By Ashley McDonald, WWF-Australia
What’s more terrifying than the haunting of ghosts, witches, and monsters? The sinister, looming threat of losing the planet we exist upon to climate change. Every October, this threat is multiplied by plastic waste made up of all things Halloween, from the costumes themselves and the packaging they’re sold in, to festive decorations and candy wrappers. WWF-Australia has compiled a list of five ways to make sure this Halloween is sustainable and safe for everyone.
1. Replace your plastic trick-or-treating bag with a reusable one.
Whether it’s a canvas bag your trick-or-treater can use again year-after-year or simply a pillowcase, it’s a small way to make a big impact on your plastic use this Halloween and every year from now on.
2. Go vintage, reused, or DIY.
Rather than buy a costume that you’ll most likely throw away after wearing once, create your own costume this Halloween. Not only will you avoid running the risk of wearing the same costume as someone else, but you’ll be reducing the estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste in costumes that are thrown away after Halloween each year in the UK. Rewearing old costumes or creating a unique costume from things you already own are great ways to make your Halloween a little greener. If you don’t have any old costumes lying around, think cowboy boots, old formal or bridesmaid dresses, and even browse your local thrift store!
3. Up your trick-or-treating game.
The big bag of fun-sized candy you traditionally buy at your local grocery store is often an easy option to give out to trick-or-treaters, but besides being full of preservatives, artificial flavours and colours, the wrappers are also single-use and non-recyclable. For a healthier and more environmentally friendly option, bake your own treats to give out! No-bake treats will save you a trip to the grocery store and the Earth. If you don’t have time to bake your own treats, consider giving out items like temporary tattoos, apples, or pencils.
4. Decorate eco-consciously.
As the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year, it’s problematic that many of the items we use to get into the Halloween spirit use heaps of plastic and are non-recyclable. This season, use natural decorations like gourds, pumpkins, and bales of hay to create that spooky atmosphere inside or outside your home, or get crafty with making your own festive banners that you can use again every year. Even solar-powered lights and soy candles are great ways to set the scene without all the waste (and running up your electricity bill).
5. Paint your face instead of masking it.
Rubber and plastic face masks for costumes that you’ll most likely only use once (and probably won’t wear most of the night anyway) count as single-use plastics, which are wasteful and environmentally irresponsible. The Earth will thank you for opting for cruelty-free, lead-free face paint or make-up this Halloween. You can even make your own fake blood with recipes found on Pinterest!