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Before anything else, I should say I’m a massive fan of Halloween. Always have been, always will be. Every year, I make a costume that I can wear. I decorate my little apartment with pumpkins, ghosts, and other little knickknacks. I even have pumpkin mugs, which are great for Halloween-inspired alcoholic drinks. (My favorite is this spooky bourbon butterbeer).

Universal Studios Japan has its Halloween Horror Nights, so I’m there as much as I can be, too.

Since I gave away my geeky side a little bit, I’d love to hear about your stories! If you have something that you like to do on or for Halloween, let me know on Instagram, Twitter, or wherever you’re at!

Halloween, spooky ghost, dress up, costume

Halloween is spooky in more than just one way.

It’s the one time of the year where we can be anything we want, so everyone is always very excited. We might open up an online costume store and do some browsing, put a few things in the cart and give it a think. Do we want the cute Alice in Wonderland costume or the cool vampire slayer?

If we live near a costume store, we might drive out and try something on. And if it fits the way we want it to, then why not buy it?

Halloween is a fun, spooky holiday, but it’s also quite wasteful.

The costumes we buy are usually cheaply made and then thrown away or forgotten in our closet forever. And at least 67% of people in the US alone buy a Halloween costume each year. It’s most likely that these costumes are made using oil-based plastics.

A one-time-use, fast fashion disaster.

We all know that fast fashion has a negative impact on the environment. It causes river pollution, leads to structural poverty, and uses cheap, plasticky materials that are bad for the environment and for us! Most of all, fast fashion is cheap and makes us think that it’s OK to throw it away.

Not to mention its packaging! That’s 30% of the waste around this time of the year, including candy wrappers (which, no, are not recyclable).

Halloween, pumpkins, pumpkin field, jack o'lantern

 

 

 

Fast fashion isn’t the only problem.

Every year, leftover pumpkins create thousands of tons of food waste. In the UK alone, 25% of people who buy pumpkins for Halloween simply throw them away afterwards. That’s a whopping 18,000 tons, which is the same as 360 million portions of pumpkin pie.

How could you throw away so much delicious pumpkin pie??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does COVID-19 change this narrative?

Somewhat. In 2020, costume shops had so little demand that the little ones barely survived. With costume parties, block parties, and Halloween bar crawls all canceled due to the virus, it was mainly kids costumes that were still selling. But they were still selling.

We’re looking to see another spooky COVID Halloween in a couple days, but this one’s a little more open. Many of us already have the vaccine, so costumes sales are likely to be up again.

So how can I make my Halloween more sustainable?

I’m sure we’ve all seen those last-minute DIY costumes or been given the make-it-out-of-your-own-closet advice.

There’s still more you can do, and a lot of it is really easy!

thrift store, Halloween, thrifty, secondhand

If you’ve yet to go to a thrift store, this is the time!

Thrift stores are great places to find the most unique pieces. You need a large faux fur jacket? You’ve got it – in pink, more likely! Looking for a vampire cloak to go with your last-minute-acquired fangs? You’re likely to find something that fits your image at a thrift store – even if it’s the remnants of someone else’s old Halloween costume.

One quick tip here is to go in with an idea of what you want AND it’s picture. That way you don’t get lost and overwhelmed with the choices. You might even find something similar that just needs a small tweak (a safety pin goes a long way).

Go in with a tote bag of your own, and you completely eliminate the packaging waste too.

Plus, it’s cheap! If you’re on a budget, this is your place.

Nowadays, there are even some good thrift stores online: thredUP, thrifted, and thrift+ are just some examples, but you can always find one near you!

 

Halloween, cupcakes, spooky, tasty

 

 

 

And last but not least, the pumpkin.

If you’re making a jack o’lantern, the least you can do is compost it!

If you’re in the middle of the city and don’t have any way to do this, make your own pumpkins! Modeling clay is relatively inexpensive and it doesn’t rot on your front porch! Start small and make your way up! Just make sure it’s flour-based, earth-based, or oil-based clay – otherwise it’s really bad for the environment!

If you’re a real go-getter, you can also make it out of fabric!

Why not make your next Halloween the most sustainable and satisfying it can be? Sit back, sip that bourbon butterbeer, and relax!

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