In case you haven’t noticed by the thousands of pumpkin flavored foods now available (some being rather questionable), we’ve officially entered Fall. If you’re like me, this colorful season of apple crisp and crunchy leaves is home to your favorite holiday: Halloween! However excited we are to dress up for a night of candy and scaring each other, we should keep in mind how to reduce our waste and stay environmentally friendly. To prevent the need for surgical masks and sun-shielding clothing for future costumes due to climate change and pollution, I’ve compiled a list of ways to stay sustainable for Halloween.
Buying pre-made costumes is not only wasteful for your wallet, but for the environment as well. Costumes found in a store can cost upwards of $60 and are often imported and shipped from foreign nations, heightening carbon emissions along the way. In addition, driving from costume store to costume store wastes energy and produces even more pollution. Instead, it’s better to repurpose old clothes and props around your house, or borrow a costume from a friend. I’ve found that my homemade costumes were always much better received than any store bought costumes!
If you’re having a party or decorating your house, don’t use disposable utensils, cups, decorations, etc. Fake webbing and plastic holiday themed plates can look festive, but can add a lot of unnecessary waste to our landfills. Use regular cups and plates, and decorations that can be brought out year after year. Although you’ll have to wash the kitchenware after the party, you’ll feel better knowing you cut back on trash.
Whether you go trick-or-treating or not, it’s inevitable you’ll find yourself mummified in candy wrappers. Rather than tossing them, save them to make a cool craft. You can make just about anything from wreaths, to curtains, coasters, or even clothing! Just try to open your candy carefully so the wrappers are whole and easier to use.
When shopping for pumpkins, gourds, or other fall produce, support your local community and purchase from a farmers market or nearby pumpkin patch. Similar to buying a pre-made costume, purchasing out-of-state produce can generate tons of carbon emissions from transportation. Plus, it’s better to invest in the local farmers than to support big businesses (that have enough money).
Bonus tip: When carving your pumpkin, hold onto the seeds and excess to make some delicious pumpkin snacks!
Rather than wasting energy driving to another neighborhood, trick-or-treat right where you live. You won’t have to worry about rides, and you can show off your costume to your own neighbors. (Pro advice: people who personally know you tend to give you more candy!) If you live in the country or on a street with few houses, consider carpooling with friends to a nearby neighborhood to prevent many cars going to the same place.
As you can see, staying sustainable for Halloween is as easy as getting free candy! The best part is, going the environmentally-friendly route usually ends up being more fun. Why would you want to buy a pumpkin at Walmart when you can spend the day at a cool pumpkin patch? The answer is, you wouldn’t. So, remember to reduce your waste and emissions. If not, we might have to start canoeing from house to house to trick-or-treat because of rising sea levels!