Plastic waste is a huge problem in the UK. Our recycling rates fell last year and in 2016 we threw away 16 million plastic bottles every single day. The oceans are swirling with plastics that take 500 years to break down. Landfill runoff seeps into groundwater, releases toxic fumes and can damage our health and the environment.
To have a more eco-friendly Halloween we need to stop using so much plastic, reuse what’s already in existence and recycle more.
Many of us want to cut back on plastic use, so here’s how to enjoy plastic free Halloween without a bin that’s full to the brim.
Plastic Free Halloween Decorations
Give those plastic spider webs, gravestones and skeletons a miss. Here are some other creative plastic free Halloween ideas.
Carving a pumpkin is about as plastic free as you can get. Kids love this experience because it’s messy and creative. Choose a variety of squashes and pop in a candle when you’re done. You could even try carving a pineapple. Feed leftover pumpkin seeds to the birds and compost the pumpkin when Halloween is over.
Use string to create an authentic looking spider web or a creepy dream catcher.
Make misshapen mushrooms from clay and paint them strange and spooky colours.
Cut out bat shapes from black recycled paper and hang them upside down on natural twine. Recycle them again afterwards!
Play spooky music – it really sets the atmosphere and creates zero waste.
If you’re after a scary outdoor decoration then stuff some clothes with newspaper for an old fashioned scarecrow. Place it in a wheelbarrow or chair by the front door.
Only Buy Plastic to Reuse
If you’re not keen on crafting, or don’t have time, look for decorations in charity shops. They are full of plastic free Halloween themed bits in October and give a double whammy of good feelings.
If you are going to buy plastic, look for good quality decorations. These are reusable year-on-year unlike the cheap breakable ornaments you’ll throw in the bin after a day’s use.
Healthy, Spooky Food
Halloween food is great fun to make and doubles up as a decoration. The most simple Halloween food involves fruit. Here’s a couple of ideas:
Cut a banana in half, stand it on the flat end, then use raisins to make eyes and a mouth.
Create mini pumpkins by pushing a stick of celery or cucumber into the centre of a peeled satsuma. Or hand your kids unpeeled ones to draw spooky faces on.
Not a chocolate in sight!
Keeping the Trick or Treat Brigade Happy
Trick or treating is part and parcel of Halloween and the ghouls expect treats. If you’re going to answer your door make it a plastic free welcome.
Go green with boxed raisins so you don’t contribute to tooth decay. Or bulk buy mixed sweets and put them into a paper bag.
Small chocolate bars are often wrapped in foils that can’t be recycled because they’re made of mixed materials. The pick and mix section of the supermarket is more environmentally friendly.
Another spookily good trick is to dust off that tub of loose change. Ask visiting ghosts to close their eyes and grab a handful.
If your child is trick or treating send them out with a cloth bag or a reusable tub you can use each year. Every bit of reused plastic makes a 500 year difference to the environment.
Wearing Eco-Friendly Halloween Costumes
When it comes to costumes you don’t have to buy new ones each October. Rethink what you have. That Harry Potter costume could be perfect for Halloween.
Pirates and princess outfits can be made ‘evil’ with black and white zombie-style face paints. There’s nothing like a living-dead Olaf to scare you witless.
You could also consider renting a Halloween costume. Renting is becoming more popular because kids grow quickly and get an awful lot of chocolate on them.
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Plastic Is Not an Essential Halloween Accessory
There are plenty of ways to join in the fun with homemade decorations and healthy, compostable foods.
In fact, children often prefer crafting their own over shop bought items. Halloween is the perfect time to ditch the single use plastic and get your kids into the spooky crafting spirit.
Next stop – a plastic free Christmas?