As the temperature drops, leaves fall, and spooky season lingers around the corner, it’s important to pay attention to the environmental impact of many people’s favorite time of the year and celebration. Here are 5 ways to have a sustainable Halloween without sacrificing the fun and festivities of the autumnal season.

Photo: Erica Marsland Huynh

5 Ways To Have A Sustainable Halloween

1. Choose Upcycled Costumes

A report from the National Retail Federation published that Halloween spending is back to the pre-2020 levels and is estimated to reach $10.6 billion for the 2022 holiday. 70 million Halloween costumes are estimated to be thrown away and enter landfills each year. Making your own costume from materials already owned or purchasing a costume second-hand is a great way to keep more plastic, garments, and costumes from landfills or entering the oceans. Not only will it save you money, but it will help give a costume worn once if not a few times more, a longer life.

Other Solution:

  • If you don’t like thrift shopping or have stores close to you, ask people you know to have a pre-Halloween costume swap so everyone can trade costumes or costume pieces from previous years to find the right one for this year’s festivities.
  • This time of the year calls for creativity in all forms. You could dress up like your favorite character from a book, tv show, video game, or movie. A pro tip is to use Pinterest as a way to see how you may style clothing you already have.

2. Choose Eco-Friendly Decorations & Say No To Glitter

I understand this comes on many costumes—you can’t help this. The solution would be to avoid purchasing new or more glitter. Glitter isn’t environmentally friendly and “eco-friendly glitter” isn’t better. Anyone saying glitter can be recycled or broken down is greenwashing/lying. Glitter is a microplastic and microplastics aren’t biodegradable. They can’t be broken down. Try to avoid glitter in any way you can.

Other Solutions:

  • Avoid PVC plastic because it’s known to be a threat to both human health and the environment.

Check out this blog post about budgeting to help make tough decisions easier as you decide what to purchase and walk away from this holiday season, to avoid overconsumption and waste.

3. Buy Treats Without Plastic

Purchase reusable trick-or-treating bags or reuse things already around the house. Additionally, when shopping for treats, there are many that come without plastic. But if you’re having difficulty, try to find and purchase items that come in reusable and non-plastic containers. If that’s not available at your stores then purchase items with as less single-use plastic or plastic in general as possible.

4. Properly Dispose Of Pumpkins

Pumpkins are organic waste and can be composted. Simply cut up the pumpkin into smaller pieces and add them to your home’s compost bin or call your town’s waste center to drop them off. Many local gardening clubs will also take leftover pumpkins and dispose of them—do a bit of googling to see what your town or city offers.

5. Respect The Earth

While out trick or treating, commuting, enjoying a spooky outdoor movie night, or a Halloween party, it’s important to be respectful to the outdoors and the earth in general. One of the easiest ways to do this is to practice “no trace” which means exactly what it sounds like—leaving a place as if you were never there. This means making sure that all trash and things that aren’t naturally outdoors are cleaned up and properly disposed of.

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