From dress-ups, to frightful faces and trick-or-treating, Halloween has taken off in Australia. But the true horror is the use of plastic at Halloween - hidden away in our synthetic costumes, masks, wigs, candy wrappers, decorations, glitter and so on.
But like any holiday, Halloween offers an opportunity to go green without sacrificing an ounce of festive fun. With a bit of innovation, here’s how you can still have a plastic-free Halloween without spooking the planet:
Trick or Plastic-Free Treats.
You won’t be able to avoid the plastic that others hand out in their homes, but you can take charge of what treats you give the aliens and superheroes that appear at your door.
Go green with boxed raisins! A surprising number of candies come in paper boxes too, btw. You can also bulk-buy mixed sweets and put them into a paper bag. The bulk shop is your best friend! Embrace that habit, baby!
Another spookily good trick is to dust off that tub of loose change. Ask visiting ghosts to close their eyes and grab a handful. Stay away from plastic trinkets and give out wooden pencils, bamboo straws or friendship bracelets instead.
Ready for a scary statistic? Australia alone uses 6.9 billion plastic bags a year, of which 3.6 billion are plastic shopping bags.
Avoiding plastic bags is the environmentally conscious choice, whether it’s Halloween or a regular trip to the grocery store. Trick-or-treating offers a chance to go plastic-free and show off your creativity.
Instead of the plastic pumpkins, repurpose a pillowcase or tie together an old t-shirt to become a Halloween bag! You can also use other bags that you already have at home. To make your child’s bag (or yours!) stand out even more, paint a few decorative pictures onto them – with eco-friendly paint, of course. It’ll look cute AND it’ll hold more candy and be more durable.
Decorating the bag ahead of Halloween is also a fun craft activity to get everyone in the spirit, and you can re-use the bags year after year.
Painted pumpkins on our Organic Bulk Bags
Whether dressing up ourselves, our children or our pets - Halloween isn’t Halloween without the costumes! For many, it’s the most appealing part of Halloween! It is the chance to be whomever — or whatever — you want for the day. Carefully pulling together the perfect costume for trick or treating or a Halloween party is all part of the fun.
It’s estimated that the textile and apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of the world’s entire carbon impact. To cut back on your carbon footprint this Halloween, it’s also worth considering going completely zero waste on those costumes.
Start by shopping your own closet for things you already have, and take a DIY approach to your Halloween festivities. To make it more fun, do a clothes/costumes swap with friends and family!
If that doesn’t work for you, try renting a costume instead of buying one that you will only wear once.
Some of the most impressive Halloween looks are achieved by painting your face! You can transform yourself into almost anything from skeletons to aliens, completely waste-free! Pirates and princess outfits can be made ‘evil’ with black and white zombie-style face paints.
If you want to add a bit of glitter and glamour to your Halloween look, you can use biodegradable glitter from Glotatts to make sure that you’re not contributing to ocean plastic pollution!
Make the most of your pumpkin!
Carving a pumpkin is about as plastic-free as you can get. Kids love this experience because it’s messy and creative! Nothing screams Halloween more than a carved pumpkin jack-o-lantern glowing eerily on the doorstep. It’s estimated that more than six million Australians will celebrate Halloween this year, and demand for pumpkins is rocketing.
But this iconic Halloween tradition is generating horrifying food waste. The majority of Halloween pumpkins end up in the trash with faces carved into them, and then make their way to landfills, where they generate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
If you're feeling sufficiently spooked by that, there are a few alternatives to tossing your pumpkins in the trash:
- Roast the seeds for a tasty snack.
- Get into the festive mood and try baking a pumpkin pie!
- My personal favourite is pumpkin soup.
- Compost them: Have a compost bin at home? Throw your pumpkin right on in. If you don't, head to your local farmers market and you should be able to find one there.
Shop Food Savers.
Another true horror here comes down to the fact that Halloween decor is often cheap and non-recyclable, meaning it will inevitably, as all single-use items do, end up clogging a landfill somewhere, or be discarded in places animals use as habitats. Yikes! There are also reports of animals getting stuck in fake spider webs. This can’t be good.
Get crafty with DIY decorations that are recyclable or reusable! Try building an autumnal pumpkin display and create an eerie atmosphere with candles and jack-o’-lanterns, origami bats, or painted leaf ghosts. Play some spooky playlist as background music and you’re good to go!
If you already have plastic decorations, don’t throw them away! Instead, when the celebrations are over, keep them safe and use them again and again and again every year.
We need to retrain our habits. Plastic is not an essential Halloween accessory! Hopefully this shortlist will help you find a way to have a sustainable Halloween.