Halloween – the scary part is how much waste we produce

It’s almost that time to either don your vampire cape, or turn off all your lights and pretend you aren’t home! The 31st of October marks the annual Halloween celebration, loved by some and feared by many.

Not so much for the fear of the dead raising from their graves but for the commercial pressures to buy into it. Whilst I’m not against Halloween (I quite enjoy the odd costume party now and then), I am against the vast amounts of waste we produce for a single night. From the plastic ‘devil’ forks, vampire capes, cats ears, facemasks and fake cobwebs, to the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen so far… the polystyrene pumpkin. Not to mention all of the single use plastic from the party food, sweet wrappers and drinks containers.

plastic pumpkin full of plastic wrappers

So no doubt a fair few bins will be full of this (mostly) non-recyclable plastic the next day. Not only that but there is sure to be a rise in the amount of wetwipes and scrubs being used to remove the heavy eyeliner and facepaints, many of which will end up being flushed or washed down the drains.

So to avoid being a party pooper these are a few tips and ideas (and some shameless marketing for the MCS shop) for having a fun evening whilst avoiding the single use plastic as much as possible.

  1. Make your own treats. There are so many recipes online for all sorts of treats from fudge to cookies to toffee apples. A bit of careful shopping will keep the plastic wrapping to a minimum. Visit the MCS plastic free facebook group to share ideas.

  2. When it comes to taking off your makeup/facepaints just use a simple bar soap or a plastic free scrub

  3. Growing pumpkins requires the use of fertilizers which can run off into water courses and ultimately the sea, causing nutrient imbalances which has an adverse effect on the local marine life. If you are going to carve a pumpkin try and make the most of it and use the insides of your pumpkin to make pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie, when done compost the remains or put in the food waste bin. Or avoid them completely and decorate jam jars as tea light holders (a quick google search will give you the idea).

  4. A lot of costumes will be made of plastics such as polyester and often only used once. Instead make your own costumes from cardboard or recycle old cotton bed sheets or curtains. When you are done, the cardboard can be recycled and any cloth can either be kept for next year or recycled. If you have already bought a costume and/or mask, keep it for next year (clearly label a shoe box so you can find it next year) or pass it on. Charity shops often can’t resell costumes with no fire safety information so keep all the packaging if you intend to donate.

  5. Avoid using disposible plates and plastic straws (or use a reusable straw). Using old jam jars as glasses can be an interesting, and eco friendly, alternative and they can be decorated with a marker pen to get that ‘goulish’ look.

  6. For the unenviable post party clean up use eco friendly products such as this coconut fibre scrubber

  7. Recycle as much as possible after your party. Check your local council for details of what you can recycle curbside and for items they won’t take there may be local collection bins.

If you have any hints, tips, recipes or costume designs to share visit our facebook group page and let others know.

You can also check out our plastic free living section on our shop for year round products to help ditch the single use plastic.

Happy Halloween!