Stop Buying New Costumes: How to Make Halloween More Sustainable

You know what’s scarier than that outfit Lindsay Lohan wore in Mean Girls? The current state of affairs when it comes to our environment. Word on the street is that consumers are expected to spend over £472 million on Halloween products in the UK alone, most of which are costumes and accessories.

Most of these outfits are made of cheap, non-recyclable or non-biodegradable fabrics like polyester, PVC, nylon or acrylic, which could all be contributing to one terrifying statistic: that more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing is being thrown into UK landfills.

And it’s not just the costumes that make many this time of year unsustainable. People are using so much single-use plastic by buying tubs of candy, plastic cups and cutlery or decorations that will get just chucked away at the end of the night.

So not to be all doom and gloom (although, that is kind of the point), but we could all be doing better. That’s why we thought we’d round up a few tips on how to celebrate this hallowed day of scariness more sustainably.

Recycle Costumes

We know you’re not necessarily going to wear the same outfit every year (although shout out to your Screech from Saved By The Bell get up from 2002), but there’s no need to buy a whole new polyester costume just to win first prize at your office Halloween party. Between you and your friends, you probably have enough to recycle amongst yourselves – set up an evening where you all bring the ghosts of costumes past together and do a swap. Charity shops are another good place to look – and if you don’t want to keep that Count Dracula cape, pay it forward and donate it to charity once Halloween is over so the next person can reuse it.

Get Thrifty

Going as a vampire, cat, witch or any other scary-but-cute Halloween character? You could probably find something in your cupboard that would work, just add a bit of DIY charm. Rip up an old white school shirt, make ears out of cardboard and that velvet shirt you literally never wear, or get crafty with scissors and markers and a piece of cardboard to make your own.

Don’t Buy Costume Makeup

To be quite honest, you don’t need to buy a whole packet of fake blood, most likely wrapped in copious amounts of plastic. Use red lipstick instead. Black eyeliner is very versatile when whiskers need to be drawn on. Or if you have a pallette leftover from last year, use that and share it with your friends.

Don’t Waste That Pumpkin

Carving a pumpkin is fun and shows off those art GCSE skills you never get you use in real life – but don’t go throwing away all the good stuff once you’ve created your masterpiece. You could make a soup with the innards, roast it for a lunch that will last for days, toast the seeds and put them in your granola or mix it into your midweek curry. Oh and don’t forget to buy organic!

Throw A Green Party

And if you or your friends are throwing a party, make it as green as possible. Encourage friends to bring their own receptacle, avoid plastic cutlery, plates or cups, make your own snacks instead of buying tubs of them (hey, how about that pumpkin you were going to throw away?) and give a prize to the person with the most eco-friendly outfit. Encourage friends to walk or cycle, and use candles instead of buying fairy lights – it’s way more spooky anyway.

Make An Autumnal Recipe At Your Halloween Dinner Party

If you’re in full on adulting mode and are throwing an (un)civilised dinner party, why not try an Autumnal recipe to keep it seasonal and sustainable. Check out what’s in season in Autumn or try this butternut squash and hemp recipe.

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