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How to Have a Low Waste Halloween

Spooky season is just around the corner, but in a world where we’re looking to do what we can for the planet, it’s important that we’re making environmentally-conscious decisions about how we go about this year’s celebrations. From carving pumpkins instead of painting them to hiring your costumes, here’s how you can have a low-waste Halloween.

Buy costumes from charity shops or hire them

It can be tempting to go to a supermarket and buy a ready-made costume for your children, but with a bit of imagination, you’ll be able to find exactly what you need from charity shops and second-hand stores. Not only could they have a full costume made up already, but they’ll be sure to have different pieces of clothing that would make for the perfect Halloween outfit when pieced together.

If you don’t have the time to search around all of the local charity shops, look to hire the costume that you need, whether it be for you or for your children. Hiring means that you’ll be able to wear it and then give it back for someone else to use, but if you buy what you need from the charity shop, you can either keep the outfit for next year or donate it back to the shop you bought it from.

Something else you could do is make your own Halloween costume, but this could be very time-consuming and it requires a lot of skill. But if you have the confidence to give it a try, then go for it. If all of that sounds like a lot of hassle, simply dig out any outfits you have from last year and repurpose them. You could even do a swap with friends or family, giving last year’s costume to them in exchange for the costume they wore last year. There are loads of things you can do as a way of acquiring a Halloween costume without buying another one off the shelf.

Choose decorations that are recyclable or make some yourself

Halloween decorations come in plastic packaging and they can also be made from plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. When purchasing decorations, make sure you opt for ones that are made from paper or cardboard and that come in paper or cardboard packaging. Alternatively, if you have the time, you can make your own. This would be a fun Halloween-themed activity to do with your children, so it’s a win-win; you’re helping the planet whilst simultaneously making sure your kids are having fun.

Something else you should consider for your Halloween party is to switch to reusable cups, plates, bowls and straws. Here at VASO, we have a wide range of reusable straws and reusable tumblers for you to choose from - perfect for a sipping on even the most scary of beverages. This will help to reduce the frightening amount of waste you produce at the end of the night.

Don’t paint your pumpkins, carve them instead

We all know that we can’t have Halloween without a pumpkin. Where some people will buy whole ones and leave them on porches and doorsteps for added effect, without doing anything to them, others like to get creative. Where it might seem easier, quicker and less messy to paint them rather than carve them, it’s actually something you should refrain from doing if you want to be more eco-friendly this Halloween.

Carving them would be far better for the environment, in more ways than one. Firstly, painting a pumpkin is, essentially, contaminating them. This means that they cannot be composted, animals won’t be able to eat them and neither will you, because paint can be toxic when ingested. Carving a pumpkin is far more eco-friendly. You might think that the carving itself is wasteful, but you’d be mistaken.

The pieces you carve out can be put to one side and you’ll be able to use those for cooking or baking with. You’ll also be able to put them out for the wildlife to munch on, although don’t put scraps at ground level because this makes it easily accessible for hedgehogs, who will gorge on it and then subsequently become very poorly.

Even the seeds can be utilised. Take them out of the pumpkin, separate them from the stringy parts and dry them out. You’ll then be able to bake them for extra crunchiness. This way, you can use the pumpkin seeds in your food or eat them as a healthy snack throughout the day.

Even a whole carved pumpkin can be utilised at the end of the season. Although they might not be suitable for cooking anymore, the wildlife will still be able to make use of it. Again, don’t put it on the ground, but make sure it’s in reach of birds, squirrels, badgers and more. Alternatively, and something you can do if you don’t want to attract animals into your garden, is to simply compost it. Once it’s broken down, you’ll be able to use it as fertiliser on your plants and crops some spring and summer.

Make your own treats

The cakes, biscuits and sweets that we buy in the shops are wrapped in plastic packaging that can’t be recycled. Instead, try your hand at baking some yourself. Alternatively, you could make up your own sweet bags in paper bags or boxes. If this sounds like a great idea, then travel to your local sweetshop and grab some a selection of traditional sweets and chocolates that come wrapped in paper.

This way, you’ll be able to recycle the paper they came in rather than throw plastic packaging straight in the bin to be sent to landfill. If you’re making your treats yourself, then make sure you let everyone know and be aware of any allergies or intolerances everyone has before offering them anything.

Play some eco-friendly games

Apple bobbing might not be the best game to play at Halloween anymore, since the pandemic, but even if you did choose to bring this classic game back, it’s eco-friendly in more ways than one. Use the water to water your plants and compost the apples so that you can use them as fertiliser come the flowering season.

Other games you can play include board games, because these can be used over and over again, year after year. You could even opt to play Halloween Charades, musical chairs, musical statues and other traditional games that every child will enjoy. Basically, choose a game or an activity that doesn’t involve buying anything new and give out prizes that aren’t wrapped in plastic or other non-recyclable materials.