By Martina Guelfi
Sweets, dressing up, a touch of magic — who doesn’t love Halloween? Every year adults don costumes for ghoulish parties decorated by skulls and spiderwebs while disguised children go door to door, trick or treating under the watchful gaze of their parents. Haunting the festivities, however, is the environmental impact. One large party can equal a lot of waste — from plastic cups to discarded food. The ghost of Halloweens past still roams the landfills!
Frightening people on this occasion should just be fun — without terrorizing the planet — and with a few green tricks, it can be. Here then are 10 tips the whole family can conjure to enjoy a sustainable Halloween this year.
Be creative with your costumes
A holiday is, first and foremost, an opportunity to spend time with the people we love. And what better way to do this than to create something unique together? Do-it-yourself enthusiasts can indulge in creating costumes for the whole family. The keywords are always: reuse, recycle ... reinvent! Moreover, not turning to the usual shops also means having a choice that goes beyond the famous character of the moment. And if you are afraid of having little imagination or skill, don't worry — even an old bed sheet can be transformed into a perfect disguise!
By creating your own costumes, you will not only be spending quality time with your friends or children, but you will also be helping to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that accumulates in rubbish bins and landfills.
Take a trip to the second-hand shop
We know, not everyone likes DIY. Or they simply don't have enough time on their hands to create a costume from scratch. But luckily, there is another way to reduce waste and still have a brand-new outfit.
The issue of fast fashion and its ecological impact is currently a popular topic of discussion. But reducing its impact can be easy. Besides buying new clothes from environmentally friendly companies, you can plan a few trips to the nearest thrift shop. And what better occasion than Halloween?
Second-hand clothes are not only cheaper, but they are also often more fun and original. And, when you decide they are no longer for you or when they have become too small for your children, you can donate them back to a charity shop, continuing this virtuous cycle.
And if the hygiene of the clothes you have just bought worries you, you can always wash them in an environmentally friendly and convenient way thanks to SaltyLama’s eco-friendly detergent strips.
Plastic masks? No, thanks!
Now that your costumes are ready, all that is missing is the finishing touch. This year, we give you a challenge from real make-up artists: forgo the masks and try painting your own face! Most masks on the market are plastic. And, although some are truly remarkable, they often end up thrown away when the party is over. Make-up won’t last either, but by choosing environmentally friendly colors and products, and with a bit of practice, you can achieve great-looking, eco-friendly results. And think about how much fun you will have: whether you are a master of the brush or a total disaster, experimenting will get you a laugh — or a cry of terror, which fits just as well.
Then, remember to remove your make-up using organic cleansers and a washable microfibre cloth: even make-up wipes end up in landfills.
A liner is the best envelope for sweets
What would Halloween be without good old trick-or-treating? This year don't give your kids paper or plastic bags for their door-to-door tour. Instead, you can reuse household items, such as pillow covers, which are perfect for turning into bags full of candy.
Make homemade sweets
What could be better than a house that smells of cookies? Well, of course, eating cookies. But baking them can also be fun for young and old! So instead of buying the usual packaged, preservative-laden, plastic-wrapped treats, why not make something special with your own hands?
This idea has many advantages in common with DIY costumes: it is an excellent way to spend quality time with family or friends, and it allows you to choose the type of sweets you prefer instead of being limited to what is on offer in the shops. Moreover, by buying organic ingredients, you can enjoy healthier treats for yourself and the planet.
Pay attention to the origin of the products
Are you a disaster in the kitchen? Or have your work commitments not allowed you to bake great sweets? Don't worry — you can always buy them, but with a little extra care. All it takes is a few simple online searches to find organic and natural products that are good for you and the environment. And who knows, with this system, you might even discover your new favorite treat!
Choose a green pumpkin
We all know how important it is to buy organic products. And why should it be any different for the Halloween pumpkin? Surely, as the undisputed queen of autumn, you won't find it difficult to find a pumpkin that is in season. Buying one grown on your own land is a great way to support local farmers and your community while reducing the emissions caused by transporting goods.
And, for those with a garden and a green thumb, here's another original idea: why not grow your own pumpkin? Sure, it is a time-consuming task, requiring a certain amount of skill and patience, but the result will pay off. You will be sure to have a product on your hands that is free of chemical pesticides, and you will enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining it through your own efforts. Furthermore, taking up horticulture can be an educational moment to share with your children, who will learn valuable lessons about the vegetables that are on their plates every day — even if they are not always happy about it.
Bake the pumpkin
Okay, this might sound a little scary. But when the party's over, why not eat your friend Jack-o'-lantern? No, we are certainly not inviting you to perform strange rituals. Simply remember that the inside of the pumpkin you have carved is nothing but good food.
Every U.S. citizen wastes approximately a pound of food daily — imagine the mountain of leftovers we would face after a week, a month, or a year! To reduce the impact, start small. Save the 'innards' of your pumpkin and use them for many tasty and healthy recipes. They can become a pasta sauce, a delicious filling, or a side dish for your meal. Search online for the best recipes and let your appetite be your guide!
Party at home? Go organic!
Are you organizing something special this year? Your party will be even better if it is eco-friendly. Just keep a few things in mind when shopping and decorating your house. Think about this: every day, more than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills or incinerators instead of being recycled. If you add plastic plates, cutlery, and cups, how high is the number?
So, for your guests, choose biodegradable and environmentally friendly products; you will help reduce the pile of waste that accumulates daily. The same goes for decorations. You can create a real haunted house for your Halloween party in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. Today, there is no shortage of recyclable decorations on shop shelves. And the absolute best are the ones you make yourself!
Re-use, re-use, re-use
The secret for a spooky sustainable Halloween? Re-use, re-use, re-use! Is the vampire costume too small for your child? Give it to their younger cousin. Did your favorite jumper got ripped? Now it's perfect for a zombie disguise! Have you emptied the pumpkin but can't cook? Perfect, you can make compost! There are countless ways to reduce your impact on the planet: before you throw something away, think about what you — or someone else — can do with it. For the rest, just think about enjoying this beautiful Halloween.