Exhume your costume
It is estimated that 7 million Halloween costumes are binned each year in the UK – with 40% of those being worn just once. Each costume contains approx 0.38kg of (usually non-recyclable) plastic, meaning that 2,600 tonnes a year ends up in landfills across the globe. Now with disruptions to stock and international delivery, many of us will need to be creative with our outfits. Dig out old costumes to see if you can restyle, upcycle or reinvent them. Visit charity shops, thrift stores or vintage clothing stores for cheaper, more authentic and less wasteful costume ideas.
Fit for a pump-king
If you are concerned about your plastic use, switching up your Halloween decorations can be a great place to start. The traditional pumpkin is a fantastic sustainable decoration: they are edible, fully compostable and you can carve or decorate them in many different ways. Alternatively, raid your recycle bin for materials and embody Dr Frankenstein to create your own monster or cereal box killer. If you’re stuck for inspiration, Buzzfeed and Pinterest have lots of incredible ideas.
Once you’ve disembowelled your pumpkins be sure to use them to store sweet treats, drinks and other savoury snacks – then why not roast and eat them! For tiny trick or treaters, try to buy chocolate or treats wrapped in recyclable foil as opposed to single-use plastic. If you’re hosting a party, spooky baked goods and homemade toffee apples can be a great way to reduce waste and improve the taste!
Sparks will fly
As Bonfire Night approaches, many of us look forward to the glorious firework shows across the country. When traditional fireworks explode, they release a mixture of toxic chemicals, metals and gases which sadly aren’t very good for the planet. Don’t fret - eco-friendly fireworks do exist, which release considerably less smoke and toxins. White fireworks are said to be the least chemically harmful and ground based fireworks ensure an easier collection of any debris. You can even purchase low-impact sparklers, which are said to be much safer to handle for young children.
Burn at the stake
If you long to watch a traditional bonfire during November, it is crucial to only burn raw, natural materials to reduce the level of toxins in the air: including untreated wood and garden waste. The Environmental Agency advises against burning plastics, rubber, oil or anything with a chemical coating. Most importantly, before you choose where to light your bonfire, check there are no small animals living amongst the garden foliage. Hedgehogs, water voles and squirrels could all be at risk during hibernation, so always look thoroughly to keep them safe.