Halloween is a very post-consumer and environmentally harsh season. The Halloween season is filled with one-time outfits and environmentally unsustainable decorations that get landfilled as soon as the season is over. It is estimated that Halloween spending will total $9 billion this year, which estimates to approximately $86 a person. To combat the wasteful holiday, here are some tips on how to get your spook on and save both money and the planet at the same time.
In lieu of purchasing a brand new costume which results in emissions whether you’re driving to/from the store or generating trash from excess packaging from online shopping, try shopping in your own closet to see what can be put together. Got a sparkly jumpsuit? You’re a pair of platforms away from being a disco queen. Have an old trench coat? You just need a hat and some suspenders to be Sherlock Holms or Doctor Who that year. With some creativity, the possibilities are infinite. If there isn’t something that you can piece together, visit your local thrift store which is a great source for up-cycled costumes and clothing. There are plenty of options to choose from and you can save money. When the Halloween festivities are over, and you’re done with your costume, donate it to your local thrift shop or swap costumes with friends. The average American throws away 81 pounds of textile a year. Donating these costumes keeps them out of the landfill.
Reuse decorations from past Halloweens and try to see what can be upcycled around the house. Researching tutorials for upcycling material into decorations save you money, stimulate your creativity, and help reduce what we put into our landfills. If you find the absolute need to buy Halloween decorations, make a list of what you need and what you are going to buy. Reconsider some decorations and try to cut down wherever you can ,then stick to the list. Also, when purchasing Halloween decorations, consider buying items that are made with recycled content and/or recyclable material. Look for quality items that may be more expensive but can be reused year after year and end up saving you money and reducing the waste we put into our landfills in the long run. Pumpkins can be made into pie and the seeds roasted. Remember to compost what’s left from the pumpkin.
Trick or Treating
Instead of driving around your neighborhood for trick-or-treating, try carpooling to your trick-or-treating destination with your group or just walk around your own neighborhood. It is good exercise for everyone, and it reduces carbon emissions. Public transportation is another great alternative to getting to your trick-or-treating destination. If you plan in advance, you can find that there are plenty of buses and trains that stop around great trick-or-treating destinations. Ditch the disposable trick-or-treat bags. Instead, use a pillowcase or a reusable bag or bucket.
Consider giving out treats with recyclable wrapping. The aluminum that wraps Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s cups are recyclable in Los Angeles. Educating trick-or-treaters that the wrapping is recyclable is a critical tool in reducing waste Instead of giving multiple candies to one person, consider giving one or two at most per person. Less sugar for the kids and less waste overall. Also consider items that can be used every day for treats, such as erasers and pencils for kids and dental treats and loose change for older kids. Think of things that will be used beyond Halloween rather than single-use themed plastic toys that will get thrown away by the end of the night.