The night of ghosts and spirits, of witches, corpses and pumpkins is coming this Saturday. If you want to make your friends die of fright in a green way, here’s some advice on how to make your Halloween not only a bit more sustainable, but also to avoid its commercial side and go back to its roots and link to Mother Earth.
Make your costume yourself
A costume is an essential element to Halloween night and most people get them cheap and mass produced. However, these are most often non-recyclable and made from PVC, which not only contaminates but also, usually, doesn’t last throughout the night. So why not use your imagination – and surf online – to find ideas to make your own? Although any kind of costume can work, remember that this is the night of the death. A homemade ghost or witch outfit is easy to make with reusable and recycled materials but you also can reuse an old costume from previous years and change it or even organise a costume swap with your friends. If you do not have a lot of time, some old clothing and a bit of makeup is enough to make a scary zombie. And there is a decent variety of eco friendly and even vegan makeup brands for that (here for example).
If you are running a party you can also encourage people to make their own costumes and give prizes.
Trick or treat
Sweets are an important tradition for children on this day so get some fair trade chocolates and sweets or you can also give nuts and homemade cookies to try to be a bit healthy. Another good idea is to give fruits, for example orange “pumpkins” made from clementines (have a look here). A green option for candy bags would be to simply give your children reusable bags or buckets.
Or even better, what about if you impress the children with some magic tricks?
If a terrific atmosphere can be easily created with a few candles and some papercraft. Why should we buy Halloween decorations made of non recyclable plastic that end in landfills?
The internet is full of DIY ideas to transform your place in a haunted house full of ghosts, bats (see here and here), artificial pumpkins (here or here), laterns and candleholders using cans and jars or even mummy pillows. And you can use paper bags to make paper garlands.
Go to the park and find fallen leaves and withered branches. For the lighting, you can use LED lights or beeswax and soy wax candles. And if you still want to get a pumpkin, buy a local one.
If you throw a party at home, you can send the invitations by email but if you really need to use paper, make sure it’s recyclable.
Use your household plates and if your party is too big, buy compostable ones. For drinking you can get glass jars and decorate them yourself. For food, go to the organic market to buy local and seasonal products. Not only will you be a bit more sustainable but you will also keep the original Halloween meaning alive: this festivity comes from old celtic and pagan harvest festivals.
If you’ve bought pumpkins for decoration you can use its meat to cook a dish for dinner, from a soup to a cake. You can even toast the seeds and have a real treat.
Reduce, reuse and recycle. So keep your decorations properly stored to be able to reuse them on your next occasion. If you got a pumpkin, after the party add it with the food scraps and the organic decorations into your compost pile. Alternatively, if you don’t have your own compost, find a local place where they do, like urban gardens.
Last but not least, enjoy your holiday and get your children and friends involved by helping with the decorations, the food, and even with the cleaning up.
And if you have more sustainable ideas, let us know!
text: Ana Galan
photos (from top to bottom):
Don Scarborough, cc-by-sa