How to Have an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and with it comes an increase in spending and waste as costumes are purchased, houses decorated, and sweets consumed. Below are ways to have a happy, planet-friendly Halloween.

Eco Halloween tips

Decorations

Halloween means a few things, the first of which is decoration. While UK homes rarely become the massive houses of horror that North American homes can become, families still like to string spider webs on their railings and put carved pumpkins on their stoops. Unfortunately, many Halloween decorations prove to be only one-time use products, and those that last tend to be made from plastic which can contain toxins such as BPA (bisphenol A) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

Natural materials are the first way to go, and a more traditional method of decorating. Use carved pumpkins (whose seeds you can then roast for eating), gourds, the traditional Samhain turnip (all of which can be composted later); bales of hay, corn husks or even make a scarecrow! Homemade decorations made out of recyclable materials are also a great idea, and one you can get your kids involved in. You can make spiders out of egg cartons, headstones and “Keep Out” signs out of scrap cardboard or cereal boxes, and hanging ghosts out of scrap fabric and an old wire clothes hanger. Anything you can think of you can make at home!

Costumes

Dressing up is what Halloween is all about for kids, and while some might opt for the traditional bed sheet ghost costume, others choose to be princesses, zombies, or Batman. But transforming your toddler means money spent on a costume they might not use again, often made out of polyester and sometimes setting you back over £20!

So how do you help save money and the planet? Dip into your child’s wardrobe to help build up a costume, or go to a thrift store; rent a costume; build props like swords from recyclable materials (cardboard and tinfoil are good ones); use non-toxic face paint such as the Grimas Face Paints brand; and opt for masks made of cloth or natural latex, which avoids the PVC founds in regular plastic masks. And as for that plastic pumpkin your child will take trick-or-treating, instead give them a pillowcase, a reusable shopping bag, or a wicker basket.

Sweets

Few parents want their house to be the one known for giving out healthy snacks, but handing out sweets has become more difficult. Homemade sweets are often met with suspicion, and with the rise in nut allergies you want to purchase sweets that will be safe for everyone. For chocolate, Divine Fair Trade Chocolate is a good option, as not only do they sell full size chocolate bars, but also slim 45g bars, and 4.25g mini bars. Yummy Earth offers organic fruit lollipops and organic individually wrapped drops, and Traidcraft has bags of fair trade, individually wrapped pieces of fudge.

As always, organic and fair trade food can be a bit pricier than its Kraft or Cadbury counterparts, but often times it is better for you and for the planet (and it can taste better too).

Happy Halloween!

+Kate Fathers

Image indigoprime @ Flickr

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