The word “Halloween” comes from All Hallows’ Eve and means “hallowed evening.” Hundreds of years ago, people dressed up as saints and went door-to-door, which is the origin of Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating and that tradition continues to this day with Halloween being the second most popular holiday after Christmas. This year, be a Halloween creative creature to cut down on waste production.
The festivities are just around the corner meaning it’s time to get the decorations up and do some research on what or who you’ll be dressing up as this year. Bearing that in mind you should consider making the festivities as sustainable as you can.
Research by Hubbub, a UK-based environmental charity, found that at this time of the year the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles is generated from “disposable” Halloween costumes alone, so there’s a huge need to be a creative creature.
So, if you’re planning to buy plastic-based Halloween costumes and decorations, make sure you store them properly and pull them out again next year to reuse or upcycle into a new costume!
Or an alternative which can make a significant impact on Halloween plastic waste and can be a lot of fun is creating costumes and decorations out of materials you already have at home or sourcing in charity shops.
For kids and grown-up kids alike, one of the best things about Halloween is getting dressed up, let’s try avoid all that unnecessary waste, here are some tips from us:
- Do a costume swap; you don’t want to go as the zombie lumberjack again this year, get in touch with friends, they may have been envious of your effort last year and want to try it out and you can be their undead gangsta granny or fairy princess.
- Get down to your local charity shop and keep an open mind. You never know what treasures await, you can be guaranteed that they pull out all of the weird and wonderful items for the festivities.
- Check out the back of the wardrobes at home, you’ll be amazed how some glue, glitter and the addition of cardboard limbs or two can make that old garish jumper ghoulish.
The main thing to remember is that it’s all just a bit of fun, get creative with costumes, a punny reference allows you to be unique and memorable.
There are two main foods associated with Halloween; sweet treats handed out to trick-or-treaters and pumpkins used, primarily, as decoration. While we can have alternatives to the sweet treats, such as novelty toys, these will also create unwanted waste so if you stick with the sweets ensure that you place all of the wrappers loosely in your recycle bin.
Pumpkins are first and foremost a food but unfortunately at this time of year the majority will end up rotting at your door and going to landfill. We have some tips to avoid this waste:
- You’ve used the pumpkin as a jack-o-lantern, once you see that’s it’s beginning to wilt and decompose get it in your food waste bin or home compost because once its reached a certain point it can’t be composted
- Once you’ve carved your pumpkin, fish out the seeds, place them on a baking tray and roast them.
- The flesh is very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes such as soups and cakes.
If you do intend on eating your pumpkin you should look for smaller pumpkins, the skin is edible, no need to peel and many of these are grown here in Ireland.
There are a number of pumpkin patches in Ireland and midterm is the perfect time to organise a visit. It’s fascinating to see how they are grown and you’ll get to pick out your own.
One of the great things about decorating at Halloween is that there’s no wrong or right way; you can create a house or horrors or a magical land full of unicorns, all the rules go out the window and so you should be a creative creature this Halloween.
This allows you to get creative, making your own decorations is a fun way to embrace the season and avoid those cheap plastic products that will more than likely end up in the bin.
Make your own Halloween bunting by picking up some fabric at the charity shop or using some old materials you have lying around at home. Make ghosts out of tissue paper, or use scissors, black paint and string to turn egg cartons into hanging bats.
There are lots of easy Halloween DIY ideas online to try out.