By Ellie Peach
Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays; however, it can prove incredibly wasteful unless you actively decide to be sustainable. With Halloween right around the corner, what better time than now to share our top tips for environmental consciousness this holiday season.
One of the largest issues with Halloween is the surge in cheaply made pieces of clothing and costumes produced around this time; often, pieces are bought to be worn once or twice before being discarded. This is usually because costumes aren't made to last, so they are often not even taken to thrift shops but thrown straight into landfills. To reduce your environmental impact, the best way to source your costume is to buy second hand on platforms like Depop and eBay or, better yet, thrift your pieces. This way you're utilising clothing that has already been made, and you will almost always be saving money.
Thrifting clothes means you won't be able to buy an actual costume that comes from a packet, so you have to make it yourself. This is a fun way to create a costume that is unique and personal. Before you shop, you should have some idea of what you want to dress up as, this way you won't feel overwhelmed when you see the racks of clothes that don't seem to relate to Halloween at all! Making a list of different costume ideas and what you need for each one is a way to keep on top of things. That way, you can look out for items on your list. Simple! It is a great way to stay organised and ensure you're not buying unnecessary pieces. For example, if you want to dress as an Angel, you would be looking out for white dresses, white high heels or boots and maybe some patterned tights. Breaking the outfit down in this way shows how easy it is to buy each piece rather than a cheap costume online. To finish the outfit try and accessorise with hats, jewellery and shoes you already have or invest in items you would wear outside of this halloween season, if you're able to! For example the LaBante ‘daisy white’ crossbody bag would pair so nicely for this angel costume.
As mentioned before, buying your clothes from thrift shops is perfect to cheaply make a costume that has a less damaging effect on the environment; however, sometimes you won't be able to find exactly what you're looking for. That's ok though as there are plenty of DIY's you can find online to help you! For example, the angel costume needed wings to be complete, but it's unlikely you would find any in thrift shops so why not make your own? Here is a great tutorial on how to make angel wings out of wire and plastic wrap from Pinterest : https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/583638432967709034/feedback/invite_code=a52a6f8dcfaf4c9eaf6ac8ba3544f3f1&sender_id=583638570368098328
Another way you can DIY your outfits is by cutting them up. With the rise in popularity of "subversive basics" this season, there are plenty of tutorials on how to turn your old tights into an edgy top for a matrix themed costume or any sort of rugged edgy costume. Dying and bleaching your clothes is another easy way to change your outfit to suit the Halloween theme more.
Now that you've sorted out your outfit you need to decorate your house! Again I would say definitely check your local thrift shops before you spend too much money on decorations, as people often discard theirs after Halloween has passed. You can find some unique pieces this way that might elevate the look of your house and impress your guests if you're having a Halloween party in your home. After checking thrift shops, you should browse for the things you want and don't impulse buy from the larger retailers as often these decorations are not made to last a long time and consequently are very bad for the environment. The best thing to do is find objects and items that you think you could keep for years to come. These might be pricier, but in the long run, you won't have to keep paying out for more, reducing your waste. I recommend looking at etsy for unique and sustainable Halloween decorations!
Undoubtedly one of the best parts of Halloween for kids is the candy! This year to ensure eco-consciousness you should be looking out for candy with recyclable or compostable packaging. This can be more expensive, however, especially if you usually get a lot of trick or treaters.
A great alternative is to bulk buy pick and mix sweets and make up your own goodie bags. Usually, the candy will come in big plastic tubs that can be recycled or reused for something else; this minimises the waste created by individually wrapped candy. You can find brown paper bags on amazon to make little pouches for each child, and you can always decorate them with Halloween themed designs or compostable washi tape!
The vegan candy co. make vegan sweet mixes if you want to buy pre prepared bundles, but it is a pricier option!.
Finally, pumpkin carving is great fun and adds a little extra to your house decorations, but there's no need for the usage to end there. Once you've scraped out all the pumpkin insides there are plenty of things you can make using each part! First of all, you should save the seeds. You can roast these with seasoning to create a healthy snack; here's a great recipe to help. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13839/spiced-pumpkin-seeds/
You can also plant the seeds and grow pumpkins for next year!
You can also make a puree or soup out of the stringy inside part of the pumpkin. Remember, if this is not for you, you should compost this part! The pumpkin itself can be made into all sorts of treats such as; pumpkin pie or even roasted wedges. Here are some more helpful recipes;https://sagecreationsfarm.com/roasted-pumpkin-soup-with-real-pumpkin/
Halloween doesn't have to break the bank or the planet, follow as many of the tips as you can to create the most sustainable Halloween ever!