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How to Have a Low-Waste Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner. It can often be easy to get caught up in the fun of it all, purchasing things without giving it a second thought. However, Halloween produces a significant amount of waste every single year. According to Energy Live News, 7 million costumes are thrown away annually in the UK alone. In addition, over 2,000 tonnes of plastic being produced to mark the occasion. 

With Halloween producing so much waste, it’s time we start to considerably reduce the amount of waste we produce at Halloween. But we can still throw our parties and greet Trick-or-Treaters in true spooky fashion. We’ve put together a few low-waste options that you can try this spooky season.


Costumes: buy second-hand, hire one, make your own or swap them with friends & family

Halloween costumes can be bought everywhere, even in your local supermarket. The issue is that they’ve been made from scratch and made using materials that cannot be recycled. 63% of Halloween costumes are made from polyester and can take anywhere between 20 and 200 years to decompose, claims Energy Live News. It can be difficult to source a costume that’ is ‘s sustainable without being too expensive. But there are some things you can do to make sure our costumes are eco-friendly.

Buy from a charity shop or second-hand store

Something you can do is find one from the charity shop or a second-hand store. If you can’t find a complete costume, put your own costume together. For example, if your child wants to go as a stereotypical pumpkin farmer, then look in the charity shop for a chequered shirt, some blue jeans, brown boots and straw hat. This way, you’ll have a whole new costume that was pre-loved and far cheaper than buying a brand new from a supermarket. 

It’s also beneficial because you’ll be able to use those clothes after Halloween if worn on their own. Your child will be able to wear the blue jeans and the chequered shirt another time. There are plenty of options available in the charity shops, if you have the time to look around and get creative.

Ask friends & family

Something else you can do is ask around at the school gates or among friends to see if they have a costume that they would like to swap. For example, if their child wants to go as Spiderman and you have a Spiderman outfit that your child no longer wants, but your child wants to go as Batman and they have a Batman costume that their child no longer wants, then swap them. Not only does this save money, but it also helps the environment.

Hire a costume

Alternatively, you could hire a costume from a specific costume store. They will have new costumes for sale, but ask about their rental service. From clowns and scarecrows to superheroes and musical characters, they will have a costume that’s perfect for your children.


Decorations: buy ones made from recyclable materials or make them yourself

Some of us don’t have the time to make our own Halloween decorations. So buy some that are made from paper, cardboard, bamboo and other sustainable, recyclable materials. Don’t be tempted by plastic decorations, however. This is because they can’t be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner, thus polluting the planet. 

Dig through your recycle bin and see if there’s anything in there that you could make yourself. Newspapers could be cut out into the shape of bats or spiders, for example. It also gives you a chance to be creative whilst giving your children an opportunity to get hands-on during the Halloween season.


Pumpkins: carve them instead of paint them & don’t put them in landfill after Halloween

In the UK, 450 million kg of pumpkin waste is created, states Energy Live News. So it’s important that you either cook with them or compost them responsibly after Halloween. Something to bear in mind is whether or not you can actually compost them or eat them. So what should you consider when disposing of your pumpkins?

Carve your pumpkins instead of painting them

If you paint your pumpkins, for example, you’re actually contaminating them. Therefore, you will not be able to compost them, and you won’t be able to eat them afterwards either. It will also prove hazardous to the wildlife, as paint can be toxic to them. Instead of painting your pumpkins, carve them. You’ll be able to use the bits you’ve carved out to bake a pumpkin pie, for instance. You can even roast the seeds and snack on those or add them to your overnight oats for a tasty breakfast.

Compost your pumpkin, if you’ve not painted them

Alternatively, you can compost them or put them out for the wildlife to feast on. Please note that you will need to keep the pumpkin matter off the floor. This is to protect the hedgehogs from gorging themselves on it, because they can make themselves very poorly. The birds are likely to eat the seeds and squirrels and badgers, for example, will still be able to reach the pumpkin flesh. This will be useful to them as hibernation season starts.

After Halloween, don’t be tempted to put the pumpkin in the general bin. Be sure to compost it instead. Come spring, you can use that compost to help your plants thrive after a frosty winter. This will also save you money, as you won’t have to keep buying peat-free compost.


Tricks: choose games that can be reused or that don’t involve buying anything new & give out eco-friendly prizes

Don’t go out of your way to buy games. You can use what you already have or pick something that doesn’t involve using any object at all. A classic game of Twister, which most families will have in the house, will be perfect. Alternatively, play few rounds of spooky Charades; it will go down a treat with party goers. 

Apple bobbing is something else you can do as you’ll be able to compost the apples rather than throw them in the bin. Play other games like musical statues or bean bag tossing. For the prizes, give out homemade treats, like cupcakes or brownies, or choose something that can be recycled. 


Treats: use paper bags & make your own

According to Energy Live News, just one Trick-or-Treater in the USA produces 500g of waste on Halloween, much of it consisting of sweet wrappers as opposed to wasted food. When it comes to treats for your party guests or Trick-or-Treaters, then choose to buy sweets that don’t come in plastic packaging. Visit your local sweet shop and ask for paper bags full of goodies. 

You can repackage these yourself in paper sleeves or cardboard boxes so that you’re buying and using the least amount of plastic as you possibly can. Paper and cardboard can be easily recycled and it’s also biodegradable. It’s a far more sustainable option than plastic materials. Alternatively, you can make your own treats, just be sure to be aware of any allergies or intolerances that anyone might have and warn those who knock on your door about what’s in your treats to avoid illness and other health consequences. 



Willshee’s can always be counted upon to collect your waste and responsibly dispose of it every single time. We will aim to recycle 100% of the waste we collect, providing you with a Waste Transfer Note for your absolute peace of mind. Whether you’re a domestic or commercial customer looking for skip hire, hazardous waste removal, recycling services and more, we’ll be sure to meet your needs. For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our professional team – we’re always pleased to hear from you.


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