Updated: Dec 1, 2020
With October 31st right around the corner, people around the country are getting ready for what will be a very unique Halloween. Even though most people will likely not be Trick-or-Treating or going to large gatherings this year, it is still important to keep climate change and sustainability in mind while you enjoy your spooky night.
Whether you are dressing up as a witch, zombie, or even a character from the video game Among Us, your costume is the first place to start with sustainability. Despite their convenience, most store-bought costumes are the embodiment of fast fashion. With the combination of low-quality materials, sketchy manufacturing conditions, and limited use, the costume you wear for just one night ends up doing more harm than good. Instead of buying a brand-new costume, you can save money and help the planet by reusing one from past Halloweens or even create your own! Making a Halloween costume from scratch can be a lot easier than it sounds. To boost up your sustainability game one more level, try using things you already have at home. Go through your closet and see what you have. Whether it's an old graduation gown, prom dress, or even just a plain t-shirt, with a little creativity and arts and crafts, you can transform the most mundane pieces into out-of-this-world, spooktacular creations!
Now that you have your costume, it's time to decorate! Even if you plan on spending the night watching horror movies, snuggling up under a blanket, and eating candy, decorations can transform your space from boring to festive. But wait! Before you splurge on any decorations, keep sustainability in mind. Like many costumes, most store-bought Halloween decorations are produced with plastics and unrecyclable materials. Instead of spending more money on decorations that will harm the environment, consider more natural decorations such as pumpkins, hay, or even creating your own. You can recycle used cardboard boxes into tombstones, worn-out stockings into cobwebs, and old bedsheets into creepy ghosts. There are so many items you have lying around your home that can easily be transformed into the perfect decorations for the spookiest night of the year.
Talking about decorations, one of the most iconic Halloween traditions is carving jack-o'-lanterns. Pumpkins are the perfect Halloween decoration, but make sure you are taking the right steps to ensure nothing necessary ends up wasted. To lower your carbon footprint, purchase locally grown pumpkins from farmer's markets and local grocers. Once you have your pumpkin and are ready to carve it, save the fillings, and use them to make delicious fall treats such as pie, soup, bread. The possibilities are endless. Once your pumpkin begins rotting, dispose of it responsibly. Rather than throwing it away, try composting!
Okay, you have your costume and decorations all set, and now it is time for everyone’s favorite: candy! Although it can be difficult, try to see if you can find sustainably packaged candy. Keep in mind that candy made from natural ingredients without artificial coloring or GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) is much better for both you and the planet. You can consider swapping out candy for responsibly packaged snacks and other goodies or even give out “sustainability starter packs” with tips on sustainability and the necessities for sustainable living. Who knows? Maybe you will have the coolest treats on the block.
If you are going trick-or-treating, remember to social distance and bring a reusable bag or pillowcase to collect your well-earned candy. Although you can take steps towards spending your Halloween sustainably, not everyone will have the environment in mind while preparing for scary festivities. After coming home from trick-or-treating, dispose of all your candy wrappers responsibly, recycle what can be recycled, and throw away the rest.
Now that you have your costume, decorations, candy, and know the best way to have an environmentally conscious Halloween, it’s time to have some fun. Enjoy your special night, knowing you are doing everything in your power to combat climate change! If any of these ideas are getting you excited, share them with your friends. The more people who make sustainably-minded decisions this Halloween night, the bigger impact it will have on our fight against global warming.