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  • Writer's pictureIsabel Mack

Eco-Friendly Halloween: How to Reduce Waste and Save Money

Halloween is a time for fun and frights, but it can also be a time for excess waste and spending.


In the UK, spending on Halloween is projected to reach over £1 billion this year with more than half of us planning to make a purchase. (1)


From fancy dress costumes treated as disposables to mountains of sweet wrappers, this festival can take a toll on both the environment and our wallets.


But fear not! In this blog post, we'll explore some creative and sustainable ways to celebrate Halloween while reducing waste and saving money.


Sustainable Halloween Costumes


4 in 10 Halloween costumes are worn only ONCE before they’re thrown away (2)


Costumes are a central part of Halloween but there’s a few things to be aware of.


Most shop-bought outfits are made from polyester fabric, a type of plastic which adds to plastic pollution. They are difficult to recycle and a shocking 40% are worn only once. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid buying something new every year.


Here’s some eco-friendly alternatives:

  • Reuse: Raid your wardrobe or ask friends and family for costume pieces. You'd be surprised what creative outfits you can put together from existing clothing.

  • Borrow: Borrow costumes from friends or family members. It's a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact.

  • Rent: Some places are lucky enough to have a costume rental shop or a local party kit may offer costumes to borrow. If not, there are services where you can hire and return costumes by post.

  • Swap: Organise a costume swap at school or with friends and neighbours. It's a fantastic way for everyone to get a new-to-them costume at a fraction of the cost or even free!

  • Buy Secondhand: Head down to your local charity shop or take a look on online marketplaces such as Vinted and eBay.

  • Make Your Own: Get crafty and make a costume. Not only is this a fun and sustainable option, but it can also be a memorable creative project.

Don’t forget that when it comes to fancy dress accessories and props are our friends. Accessorising something you have already can create a whole new look and the odd prop can really make a costume.


(Note about safety - It is not a requirement in the UK or EU for costumes to pass the same standard of flammability performance safety tests as used for other children’s garments - Read more on this here)


Pumpkins: Don't Waste Them


15.8 million pumpkins will go to waste this Halloween (3)


Hubbub estimates that 15.8 million pumpkins will go to waste this Halloween. Not only is that a lot of food which could have been eaten, it’s a massive waste of money.


After carving your Jack-o'-lantern, save the pumpkin scraps. There are numerous delicious recipes that can be made from pumpkin flesh and seeds, from pies and soups to roasted pumpkin seeds. Don't let your carved masterpiece go to waste!


As an alternative, this year Hubbub is encouraging us to decorate our pumpkins instead of carving. Why? Firstly, for smaller kids decorating a pumpkin is much safer than carving (and potentially less messy!). By decorating our Jack-o'-lanterns the pumpkins will stay fresher for longer meaning you can eat all of the pumpkin (except the stalk) after Halloween.


Hubbub have created a guide to decorating a Halloween pumpkin.

And they have some great recipes at How to eat your pumpkin


To further reduce waste, after Halloween any unused pumpkin parts can go in the food waste collection or home compost bin (if you have access to these).


Greener Trick-or-Treating


We spend more on sweets and chocolate for Halloween than on costumes and decorations combined (4)


Confectionary is a BIG part of Halloween and collectively we spend a lot of money on buying sweets and chocolate for Halloween. It is also a lot of wrappers.


This is probably the trickiest part of Halloween to make a bit greener. Plastic wrappers are difficult to avoid and not easy to recycle, and unwrapped sweets are not a popular choice for hygiene reasons. However there are a few things we can do to reduce the environmental impact of our sweet treats:

  • If you can find them, foil wrapped sweets or chocolate are a greener option as, like with Easter eggs, the aluminium foil can be scrunched together into a ball and recycled either kerbside or at local waste recovery centres.

  • Fill little paper envelopes or bags with a small selection of pick-and-mix sweets. Local sweet shops or zero waste stores are good places to look for plastic-free sweets.

  • Organise a community litter pick for the days after Halloween to at least ensure that any plastic wrappers dropped locally end up in the bin.

To collect your own trick-or-treating goodies, avoid buying a new plastic bucket by:

  • Reuse: Find that trick-or-treating bucket from last year or ask neighbours if they have an unwanted one you can use.

  • Repurpose: Grab a reusable bag, a pillowcase, or any container you already own.

  • Get Crafty: If you're feeling creative, you can make a Halloween-themed bag from cardboard. Not only will it be unique, but you'll also reduce waste.

Environmentally Friendly Halloween Parties

Plastic party cups take 450 years to breakdown releasing toxic chemicals into the environment (5)


If you're hosting a Halloween gathering, there’s a few easy swaps to make a party more eco-conscious.


One of the biggest impacts on waste is to switch to reusables. Instead of disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, switch to reusable tableware. Use what you have already, hire a local party kit, borrow from neighbours or even ask guests to bring their own plate. This reduces the amount of single-use plastics that end up in landfills and is often cheaper than buying plates just to throw away.


For decorations, remember it’s okay that we haven’t managed to recreate an Autumn masterpiece seen on Instagram. While there are some stunning creations out there, decorations are only a small part of what makes a party.


Skip the store-bought decorations this year and tap into your creative side. Look around your home for inspiration and consider upcycling materials:


  • Paper Bats: Transform old cardboard or paper packaging into spooky bats to hang around your house. A perfect craft project for kids and adults alike.

  • Recycled Centrepieces: Use glass jars or old containers to create unique centrepieces. Fill them with coloured water, candles, or seasonal foliage.


Conclusion

Making sustainable choices doesn't mean sacrificing fun or creativity. In fact, it can make your Halloween celebrations more unique and memorable, and often cheaper!


From costumes to decorations and even trick-or-treating, there are countless ways to have a spooky, sustainable, and budget-friendly holiday.


So, let's go green and make Halloween a little less scary for the planet and your wallet!



 

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bamboo-party-kit_edited.jpg

Eco-friendly parties

Party kits are an easy, convenient and often cheaper way of accessing reusable tableware and decorations for a party. 

Make your next party a little more eco-friendly and hire a party kit. 

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