How to Celebrate an Eco Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest festivals, at over 2000 years old. Traditionally marked to commemorate the dead, Halloween has become increasingly ‘Americanised’ and is now like any other consumption-filled holiday. Children (and adults) dress-up to go trick-or-treating, students don fancy dress to go drinking and the streets light up with wide-eyed pumpkins. Shops are filled with orange and black decorations and unnaturally green sweets, much of which will be binned after the 31st. There is another way though; a way to mark Halloween with frugality and eco-friendly credentials.

Get your costume second-hand

The charity shop is perfect for finding fancy dress! Not only do many shops now have actual fancy dress sections, but you can find all kinds of random things that you won’t mind cutting-up, altering or distressing with red paint. You could try looking for an old nightdress to play a Victorian ghost, a black pinafore dress for Wednesday Addams or a vintage tea dress to be an evil-looking doll.

Make organic trick or treat sweets

If you’re not going out yourself but get the neighbourhood knocking on your door for sweets, why not make your own? It’s a fun thing to do with kids and saves them from consuming excess sugar and additives. Deliciously Ella’s Halloween Rocky Road is made from raw cocoa powder, almond butter, maple syrup, nuts and seeds, making it far more virtuous than your average sweet treat. If you don’t like baking choose sweets with the least packaging and using natural or organic ingredients.

Craft your own decorations

There’s no need to spend money on plastic decorations when it’s so easy to make your own. Try making paper chains from old newspaper or use the paper to cut out pumpkin shapes and skeletons to hang from the ceiling. Use old sheets to paint banners and shred up old tights to create spooky spider webs. For a natural autumnal display bring the outdoors in by making use of dead tree branches, fallen leaves and gourds in an array of shapes and sizes.

Cook with the pumpkin

Make full use of the pumpkin when you carve your spooky creation. First, scoop out the seeds (you pay a lot for seeds in the shops!), clean them down, boil for 10 minutes to soften them and, once dry, spread out on a baking sheet with a little olive oil to roast for 45 minutes. The yummy roasted seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals.

There are a range of things you can do with the flesh if you have a look at pumpkin recipes. You could grate it into cakes with spices and honey, roast it, make soup, or of course, make pumpkin pie! Finally, when Halloween is over be sure to compost your carved pumpkin rather than chuck it in the bin.

For other eco-friendly Halloween ideas check out the Wilderness blog and The Ecologist. Then you’ll have a real happy Halloween!

Emma Waight