Why Should we try to have a more eco-friendly Halloween
Halloween can be great fun but there’s also a lot of waste, so we should all be trying to have a more eco-friendly Halloween if we can.
The sheer amount of waste is staggering! Did you know that in the UK nearly 13 million pumpkins are thrown away because most people don’t realise the insides are edible. Hubbub, a sustainability charity, conducted a survey with 3,000 British adults, and found out that just 42% knew that they were able to eat the insides of a pumpkin.
And, it’s not just pumpkins. In the UK 7 million Halloween costumes are thrown away each year. Add to that all the plastic sweets/chocolate wrappers, decorations and party food that is thrown away and you can see why it’s become so wasteful.
But, it doesn’t need to be wasteful and you can have a fun eco-friendly Halloween with a little bit of thought and planning.
Eco-Friendly and the Zero Waste 5 Rs
To be more eco-friendly just think about the Zero Waste 5 Rs:
- Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to single use plastic e.g. disposable plastic plates and cutlery
- Reduce – Think before you buy.
- Reuse –Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away or buy reusable items e.g. decorations you can reuse every year.
- Rot – Don’t forget to compost those pumpkins once you’ve finished with them.
- Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recyclable rubbish in the recycling bin.
If you follow the 5 R’s when planning your celebrations, you’ll be on the right track for a eco-friendly Halloween. But, if you need some inspiration I’ve got some ideas below.
Ideas on how to have a fun eco-friendly halloween
If you’re carving Pumpkins for decorations why not use the flesh to make a Pumpkin pie or soup.
You can find a recipe for Pumpkin Pie on my How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween blog. And, here’s a great recipe for Pumpkin Soup.
Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Prep Time approx. 10 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
- 1.5kg pumpkin flesh (use the stringy bits and seeds as well)
- Vegetable Oil2 litres chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you prefer)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 1 large carrots, diced
- 2 tbsp butter
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 sprigs of Thyme
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6.
- Put the stringy bits and most of the seeds into a medium pan, save a few seeds for roasting.
- Cut the pumpkin flesh into large, evenly sized chunks and place on a baking tray. Coat thoroughly with vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 40 minutes in the pre-heated oven, it will be ready when it’s soft and starts to brown.
- Coat the reserved seeds with oil and salt and roast them for 10 minutes on a baking tray, do this towards the end of the pumpkin roasting time so both are ready at the same time.
- While the pumpkin is cooking, add the stock to the saucepan with the stringy bits and seeds in, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large frying pan and saute the onion, celery and carrot with the cumin and nutmeg, stirring regularly until soft but not brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the roast pumpkin cubes to the frying pan with the vegetables (don’t add the roasted pumpkin seeds).
- Strain the stock and discard the pumpkin stringy bits and seeds (remember to compost them)
- Add the roasted pumpkin and vegetables to the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly and then puree to make the soup. If the soup is too thick add a little more stock.
- Serve warm with roasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.
It’s fun for the kids to dress up for Halloween even if they aren’t going Trick or Treating.
You can make Halloween costumes from old clothes and fabric you have or go and have a rummage through the second-hand shops. A ghost is always an easy option using an old sheet.
Makeup is a great way to get a spooky Halloween look. And, don’t forget to see if anyone has some old Halloween costumes they’d like to swap with you.
If you’re using face paints you want to go for the most eco friendly ones that don’t contain any nasties. There are quite a few recipes for homemade face paints which sounds good. However, most of them use food colouring and I’m always worried it will stain.
My favourite brand of face paints are from Natural Earth, the paints come in small glass jars and eco-friendly makeup applicators (with bamboo and corn resin handles) you can buy them from Conscious Crafts.
The face paints themselves are safe and eco-friendly with over 70% Certified Organic ingredients. The face paint washes off easily with soap and water. And, not only are the paints safe, but you will nourish your skin as they contain organic, fair-trade shea butter and organic castor seed oil. The facepaint is certifed non-toxic, and it is free of nano particles, heavy metals, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and animal products such as carmine.
The perfect Halloween decoration must be the Pumpkin. They look brilliant when they’ve been carved and have a candle inside them, check out my Pumpkin Soup recipe above. And, when Halloween is over make sure you “Rot” and pop your Pumpkin in the compost bin.
You can also decorate mandarins with scary faces and pile them up in a bowl. Bats from old toilet rolls and bits of fabric. Mummy jars (take a look on Pinterest) candles and autumn wreaths for your front door. The list is endless you just need to release your creative skills.
Last year I made a simple reusable autumn wreath with rags and ribbon off-cuts.
Halloween Party Food
If you can make your own party food it’s a great way to reduce waste and have a more eco-friendly Halloween. Check out my Low Waste Halloween Treats to Eat blog for lots of recipes including Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows, Ghoulish Mummy Sausages and more.
And, if you still need some more inspiration there are lots of great ideas for Halloween party food on Pinterest, including apple shrunken heads, spooky cupcakes, Halloween cookies, witches’ hats, cheese graveyard. I’ve saved lots of my favourites to my Zero Waste Halloween Board so pop over and take a look.
How to have a fun eco-friendly Halloween
Trick or Treating
Obviously a great way for the kids to have fun on Halloween is to go Trick or Treating, remember to recycle as much sweet packaging they get as possible. And, if you’re giving out treats try and reduce the amount of plastic packaging by choosing sweets in carboard or paper packets and decorating satsumas or mandarins.
Watch a scary movie
Why not dress up in your Halloween costumes, make some spooky Halloween food and watch a scary movie together. These are some of my favourite kids, not too scary, movies:
- Beetlejuice (1988 – Rated 15)
- Gremlins (1984 – Rated 15)
- The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2012 Rated 12A)
- Young Frankenstein (1974 Rated PG)
- The Addams Family (2019 Rated PG)
- The Witches (1990 Rated PG)
- Ghostbusters (1984 Rated PG)
- The Haunted Mansion (2003 Rated PG)
- Room on the Broom (2013 Rated U)
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015 Rated U)
Read Scary Stories and Toast Marshmallows
Another fun activity that you can do as a family is to wrap up warm and sit outside around a fire toasting marshmallows. And, while your toasting the marshmallows why not read some scary stories. You don’t need to read the whole book, just choose one of your favourite chapters.
Here are some books that you might like:
- Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories (suitable for tweens and teens)
- Goosebumps by R.L. Stine (lots to choose from and suitable for tweens)
- Spooksville byChristopher Pike (suitable for teens)
- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (for younger kids)
- Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell (for younger kids)
So with a little bit of thought and planning you can have a fun eco-friendly Halloween and help reduce the amount of waste created.
Hope you all have a fun time and I’d love to hear your tips.