As kids and adults prepare for Halloween and think about what they want to dress up as, many forget or are completely unaware of the terrifying toll their costumes and decorations have on the environment. From the spooky styrofoam gravestones, to the plastic pumpkin buckets kids use to carry candy, to the polyester costumes, plastic is haunting Halloween.
So, how can you celebrate Halloween while keeping the environment in mind?
Our Top Tip: REDUCE!
First and foremost, don’t buy anything new. No new costumes, no new pumpkin buckets, no new spider web decorations or plastic skeletons. Just don’t buy any new, unnecessary plastic!
Reuse Old Costumes or Swap With Friends
Get creative and use what you already have. Do you have an old costume that you love? Perfect! Reuse it. Or, if you want to dress up as something new this year, take that old costume and organize a costume swap with your friends.
If you don’t have a costume to swap with friends, you can still ask to borrow theirs, especially if they’re not using it. Or, it’s time to get creative and use what’s already in your closet.
Shop Your Closet or Go Thrifting
“But I don’t have anything to wear!” said every girl at least once in her life.
Well, even the girls with “nothing to wear” can throw together an eco-friendly costume with what they have in their closet or with a quick trip to a local thrift store. Chances are they’ll have what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a thrift shop in your area, you’re not out of luck. Apps like Poshmark and TheRealReal sell second-hand items, including costumes.
Need a little inspiration for a quick and easy DIY costume?
- If you, or your dad, have an oversized white dress shirt, grab that along with a pair of tube socks and voila, you’re looking like Risky Business!
- Have a black dress? Of course you do. Throw your hair in braids and you’ll quickly turn into Wednesday Adams.
- Everyone loves a black cat, and it’s a purrrty easy costume to pull off. All you need is a black outfit and a little makeup. Use a bit of eyeliner to draw whiskers and when you look in the mirror you’ll mistake yourself for a meow-nificent cat!
Decorate With Intention
Decorations are a huge source of unnecessary waste.
If you’re into decorating your yard, you can create a plastic-free scarecrow with a pair of old pants and a shirt filled with fallen leaves or other yard trimmings.
But if you’re into really decorating your yard, make sure you invest in quality decorations that can last from year to year.
And if you’re into smashing pumpkins, erm, *carving* pumpkins… remember, unnecessary waste from Halloween doesn’t end with plastic.
Americans throw out around 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins every year. The majority of those are sent to landfill. When pumpkins, and other food waste, are put in the garbage and sent to landfills they can’t naturally decompose. They exist long after they should and contribute to the production of methane gas, a greenhouse gas.
So, what can you do with those jack-o-lanterns instead? First, roast the seeds! They make for a tasty autumn treat. Then, when it comes time to “throw out” the pumpkin, don’t toss it in the garbage, compost it at home or make sure it ends up in a community compost bin.