Halloween is a pagan and folkloric celebration originating from ancient Celtic harvest festivals 3,000 years ago. During the Gaelic festival Samhain, celebrating the beginning of winter on the 31st of October, the belief was that the boundary between the human world and the world of the dead could be crossed. Traditionally associated with magic, mystery and superstition, Halloween is now more about costumes, sweets and decorations which can have an impact on the environment.
The recent momentum on plastic pollution makes us rethink how we can celebrate this event in an eco-friendly way. This week, Camille Chirat, Brand Partnership Executive at TerraCycle, shares her tips for a greener Halloween.
Make your own costume
Many Halloween costumes are made on the other side of the world, mainly with plastics and a lot of them are disposed of after the party. To avoid this, you can easily create your own costume to reduce your impact of the environment:
- Dig into your closet and second-hand shops to find old clothes and fabrics that can be used to create your costume. Check out Pinterest and other internet sites to find inspiration and easy DIY Halloween costumes.
- Swap costumes with friends and neighbours for a collaborative Halloween.
- You can also hire your costume from a costume store and return it after the party
Make your own eco-friendly decorations
Like costumes, Halloween decorations are mostly made from plastics and often end up in the bin after the event. However, Halloween is the perfect occasion to upcycle discarded objects to create a terrifying atmosphere. Use your creativity (or the internet’s creativity within the magic world of DIY) to decorate your house at a low cost to you and to the planet.
For example, create pumpkin decorations from recycled books, transform rusty metal objects into monsters, use trash bags to make spider webs, reuse jugs to frame glowing spirits or also build tombstones from cardboards. For more ideas, visit some eco-friendly DIY pages on Pinterest, or check out this website or this blog.
Eat eco-friendly treats
Halloween is the day during which sweets and candies reign supreme. Whether it is for your family, friends or the neighbour’s children who knock on your door saying “trick or treat”, there are alternative ways to give (and eat!) sweets more responsibly:
- Choose candies without animal gelatine or food additives by carefully reading the products’ composition or by buying directly on dedicated websites, for example Planet Organic or Ethical Superstore.
- Buy bulk candies or a big packaging instead of individuals.
- Choose cakes and sweets produced through organic farming and fair trade.
- Halloween is the perfect time to get creative with food and bake your own Halloween treats. Find some recipe examples on the BBC good food website or on this article from the Delish website.
If you are looking for inspiration, check out the amazing cupcakes that Clémence Vasseur, New Solutions Project Manager at TerraCycle, baked for the office:
Throw a green Halloween party
Halloween is a great excuse to gather friends and family. Here are some tips to organise your sustainable party:
- Decorate your house with locally grown and organic pumpkins. Do not forget to cook the pumpkin flesh to avoid food waste! Find great pumpkin-based recipes on this website. Why not try making a pumpkin hummus ?
- Use reusable cutlery instead of disposable plastic forks, knives and plates.
- Carry reusable bags instead of plastic bags while collecting candies from the neighbourhood
- Encourage your guests to use car-sharing, public transports or bikes.
- Recycle your candy wrappers with TerraCycle! Check out our Zero Waste Box for crisps bags, snack packaging and sweet wrappers
We hope you find these tips helpful! If you have other advice for an eco-friendly and zero waste Halloween, do not hesitate to share them in the comments section!