With Halloween just around the corner we thought it would be a good time to tackle the terrifying issue of just how much plastic waste is created by our favourite spooky holiday. According to The Guardian, around 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is created by throwaway Halloween costumes alone, and that’s not even counting all the plastic pumpkins and tempting tubs of treats! The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep your celebrations sustainable, so here are our tips for keeping your Halloween celebrations plastic free this year. We’ve even dabbled in making some of the crafts ourselves!
First up, costumes! The most sustainable option is of course to get creative with what’s already in your wardrobe. With a little layering or an added piece of fabric or two, a black or purple dress could quickly be conjured into a wonderful witch or wizard costume. Or, if you have some well worn garments that aren’t suitable to drop off at a charity shop, you might consider getting the scissors out to create a zombie or pirate ensemble.
Alternatively, if you don’t have anything to repurpose, rather than buying a new costume, you might consider buying second hand or renting a costume instead. There are plenty of brick-and-mortar and online stores that offer costume rentals. You’ll be spoiled for choice and safe in the knowledge that you’re doing your bit to keep plastic-based textiles out of landfills!
Another horrible Halloween plastic polluter is decorations. Plastic decorations are all over our supermarket shelves tempting us with their eye-catching designs. Always remember to check the materials used and the recycle options before you buy! I had a dig around my local Tesco and was pleased to find some sustainable paper options for decorations. The honeycomb paper pumpkins are especially good if you can get your hands on them.
If you happen to be the arty type or are looking to get the family involved in some Halloween crafts you can always have fun making your own decorations. There are endless tutorials out there to help you get on your way. I’ve found step-by-step videos to help you make everything from fabric pumpkins to spooky cookies to embroidery designs. I opted to try my hand at some Halloween embroidery using this tutorial and some Pinterest images as a jumping off point. I admittedly had a bit of a wonky start, however, I thoroughly recommend giving it a go as I’m quite pleased with my little creations!
For something a bit more child-friendly you could hold onto your empty loo roll holders and turn them into Halloween monsters with the help of some coloured card and glue, or if you have sheets of coloured paper lying around you could try making Halloween garlands. This video will show you how to make bats, spiders, ghosts and pumpkins! If it’s tissue paper you have to work with, you could follow this simple and effective tutorial to make some cute ghost creatures.
When it comes to sweet treats you could try ditching the plastic by baking your own cookies or cupcakes, after all, decorating your baking creations is a fun Halloween activity in itself! Alternatively, if baking isn’t your thing or you simply don’t have the time, perhaps consider picking up a paper bag of sweets from the pick and mix rather than opting for multipack sweets that come wrapped in plastic. That way you can make sure to fill your bag up with your favorites anyway!
It’s fair to say that going plastic free this Halloween doesn’t have to be scary! There are loads of great ways to be more sustainable while you celebrate. Choose whichever plastic free swap most suits your lifestyle and maybe try another next year. Happy Halloween!