Halloween is a fun time of year that brings laughter, joy, and the occasional shriek, to children and adults alike. For those of us endeavoring for a sustainable lifestyle, balancing that festive feeling with an eco-friendly way of life can be daunting. Billions of dollars are spent every year on disposable costumes and decorations, mainly fashioned from plastic, that will quickly be discarded and sent to landfills. But Halloween and sustainability are not incompatible concepts. Here are some easy tips for celebrating responsibly.
1. Steer clear of the dollar store
For Halloween enthusiasts, it’s tempting to get into the spooky spirit by rushing off to the dollar store and splurging on a variety of plastic decorations. Resist the temptation. Dollar stores are increasingly ubiquitous because they offer a cornucopia of cheap, disposable items. But the dangers of microplastics are far scarier than any horror movie. Please consider the ramifications for our planet before buying plastic decorations that will be thrown away on November 1st.
Getting creative can help you avoid single use plastics. Fake blood can be made from items you might have in your pantry, all you need is corn syrup, chocolate syrup, and some red food coloring. A scarecrow for your front lawn can be fashioned from things like old clothes you already have lying around. Likewise, if you have old sheets you can add some ghosts for a haunted house. If you’re missing something at home, secondhand and consignment stores are a better option than buying something new.
For that ghoulish visage, see what you can do with every-day makeup like eyeliner and lipstick, rather than buying a novelty makeup kit. When the clock strikes midnight and it’s all over, Uppwell’s eco-friendly beauty pack will help you wipe away the makeup so you can once again join the land of the living
2. Walk, don’t drive
If possible, take your kids trick or treating in your neighborhood rather than driving to another area. The same goes for buying your pumpkin. A locally produced pumpkin from an organic farm has the smallest carbon footprint.
If trick or treating in your area isn’t possible this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, try to satisfy your sweet tooth by making treats at home. Opting for homemade desserts over individually packaged candy can prevent unnecessary waste.
3. Unplug the decorations
A recent decorative trend popping up in many neighborhoods are large Halloween inflatables. These decorations are scary for all the wrong reasons. Beyond their use of plastics, many of these inflatables require the use of an air blower running in perpetuity. As we strive for sustainable living, avoiding unnecessary energy use is an important step.
4. Get creative with your pumpkin
The insides of a pumpkin that get scooped out to make that scary Jack-O’-Lantern can be put to good use. Pumpkin pie is just the beginning. Fresh pumpkin is an incredibly versatile and healthy addition to so many recipes. From soup to ravioli to waffles, your use of pumpkin is only limited by your imagination.
Ever had a pumpkin smoothie? Just add fresh pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, yogurt, milk, and banana for a delightful, nutritious start to your day. It tastes even better when sipped with eco-friendly reusable straws.
And don’t forget pumpkin seeds can be toasted for a delicious snack. Use UppWell’s salt and pepper grinder set made from sustainable wood to kick the flavor up a notch.
Humans aren’t the only species that find pumpkin delectable. If you live in an area with local wildlife like deer and squirrels, spread the joy! Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and scatter it for your animal neighbors. Just be careful not to do this too close to your house unless you’re looking for some new roommates.
5. Don’t be trendy
Certain Halloween and horror symbols are timeless and iconic: vampires, ghosts, witches, zombies etc. Costumes and decorations based on these evergreen concepts can be dusted off every year and counted on for their requisite spookiness. On the other hand, chances are that costumes based on up-to-the-minute pop culture references will fade from memory and be useless next year. Frankenstein never goes out of style, but people will be scratching their heads at that Joe Exotic costume come 2021.