Halloween fact: In the UK alone, approximately AUD$949 million are spent on Halloween costumes every year, most of which are worn once and then end up in landfill. Around 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are thrown away in the UK every year as well, never making it to people’s kitchen tables.
Halloween, also known as All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed on the 31st of October in several countries around the world. Evolving from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, over the centuries this event has transitioned from a pagan ritual to a day of extravagant costumes, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, parties and trick-or-treating for both children and adults.
This event is widely celebrated in North America, but with Halloween fast approaching, it has become more and more evident just how popular it is in Australia now. If you look around all the supermarkets and department stores, you will see ghoulish decorations, large orange pumpkins stacked up, spooky costumes, and lollies of all varieties branded with a Halloween theme.
As fun as Halloween can be, the downside is the frightful amount of waste that is produced by the millions of people who celebrate it around the world. With huge amounts of plastic packaging for all the lollies, single-use plastic trick toys, synthetic costumes and wigs used only once, and endless amounts of low-quality plastic decorations, the waste left over can leave you feeling as deflated as last years’ spooky ghost balloons. However, there is still hope! As with any holiday celebration, Halloween can be the perfect opportunity to go green without sacrificing any of the festive fun!
With a bit of the DIY spirit and the Halloween staples – sweet treats, a costume, and trick-or-treating – you can have a low waste event and still get in to the spooky spirit. Here are some tips:
1. Carry reusable bags. You can even make your own from old tshirts!
2. Reuse costumes. Renting costumes is also a good way to ensure the life of a costume is lengthened.
3. Hand out environmentally conscious sweet treats. You can make homemade lollies or buy organic treats which don’t contain any pesticides or other chemicals.
4. Use environmentally friendly transport. Organising car pools, riding your bike, taking the bus or walking to different houses is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment.
5. Have a Green Halloween party. Encourage guests to wear homemade costumes, bring treats they have made themselves, and serve all food using your own dishes and cutlery.
Halloween may be a night for scary zombies, witches, goblins and ghosts, but with a little foresight and careful planning, you can have a Green Halloween!