Halloween is right around the corner! It’s the one day of the year when you can pretend to be anything you want, enjoy all things pumpkin, and eat a few too many sweets. But did you know there are a few spooky aspects to Halloween? No, we’re not talking about the ghosts and ghouls, but the frightful amount of waste generated as a result of Halloween.
It’s estimated that Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween. To put that into perspective, that’s the weight of six Titanic ships. Every Halloween, one pound of waste is generated per trick-or-treater. That’s a lot of plastic wrappers that will eventually end up in our landfills.
Unfortunately, the Halloween waste doesn’t end there. Decorations and costumes are a big part of the waste as well. In 2019, Americans spent an estimated $9 billion on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations. Not only are store-bought costumes expensive, but they are often filled with toxic chemicals. Since most people only wear their Halloween costumes one time, the holiday generates about 12 millions tons of textile waste each year.
Although the pandemic is likely to put a damper on much of the celebrations this year, we can still utilize the following tips to celebrate a more environmentally friendly Halloween.
5 Tips To Enjoy a Green Halloween This Year
Decorate Naturally: Fall is full of beautiful, natural decor, including pumpkins, gourds, and seasonal flowers. Unlike traditional Halloween decorations made from unrecyclable plastic, natural decorations like pumpkins and flowers can be enjoyed during the entire fall season, and then composted when the season comes to an end. Check out more on American Lifestyle magazine.
Buy Sustainable Candy: Candy wrappers are one of the most wasteful aspects of Halloween. Instead of buying candy with plastic wrappers, opt for candy in cardboard boxes (which can be recycled) or compostable wrappers instead. Alter Eco makes chocolate truffles wrapped in compostable wrappers. Also, choose chocolates that are Fair Trade Certified. After all, October is National Fair Trade Month. Learn more about Fair Trade here.
Trick or Treating: Many cities are discouraging trick or treating this year and are suggesting virtual alternatives like holding costume contests and pumpkin carving over zoom. Holding small, socially distant gatherings outside is another way to celebrate safely.
Use the Whole Pumpkin: Most people purchase pumpkins as decor, unaware of the many other ways they can be used. Challenge yourself this year to use the entire pumpkin. After Halloween, cut open your pumpkins and roast the seeds. Or, take the seeds and plant them; they will grow into new pumpkins. You can also roast the entire pumpkin, and scoop the flesh away from the rind to make a pumpkin puree. Everything that’s leftover is completely compostable, so there’s no waste. Check out more on Green Matters website.
Sustainable Costumes: Every year we purchase new costumes that are only worn once and then disposed of in a landfill. If you don’t already have your costume this year, put something together from the items you already have in your closet. Or, find a local costume exchange in your community. After Halloween has come and gone, donate your costume so someone else can enjoy it as their new costume next year.
Bonus Tip: Plant-Based Pizza Party!
Looking for a sustainable treat to celebrate Halloween this year? Check out these plant-based Halloween pizzas from Anja Lee Catering!
Here’s what you’ll need to put this spooky treat together: