Don’t be Haunted by Waste this Halloween!

By Emma Counce, Outreach Coordinator

Halloween is a fang-tastic holiday! But, things like brand-new costumes, single-use decorations, spooky party waste, and more can definitely make this time of year scary in more ways than one. Here are some tips for how you can keep it festive without being haunted by your waste.

Costumes – Eighty-five percent of costumes are thrown away almost immediately after Halloween each year. That’s a lot of textile waste! Instead of buying pre-made, brand-new costumes each year, consider borrowing or swapping costumes with some friends. Another great option is thrifting or shopping second hand for your creative costume ideas. If you need something simple to complete the look, better to buy it secondhand! You can also use clothes and items you already have. Get creative, and chances are you can use that shirt you never wear to make the perfect costume. 

Pumpkins – Carving pumpkins may be one of the best parts of Halloween, but what do you do with all of those pumpkins come November? Here’s an idea: When you scoop out all the insides, keep your seeds! It is so simple to add a little salt and olive oil and roast the seeds; they’re delicious. As for the rest of the goop, opt for composting the insides you scoop instead of just throwing them away. If your pumpkin is still in good condition at the end of the Halloween season, you can eat the pumpkin itself. Pumpkin pie, muffins, or many pumpkin treats exist. Just search for some recipes! If it is no longer worth eating, compost the whole pumpkin.

Decorations – Many decorations are not edible or compostable. Plastic skulls and fake spider webs that get used once and tossed at the end of the month can haunt a landfill for many generations to come. It’s best to use natural decorations such as pumpkins and gourds. What’s even better is to buy them locally! Check out Chicory Market or one of Oxford’s farmers markets to pick out your own local pumpkin. This helps farmers and reduces greenhouse gas emissions! If you still want some variety in decor, check out this website for some good DIY Halloween decoration ideas using things you already own.

Party – Now that you’ve got a costume, some pumpkins, and some spooky decor, you might as well throw a Halloween party! Use reusable plates, cups, and silverware at your party instead of disposable options. Also go ahead and set up a couple of recycling bins for any cans, bottles, or other waste that will happen at your gathering. Try and make your own snacks. Individually wrapped candies can accumulate waste quickly since the wrappers are not recyclable. It’s also easier to find organic or non-GMO ingredients when you’re making your own treats.

Overall, before things get too spooky just be mindful. It’s easy to get caught up in convenience when you’re celebrating and having fun! Just remember to stop and think about how you can make your own sustainable changes and teach your friends and family too. Happy Halloween!

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