When we think about Halloween, ethical and sustainable practice doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But the amount of waste that a single holiday can generate is mind-boggling: from flimsy single-use costumes to plastic candy wrappers, to mass-produced decorations.
If you feel guilty about the waste typically involved in this holiday, don’t worry! Here are a few eco-friendly ways you can still celebrate spooky season without harming the planet.
The biggest carbon footprint from Halloween comes from the millions of poor-quality, fast fashion costumes that are mass produced every year. Most are made from unsustainable materials such as polyester and are manufactured in countries with poor, unethical working standards.
One way to dress up with minimal impact on the environment is to buy from your local thrift store or vintage boutique. Shopping secondhand reduces the amount of waste thrown into landfills and saves you money. Costume shops are another great option; they offer a huge selection of costumes that are better quality than any fast fashion options. If you want to get creative, you can also DIY your own and personalize it any way you like.
Many people like to carve their own Jack O’ Lanterns for Halloween. So visit your local farmer’s market to find organic pumpkins. This ensures excessive pesticides weren’t used in the farming process, which have a long-term detrimental effect on ecosystems.
For decorations around the house, why not make them yourself? You can use cardboard to make a skeleton or tombstones, make spiders out of black pipe cleaners, create ghosts out of old sheets and repurpose your toilet paper rolls to make spooky bats. If you do buy decorations, ensure that they are reusable and good quality, so you can use them year after year.
Throwing a Halloween party? Make sure you avoid single-use plastic plates, cups and cutlery, and use regular dishes and utensils, or opt for biodegradable or recyclable ones instead.
Some of the biggest candy manufacturers in the world have a huge impact on the environment. They massively contribute to deforestation and species extinction due to their demand for sugar, palm oil and cocoa beans. These companies have also been found to source their cocoa from countries that use child labor to harvest cocoa beans. On top of all that, a huge amount of energy and resources go into making candy and all the non-recyclable wrapping it’s packaged in.
You can avoid all of this by making your own sweet treats. Cookies, fudge and candied apples are a few ideas to get you started. And instead of wrapping them in plastic or cellophane, you could put them in paper bags decorated with Halloween-themed images, or just hand them straight over.
So there you have it. With these tips, you don’t have to worry about harming the planet. Happy Green Halloween!