As much as I adore Halloween with every fibre of my being, it’s not an eco-friendly holiday. With so much cheap, over-processed single-use items plaguing the season, it’s not a green holiday. An estimated 2000 tonnes of waste will be generated from Halloween costumes alone this year. There’s so much single use waste from costumes, to candy, and cheap decorations, and there’s no need for it. We can make the most of spooky season without contributing to plastic pollution and the climate crisis. An estimated 2000 tonnes of waste will be generated from Halloween costumes alone this year. Here’s how to be eco-friendly this Halloween:
Halloween is probably the biggest night for single-use costumes. I love good Halloween costumes as much as the next person, but buying an outfit and wearing it for a few hours once is not sustainable. The environmental impact that goes into making just one outfit is huge, so at least get the wear from your wardrobe!
I’m not saying you can’t dress up. I start thinking about my costume very early in the year, I’m just suggesting to be more considerate with it. Most single-use Halloween costumes are so cheap and flimsy they don’t even look that good!
I always try to use things I already own as part of my Halloween costume.
When I was Veronica from Heathers I didn’t need to buy a single thing because all the clothes were either mine or my sisters! When I was Wednesday Addams I wore all my own clothes too.
For other costumes I bought accessories to accompany things I already own, like buying the wig and bullet belt for Black Widow, and the wig, gloves, feather boa, and cigarette holder for Cruella. When I buy new things I always get something I feel can be used for another costume down the line or I’ll actually wear again. Last year I was Esmerelda, and only had to buy the corset and skirt, which I would actually wear in my day to day life.
This year, I only bought secondhand; I got the red blazer on Depop, and I’ll pick up a sword in a charity shop. Everything else was something I already owned, the shirt for Elizabeth and Esmerelda are the same!
Instead of buying a new costume, shop second-hand, have a look at what you have, or borrow something.
Zero-waste, palm oil free candy
Unfortunately most wrappers from sweets aren’t recyclable. If you stop and look at the waste that washes up on the beach, a lot of the single-use plastic is decades old. Halloween candy is no different, the fact that these companies make new packaging for Halloween is a waste of plastic.
I’m not saying the solution is to hand out loose fruit, because the kids will throw it back at your house. I think the solution is to track down sweets in sustainable packaging – which is few and far between right now. Chocolate brands like Seed & Bean and Vego’s white chocolate bar have biodegradable packing. They also have the added bonus of no palm-oil. You could make chocolate apples with these!
At the very least, if we can’t get to zero-waste or plastic free sweets, then avoid palm oil.
DIY or Buy Eco-friendly Decorations
I love seeing Halloween stuff in stores. Usually I buy at least one thing a year, but I only buy good quality things I love. I actually keep a few Halloween things in my room all year. A lot of decorations are low quality and won’t make it until the next Halloween. Get things you can reuse the next year. Have a look in charity shops first for new decorations.
The greenest thing you can buy, is nothing. However, I’m goth and love Halloween, so it’s not realistic to say “just don’t buy Halloween decorations”. You can shop sustainably, but before buying something ask yourself a few questions for your eco-friendly Halloween:
- Do I need this?
- Do we have enough decorations?
- Will it last a few Halloweens?
- Is this an impulse buy?
The most important decoration, after all, is the pumpkin, which is already biodegradable.
Better again, DIY some decorations, Pinterest is a goldmine for these kinds of projects.
Reuse What You Can
This leads on from my point about getting good quality decorations or DIYing them for your green Halloween. Reuse what you can!
There’s a lot of throwaway culture surrounding Halloween; when I was a kid I rewore the same costume for years on end because my family didn’t see the point in being something new every year but for some reason, we always got new trick or treating bags. Trick or Treating bags are often so low-quality they only last the one Halloween. One year mine broke, and some kid just followed me, eating the trail of my sweets. It makes much more sense to buy a good quality bag, like a canvas tote bag, to be used for many Halloweens to come.
Even if you’re not going to be the same character every Halloween, keep your costumes to mix and match! For example, a Daenerys wig could be braided for an Elsa costume, my Esmerelda corset would work for a pirate-look!
Are you planing on having an eco-friendly Halloween? If so, what green practices are you adopting?