The phrase “Green Halloween” is a bit of a contradiction. It's a day filled with plastic-wrapped sweets, single-use costumes 👻 and pumpkin waste galore. With spooky season approaching, you must be wondering how to celebrate in a planet-conscious way.
If we’re being honest, the amount of waste Halloween creates is far more frightening than any of the scary movies on our watchlist this Autumn. Every year in the UK, 2000 tonnes of plastic waste is created from people throwing away Halloween costumes alone (the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles!)
We have put together our top tips for a green Halloween so we can be mindful about our effect on the planet without compromising fun.
GREEN HALLOWEEN IDEAS
1. Go pumpkin picking
We can confirm that the benefits of pumpkin picking go far beyond getting a wholesome picture for your insta feed. Picking at a nearby farm ensures you are buying locally sourced produce, and can often cost as little as £2! That’s as cheap as most supermarkets, and you get a gorgeous autumnal walk out of it.
Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of the outdoors, you could buy organic pumpkins from a farmer’s market or another store that sources locally. Then, rest easy knowing that you are eating pesticide-free produce and not overly contributing to carbon emissions.
2. Pumpkin recipes to turn your waste into a great taste
Be honest – who has been guilty of carving an absolute work of art into their Halloween lantern and then just throwing the insides of the pumpkin away? The closest many of us have got to consuming pumpkin is probably in a spiced latté.
It’s actually estimated that Brits throw away 13 million pumpkins every Halloween. A survey by Hubbub found that 58% of people didn’t even know the inside of a pumpkin was edible!
And that 58% are truly missing out on a range of gorgeous seasonal recipes. For savoury lovers, we recommend trying your hand at traditional pumpkin soup or Max LaManna’s delicious zero waste pumpkin pasta. Alternatively, pumpkin pie or muffins would hit the spot for sweet fans.
If you are putting a candle in your pumpkin, you can place it on a plate inside to avoid getting wax on any parts that you are still planning to eat. Despite how much you may want to show your lantern off to your neighbours – try not to leave it outside for too long, or it will start to go mouldy!
Bonus tip for pumpkin haters: If you don’t like the taste but don’t want to be wasteful, there is another option (and it’s extremely cute.) Deer love eating the inside of pumpkins, and have been known to even visit people’s gardens who leave some out for them. If you live in a rural or countryside area, you could smash open your pumpkin and leave the insides easily accessible for them to munch on. Nutrient-wise it’s so good for them, and you might even be able to watch out your window!
3. Eat plastic-free sweets
Thankfully, you don’t have to compromise your sweet tooth (or disappoint your children) for the sake of the planet. When buying sweets, try to avoid ones that are wrapped in plastic because most of this will end up in landfill. Instead, you could take a reusable container to your local zero-waste store and fill it with goodies.
We personally love the Halloween bundles from Elizabeth & Ernest. Their sweets are vegan and wrapped in plastic-free, biodegradable packaging. Or, for vegan chocolate, Doisy & Dam are our go-to. Their cocoa is ethically sourced and they don’t use palm oil.
Bonus points if you make your own spooky themed treats (that is, of course, if you aren’t too busy baking that pumpkin pie!)
4. Get creative with your costume
Plastic masks and flammable polyester costumes are so 2010! Most shop-bought costumes are only worn once before they end up in landfill. Not to mention, they just aren’t as imaginative. We bet you have the key to a brilliant costume in your wardrobe already.
Do any of your favourite horror villains rock an outfit similar to one hiding in the back of your wardrobe? Maybe one of your partner’s ugly old sweater’s screams “Freddy Krueger”. Or, could you upcycle a red dress into something fit for a devil? If you think creatively, there are infinite possibilities.
If your own wardrobe is lacking, the first port-of-call doesn’t need to be to buy fast fashion. First, check with your friends if they have something you can borrow that fits the bill. They may have something from a previous year’s costume that they won’t re-wear but would happily lend to you. Similarly, if you have children, you can ask other parents if they’d be up for doing a trade of your kids’ costumes from previous years.
If you must buy something new – try to buy second hand at a charity shop or on Depop.
5. Ditch plastic decorations for eco-friendly alternatives
Halloween decorations are nearly always plastic and mass-produced by companies who are not paying their workers a fair wage. We suggest not supporting this type of company and using what you already have instead.
For example, instead of buying a plastic bucket for holding trick-or-treating sweets, you could use something already in your house like a wicker basket, wooden bowl, tote bag or garden bucket.
You could light any candles you have lying around the house and even stick them in empty wine bottles for an eerie atmosphere. Draping white sheets over furniture can also transform your living room into an abandoned house.
We love these cute DIY origami lanterns that can be hung over string lights.
6. Choose your Halloween makeup wisely
Make-up can really transform a Halloween costume. But many of us aren’t aware of what we are putting on our faces. More than half of the face paints sold in supermarkets and budget stores contain toxic chemicals that can contribute to hormone disruption and even cancers.
For the sake of your health, and reducing waste, we recommend using the make-up you already have wherever possible. Dark eyeshadows and red lipstick work for many looks. You could even repurpose a foundation that’s too light for you into the base for a vampy look.
If you love spooky season so much that you are tempted to invest in some special face paints or make-up, try to make sure it is something you can re-use for Halloween every year. Look for non-toxic and cruelty-free brands where possible.
We hope our green Halloween ideas will help you enjoy spooky season without the need for excess waste. All that is left to do is wish you all a fabulous – and planet conscious – Halloween. Subscribe to our email newsletter for more tips on how to live sustainably all year round.
Have a spooky Halloween,