Your guide to a green Halloween

Halloween is one of the biggest decorating holidays in the calendar, but a lot of the decorating items created for the season are unsustainable and non-recyclable. Here are some handy tips to ensure you have fun at Halloween without costing the earth.

1 - Use up your pumpkins
Every year millions of pumpkins end up in landfill after Halloween, discarded after the holiday. When left to decompose in landfill, they produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas that’s more potent than carbon dioxide. So what to do? Use leftover pumpkin to make soups, mash or desserts, save the seeds to replant, or bake them and eat them as a savoury snack. And avoid painting your carved pumpkin so you can compost it safely once Halloween is over.

2 - Make your own decorations
Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year, but many store-bought decorations are made from non-recyclable plastics. Use natural products such as pumpkins, straw bales, branches and leaves for decorating, or repurpose old tights to make spider webs, and don’t forget the good old cardboard box – perfect for cutting up and painting to turn into tombstones. Use old bedsheets or t-shirts to create flying ghosts.

Home made Halloween GhostOlya Detry via Shutterstock

3 - Buy or bake eco-friendly treats
While it’s tempting and low-cost to buy big bags of single-serve chocolates and candies to hand out at Halloween, it’s not very sustainable. Purchase organic, free trade chocolates made without soy lecithin or organic lollipops and sweets. Or hand out non-edible treats such as colouring pencils, Halloween cookie cutters or packets of playing cards. If you're hosting a Halloween party, bake themed treats like cookies and cupcakes to save money while being sustainable.

4 - Use reusable carriers
Instead of buying seasonal plastic buckets to collect candy, opt for pillowcases or canvas bags. If you want to feel extra virtuous, bring an extra bag with you when you go trick or treating to collect any rubbish you see along the way.

5 - Go DIY for costumes

While shiny new costumes bought instore or online look appealing, they’re unlikely to be worn more than once or twice and are often made from cheap synthetic materials – and end up in landfill. Get creative and make costumes from old clothes or go thrifting. Old shirts, dresses and cowboy boots are all great starting points for DIY costumes and won’t cost a thing – plus it’s a great way to get creative with the kids.

Halloween Ghost CostumeYana Vasileva via Shutterstock