Halloween Doesn't Have to Be a Horror Show
The nights are drawing in… there’s a chill in the air… spooky season has officially arrived. But it’s not the creatures lurking in the dark that are haunting us at Homethings HQ – the amount of plastic waste produced each year is pretty damn terrifying.
According to research done in 2019, every year in the UK around 30 million people get all dressed up and ready to get their trick-or-treat on, with around 90% of these costumes being brand new. And although they should be great for years to come (that ‘sexy frankenstein’ costume never gets old) a massive 7 million of these will be chucked away. 83% of the material used to make Halloween costumes is plastic (around 69% being polyester), which means a hell of a lot of plastic waste going straight to landfill each year – the equivalent of 83 million drinks bottles – and that’s before we’ve even thought about the rubbish produced by decorations and sweet wrappers.
Whilst costumes tend to be the biggest single-use culprit, the UK’s petrifying pumpkin habits are also pretty bonkers. 95% of all pumpkins bought annually are related to Halloween, and of the 33 million pumpkins carved up each year, 14.5 million meet a deadly end in landfill. Not only is this a pretty sad waste of a nutritious, delicious crop, but it’s also bad news for the environment – as pumpkins in landfill decompose anaerobically (without the presence of oxygen) and produce methane, which is 26x more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
That’s enough of the scary stuff. The gourd (🎃) news is that there’s a tonne of easy ways to make this holiday shockingly sustainable.
COSTUMES AND DECORATIONS
Reuse it: Whip out the ghost-costumes of Halloween's past and give it another lease of life. And if it really doesn’t feel like the one, speak to family and friends (or pop to your local charity shop) to see what they have lurking in the closet.
Rent it: There are hundreds of costume rental shops around the UK, full of the spooky, scary, and saucy costumes of your dreams – so you can support a small business and also help a costume to live on. Mad Hatter’s Fancy Dress and Express Yourself are just a few to help you get your search started.
DIY it: It doesn’t matter if you can sew together an outfit like a pro, or are more of a give it a go with a glue gun kind of person. The internet is packed full of easy costume ideas that can be made out of things already lurking around your home (our Homethings recommendation is sexy Spongethings - cute + compostable).
Just because you don’t want to hand out plastic wrapped chocs doesn’t mean you have to become the satsuma-offering enemy of your street. There are loads of single-use-plastic-free treats out there.
There are loads of foiled wrapped chocolates out there, in store and online. These mini Tony’s Chocolonely bars are some of our personal favourites, as well as the classic Smarties tubes, and new plastic-free Quality Streets. And if you’re more of a sweets > chocolate person (we can agree to disagree on that one) our favourite plastic-free treat are candy sticks.
There are loads of ways to cook up a pumpkin, from soups to curries to pasta sauces (my personal favourite) and even pumpkins labelled as ‘carving pumpkins’ are completely edible (just slightly more hollow, to make cutting it less chaotic). Have a sweet tooth? What about a pumpkin cheesecake or an apple + pumpkin crumble?
And if pumpkin just isn’t for you, compost is the way to go. Take out the candle, cut into smaller pieces (to make sure it can break down properly), and add it to a compost heap or your food recycling bin. OR go rogue and carve something else this year (satsumas and peppers are some of the cutest for sure).