It’s spooky time—another year, another Halloween!
Halloween has been a traditional celebration in Canada for years, and what can be more thrilling and exciting to end October than dressing up in your favourite (or, scariest) character, handing out candies or going for trick-or-treating, and carving up some good ol’ pumpkins?
The celebration, however, does come with an awful aftermath as most of the time, the costumes or decorations won’t be reused for another year, and end up in landfills. Let’s not even think about those candy plastic wraps and how they take forever to degrade once disposed!
If you’re a fellow Earth warrior, it’s the best time to enjoy a spooky Halloween while still doing good deeds to the environment—especially after Canada’s Waste Reduction Week.
Here are our top three tips to keep your Halloween eco-friendly:
Eco-friendly Halloween Tip #1: Costumes
On average, a person in North America disposes 37 kilograms of textiles annually, 95% of which could be reused or recycled. Halloween costumes definitely contribute to this ordeal, as they tend to be worn once then thrown into the garbage can.
To lower your Halloween textile waste, a great tip is DIY (Do-It-Yourself) costumes. Work out from your already-owned clothes and other household items to see which can be used on this occasion. Maybe an old wedding dress that can transform you into the Abominable Bride in the famous Sherlock series, or some blue dresses for those who want to become The Shining twins—the options are endless!
Another good choice for Halloween costumes is to buy them off thrift stores, and make sure to buy those that can be reused for years after. This applies well to accessories: things like a witch’s hat can be used as part of multiple costume ideas. Renting is also an economical option, especially for costumes that come already made with all the necessary accessories, which may cost too much to buy and you may not want to reuse them anyway.
Swapping or trading clothes with your friends or your neighbours is also a good idea to lower your textile waste on this occasion. It’s a good chance to get to know your neighbours too—if you haven’t done that before! In this current pandemic, however, make sure you follow proper social distancing protocol and disinfect costumes if you plan to adopt this swap-or-trade route.
Finally, it’s important to avoid buying or renting costumes that are made of cheap plastic fabrics or have glitter or sparkles, as these contain microplastics that are detrimental to the environment.
Eco-friendly Halloween Tip #2: Decorations (and Pumpkins)
DIY decorations are the holy grail of Halloween decorations! Here’s your chance to get creative and look for household items that can be made into spooky decorations. Some recommendations from the Plastic Action Centre include tombstones or crosses made from old cardboard boxes, or making good use of natural decorations like gourds, fallen leaves, and sticks. If you really must buy some decorations, think of those that can last for years and it’s best to buy them from your local thrift shops.
Pumpkins are a must-have in Halloween, and—you know it—they are a classic plastic-free decoration item. You can buy locally grown pumpkins to support your local business, and after you’re done decorating and carving them, make sure to either compost them or feed them to the wildlife. Make sure you use every part of the pumpkin as well: the flesh can be used to make soup or pumpkin bread and the seeds, once roasted, can make really delicious snacks.
Eco-friendly Halloween Tip #3: Treats
As the pandemic is still going on, maybe it’s not the best time to go trick-or-treating, especially in COVID-19 hot zones in Ontario, for example. However, if you still want to join in on the tradition, make sure to choose chocolate wrapped in foil or candies that can come in cardboard boxes rather than non-recyclable plastic packaging. You can also make the treats yourself and hand them out in paper bags or reusable jars for your acquaintances.
Halloween treats that contain palm oil should be avoided as well, as they can be produced in a way that causes deforestation and endangers some rainforest animals. Consider buying treats from brands that use certified sustainable palm oil—of course, with recyclable packaging if possible.
If you’re reading this post now, you may have had some ideas to green your Halloween
already. Share them with us on our social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, or
Instagram—if possible! Also, make sure to follow our advice on occasions other than Halloween, as these work just as well as tips to help you lead a guilt-free, eco-friendly life. 🙂