This Sunday is Halloween. Below are some tips and tricks for making your celebration a more sustainable one.
Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high of about $10 billion, up from $8 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. This mostly is due to costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards. The amount of waste created from these items -- from single-use costumes to plastic candy wrappers -- is significant but can be avoided. Reducing waste and choosing more sustainable options means fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a healthier holiday.
Costumes: Before you go out and buy a new costume or new clothing/accessories to use for your costume, see if you already have anything you can use. You also can check out local thrift stores like the ones mentioned here, or vintage boutiques, which always have great costume pieces. Or talk to your friends, family or local Buy Nothing group to see if you can swap previously worn costumes.
Decorations: Luckily, one of the best decorations for Halloween is a vegetable -- the pumpkin. Most people just toss their pumpkin after they are done carving it or using it as a decoration. Instead, try roasting the seeds for a healthy snack or using the remaining pumpkin flesh in recipes like these, or you can fill the pumpkin with seeds to feed wildlife. Finally, make sure to compost your pumpkin. You can drop it off at one of Hillside Solutions/Dundee Bank’s free pumpkin composting collection sites. For other decorations, try to reuse materials and create your own - such as turning ripped stockings into spider webs -- or purchase durable decorations that can be used every year.
Candy: Look for treats with minimal packaging and/or those packaged in recycled materials or choose alternatives to the typical candy options. Some of the world’s largest candy companies have a large environmental impact, through deforestation, species extinction and emissions from the harvesting of sugar, palm oil and cocoa beans. Products with certifications like organic and fair trade are generally safer options, or you can hand out healthier options like popcorn or juice boxes. Contrary to popular belief, lots of kids and parents alike will be happy to have a better variety in their bucket.
This Halloween, don’t just think orange -- think green.