Pumpkins, spiders, scary movies, skeletons, and kids crawling over your lawn asking for candy: Halloween is here, and it’s getting spooky.
If you think Halloween is freaky on its own, think again. What’s even more disturbing than $2 shop skeletons hanging from your neighbour’s balcony, is the amount of waste produced annually on a single day of fun. It’s estimated almost $9 billion will be spent by Americans on Halloween this year, on items that end up in the rubbish the very next day. New Zealanders aren't exempt from this behaviour too.
The sad thing is, it’s 100% possible to have an eco-friendly Halloween. So why don't we? Considering the environment in your Halloween practices this year, will save you money, but add to your fun.
Here’s how to celebrate your very first 'Eco-Halloween':
It’s time to get crafty. Screw those plastic skeletons that only last a day on your porch in the weather! Find bits and bobs from around the house, and rummage through the craft cupboard. Instead of a boring shop to the mall to buy decorations identical to everyone else in your area, invite your friends over for a craft session.
Here’s some ideas to start you off:
- Recycled toilet paper roll pumpkin lanterns
- Upcycled egg carton bats
- Halloween terrariums
- Tissue box monsters
Not the crafty type? Check out your local second-hand shop. They always bring out their Halloween decorations during October. You’ll find treasures in great condition after being used for only 24 hours.
If you’re after the classic carved pumpkin decoration, reduce your ‘food miles’; opt for a New Zealand grown pumpkin. If you can’t find one in your area, try out creative ways of turning other fruit and vegetables into scary lanterns, NZ style.
Found a New Zealand grown pumpkin? Don’t forget to use every single part of it. Roast the seeds, mash the insides, and compost the skin when Halloween is over.
Halloween costumes come wrapped in packaging, are generally made from polyester/plastic, are used for one day only, and become redundant in your wardrobe. Let’s put an end to costume wastefulness this year.
Find a friend, and swap your costumes from last year. When you’re hunting for Halloween decorations at the second-hand shop, check out the costume section too. If you have a creative family member with time on their hands, see if they can help, or better yet, get creative in your own home. Old sheets can be turned into ghosts with a simple snip of the scissors, or get googling to spark even more ideas.
You know what would be the scariest thing on Halloween? Giving kids plastic wrapped lollies that they throw on the street seconds later.
That’s a big no from us, and the environment.
Hygiene standards and helicopter parents, mean it’s tricky to make your own zero-waste candy at Halloween.
Fortunately, there are alternative ways to gift eco-friendly treats:
- Tinfoil wrapped treats which can be recycled (like Hershey’s kisses)
- Use tongs to distribute bulk bin candy from a jar
- Gift a beautiful shell, a second-hand mini toy, or foreign coins
- Compostable packaging is growing in popularity: read the labels
Halloween is scary. The amount of waste produced, and pointless money spent on disposables, is enough to make a plastic spider look cute in comparison. Get creative, raid the second-hand shops, and if in doubt: go ask your mum.