How to Have A More Sustainable Hallowe’en
Is it just us or has Hallowe’en suddenly become a really BIG festival? We remember childhood Hallowe’en as groups of kids running around in old sheets and witches’ hats made from cardboard. There’d be a couple of bowls of Halloween treats and some paper spiders on the windows. Sadly, ‘free from’ and vegan Hallowe’en chocolate wasn’t even a thing then! Kids might go out trick or treating or they might not but certainly, not everyone did.
Fast forward to 2021 and everyone is planning for the big day before the leaves have even started to turn. The thought of a festival as we’re coming into the colder months seems to put a smile on our faces. Hallowe’en has become big business – costumes, decorations, Hallowe’en treats, buckets in which to carry the loot, lights, candles, pumpkins - the list seems endless. Where full-on Hallowe’en festivities were once regarded as a mainly American tradition, here in the UK, both adults and children now wholly embrace the day.
Sadly, the dark side to our Autumn frivolity is the amount of waste we generate. The quantity of disposable decorations, costumes and party accessories available to buy makes it very easy to have a fabulous party with relatively little effort or expense. As we’re all becoming more aware of the urgent need to lighten our impact on the Earth, Hallowe’en presents an opportunity for us all to clean up our act a bit.
As always, we’re here to help! Here at Moo Free, we’ve done the research and we’ve made a list of ways for you to have a more sustainable Hallowe’en.
Eat your Pumpkins!
It is estimated that in the UK alone, up to 18,000 tons of pumpkin are to be thrown out by the end of Hallowe’en. The majority of these are put into landfill. This is a startling amount of food waste! You can reduce the environmental impact of your pumpkin in two ways.
Firstly, buy local. Supermarkets import their pumpkins from all around the globe and therefore, transporting pumpkins can generate an enormous amount of C02. Many local farms sell pumpkins so get yours from a farm nearby.
Secondly, once you’ve scooped out the innards, treat the pulp like the food that it is – and eat it! While we in the U.K. have adopted the American tradition of carving pumpkins, we haven’t embraced the idea of actually eating them. However, there are lots of tasty things you can do with the guts of your pumpkin. Check out this list of awesome pumpkin-based food.
Hallowe’en Treats – Be choosy
Hallowe’en isn’t Hallowe’en without chocolate. Don’t worry – we aren’t going to suggest that you offer up a banana to your ghostly visitors! However, like everything else, even choccy needs to be considered for its sustainability. To ensure that your stash is eco as possible, don’t go overboard. It seems as though everyone spends the month after Hallowe’en munching their way through their Hallowe’en chocolate hoard. It may be easier said than done but try to only buy what you need.
I’m sure you are well aware of palm oil and the associated cost in terms of environment, wildlife and human welfare. Most Hallowe’en choc is loaded with palm oil and the quantity consumed during our fave spooky festival is astronomical. Moo Free makes its vegan Hallowe’en chocolate without using palm oil, as do a few other brands. To reduce your Hallowe’en impact, choose palm oil-free choc and check the label before you buy.
If you have little one with allergies and choose Moo Free chocolate because it’s free from gluten, soya and dairy, you can make sure that all your choc is safe by buying your whole Hallowe’en stash online directly from the Moo Free factory shop. All of our small bars come in packs of 3, 6 or even 20.
Don’t buy disposable costumes
It’s estimated that in the UK alone, more than 30m people dress up for Halloween. Over 90% of families consider buying costumes and some 7m Halloween costumes are thrown away in the UK each year. 1
A recent survey estimates that mass-market costumes will use 2,000 tons of plastic this year — in the U.K. alone. To put that figure in context, it equates to roughly 83 million plastic Coke bottles. 2 That’s a staggering quantity of plastic.
Here’s what you can do to make sure you don’t add to that problem:
- Hire your costumes. This is likely to be a cheaper option anyway.
- Buy your costume from a charity shop. This might sound intimidating but here are a few ideas:
- Trade costumes with friends and colleagues or via social media groups.
Make your own decorations
We probably don’t even need to say it. Hallowe’en decorations are often plastic and often disposable. But you want your house to look impressively spooky for the big day so what do you do? We say make your own! No, really – we’ve seen some really great homepage decorations made from paper, LED lights, bandages, bits of old clothes and all sorts of items you’ll have in the home or can easily buy from a charity shop. We love the decorations in this list and we bet there are tons more ideas around the internet.
One final thing – plates and cutlery
Don’t buy plastic disposable plates and cutlery for parties – there really isn’t any need to these days. It’s easy to buy compostable plates and cutlery such as this set from Amazon You can also consider buying charity shop china for parties if you think your gang of ghouls is OK with China.