torn curtains can be used to make ghosts
Stockings can be hung up as spider webs and socks with holes can be filled with cotton and turned into snakes
Get creative by using old newspapers/gift-wrapping paper to make spooky banners and posters
Reawaken your inner artist by using tissue paper and glue to make paper mâché monsters and the like
Even old cardboard boxes can be turned into treasure chests filled with gifts and candy
And if you’re in need of more eco friendly Halloween ideas simply go on Pinterest and get inspired!
2. Find a Spine-Chilling Costume at a Thrift Store
On a similar note, you don’t have to waste hundreds of dollars on the perfect Halloween costume. Whether you wish to dress up as a witch or Superman or your favorite fictional character, you can do so by stitching together an outfit from old clothes (such as a dress salvaged from a school play or costume party) or looking for unique fabrics at a thrift shop.
By shopping for Halloween secondhand, chances are that you’ll find something truly irresistible and one-of-a-kind and not contribute to further waste production.
3. Opt for Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Candy
For kids and teens and anyone out there with a sweet tooth, Halloween offers the perfect excuse to share and eat candy. In fact, as per a survey, 78% of American adults admit to stealing candy from their kids.
Perhaps this year you can turn on a new leaf and ditch the plastic-wrapped candy for some healthy alternatives such as fruits, homemade cookies, sugar-free pastries or even flavored energy bars.
If you’re intent on buying chocolate and sweets, you can pick eco friendly Halloween candy, specifically brands that ethically source their organic ingredients and use cardboard/paper wrapping.
4. Walk for Trick-Or-Treating Instead of Driving
Kids love going trick-or-treating door-to-door. But instead of driving them around the town, you can save fuel and promote healthy habits by walking them around the neighborhood.
Even better, you can motivate them to look up local superstitions and urban legends which is sure to make a leisurely walk down the neighborhood blocks spookier and more memorable than a trip to an expensive haunted house.
5. Pack Treats in Reusable Containers
Ditch the plastic packaging and put treats in reusable bags made out of cloth scraps or brown paper bags. You can even take an old pillow-case, paint skulls on it using fabric paints and add straps to turn it into an eye-catching bag where you can keep all your special Halloween treats.
In fact, organizing and planning such crafty activities is a great way to usher in the Halloween spirit.
6. Use Organic Make-up or Natural Face Paint
A gorgeous Halloween outfit is incomplete without some over-the-top makeup.
But whether you’re dressing up as the Phantom of the Opera or a Wednesday Adams with a severed hand on her shoulder, try to opt for organic make-up and natural face paint. These contain far less chemicals and won’t harm your skin.
7. Grow Your Own Pumpkins
No doubt Halloween festivities generate a lot of food waste—plenty of pumpkins go uneaten. Nevertheless, you can enjoy a green Halloween by growing your own pumpkins. If you have the space you can set up a small vegetable patch or herb garden, and if not, you can save a pumpkin seed and try to grow a small pumpkin in a container.
Moreover, once you’re done carving pumpkins into jack o lanterns, don’t throw the innards away. You can use them in a pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup or even a pumpkin-spiced latte.
8. Compost or Recycle
Since waste materials are either bio-degradable or not, use the former in composting and reuse/recycle the latter. Adopting this simple philosophy for any festival or event will really do wonders for your life.
Composting can be used as manure for your garden. A habit of recycling will minimize waste and lead to fewer expenses in the long-run.
9. Donate Old Costumes and Accessories
Don’t waste Halloween costumes. If you’re tired of your previous-years outfits and décor and can’t find a single way to spruce them up, don’t throw them into the trash.
Instead, donate such items to a thrift shop or to charity. Alternatively, you can call your friends and neighbors over, and do a costume swap. Perhaps an outfit that you’re no longer fond of might end up being a perfect fit for your best friend.
10. Avoid Plastic as Much as You Can
Finally, the key to an eco-friendly Halloween is to minimize the use of plastics as much as possible. If you’re throwing a Halloween party, serve food and drinks in reusable plates and containers. This cuts down on the use of disposable plastic ones.
You Can Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween With Effort
Environmental sustainability is extremely important around Halloween time. Climate change concerns aren’t going to disappear overnight. Unless we take responsibility for our actions, our planet may soon become inhospitable and inhabitable.
By opting for ethical consumption whenever possible, we can conserve the planet and its resources for a little while longer.
Discount Dumpster Believes in Eco-Friendly Initiatives
We also believe in helping our readers and clients take on eco-friendly initiatives to help cut back on needless waste. Green waste management practices are important and we encourage others to do their part. If you have any environmental efforts in your area that could use our help, give us a call!
Whether you’re going trick or treating with friends or hosting a scary party, don’t forget to adopt these eco-friendly practices to ensure a fun and green Halloween!
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