7 Ways to a (locked-down) Waste Free Fun Halloween
Beware, witches! Halloween useless plastic and candy galore time is upon us!
But it doesn’t have to be. As a matter fact, Halloween has never intended to be about buying new things and wasteful little plastic jack o lanterns.
The Halloween tradition started many many many moons ago with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. During Samhain, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve has become what we now know as Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats. Now don’t take me wrong, I absolutely love EverythingEverything related to this celebration. However, I do think there are ways in which we can make it less wasteful.
7 Ways to a Waste-free Halloween!
1.Recycled Halloween Costumes: Thrift stores are filled with fantastic Halloween costumes which look like new. How often we buy a new outfit just to be used once a year and then left and forgotten? Buy second hand and give a costume a second life. Not only will it be cheaper but you will also prevent more clothing from ending up in the landfill.
You can also ask friends and family with kids if they have any leftover costumes from previous years. Or if you are feeling really creative, you can make our own! Tons of Youtube tutorials on how to make your own Halloween outfit using and reusing things you already have lying around your house.
We are so used to rush to the supermarket and purchase 4 or 5 bags of sweets for Halloween, but what if you could make healthier options for everyone? 2020 might not bring many trick-or-treaters to your door, but you can celebrate at home with your own homemade treats. Bananas make spooktacular ghosts; all you need to do is add some little eyes. Little monster eye candy can be purchased, or you can simply use a drop of chocolate, a raising, or even some pinenuts as eyes.
Turn apple juice into vampire nectar by adding a few drops of grenadine. or wrap fruit around with white chocolate drizzle to create little mummies. Make a green smoothie by combining banana, peanut butter and spinach in a high-speed blender. Call it the Green Monster! Possibilities are endless!
Have grownups invited? Add a few little eyes to cheese blocks and plate your guac and chips to look…well… disgustingly delicious!
Yay carving pumpkins is one of my favourite traditions, but I was often preoccupied with the waste. Waste no more! First, use the discarded ‘flesh’ to make a pumpkin and herb soup—silky, warm soup with lots of flavours, like autumn in a bowl. Simply place the pumpkin flesh, an onion, a small potato and some garlic with some veg stock to simmer in a pan for about 20mins. Once cooked, add salt and pepper to taste and blitz in a blender with some fresh herbs. Boom! Serve with a slice of toasted sourdough and enjoy!
Now, the seeds can also be used. You have two options: One, wash all seeds and discard any little bits of flesh attached to them. Once washed and clean pat dry and place in an oven dish with a drizzle of olive oil. At this stage, you can add paprika and salt to make them savoury, you can leave as they are or you can add sugar and cinnamon to make sweet. Pop in the oven at high temp until they start to brown. And there you have toasted pumpkin seed you can snack on guilt-free. OR you can leave them raw and add some oats and lard to make bird food. Make little balls and place outside for birds to snack on. Win-win.
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4.Halloween Decor from Mother-Earth
Halloween decor. Oh, we see it everywhere with its bright orange, black and white colours inviting us to buy more every year. But what if you could make your own? The problem with most of the ones at the store is that they are made of plastic, and altho you can reuse many times, more often than not, they end in the rubbish creating more an more landfill waste.
Bring twigs from the outdoors into your home and paint them with black paint. If you are feeling extra, you can even add (non-plastic) glitter to the twigs and make your own indoor spooky forest.
Carve pumpkins instead of using plastic ones. Once the season is over, place them outside for birds and squirrels to eat, they will love the treat at this time of the year.
Make garlands out of wool balls. Wool is a natural, non-toxic fibre. You can now buy them in a variety of colours, just make sure they are naturally dyed rather than using toxic chemicals. You can string these along with some twine and make colourful garlands for Halloween. Felt is also a great material to use, just make sure it is natural and non-synthetic you can find both varieties in stores. Make felt little ghosts and pumpkins and place them around the house, you can make them as spooky or as cute as you like. If you are not great at making your own, there are many independent small and local crafters on Etsy selling those. I am sure they will appreciate it more than any of the giant supermarkets do when you buy a plastic pumpkin from them. Shopping local can be another great way to be more eco-friendly and waste-free.
5.Autumal Natural Scents
forget about pricy and chemical-laced home scents. I mean candles are great, I love candles, but it is hard to find affordable natural candles and even harder to find those that don’t produce fumes. A simple trick, grab a small pan, fill it with water, a cinnamon stick, cloves, orange peel and cardamom and let it simmer on the stove. Soon enough, your whole kitchen and house will have a fantastic autumnal aroma – natural and fume free. You can even leave it there and reuse a couple of times, making sure not to burn it. Add more water as required as it will evaporate.
if you, like me, are in an area facing a second lockdown and you are feeling like there is no hope for a fun Halloween this year. Please keep reading. If there is something 2020 has taught me is that less is more. We are so used to buying and consuming that we often miss the point. It is not about all the things we can buy and do, it is about the memories we can create.
Go for a walk with your family, hunt for fallen leaves. Do a treasure hunt and look for ‘fairies’ in the woods. Place trick or treat stations in your house, turn each room into a new door to knock ‘trick or treat’! Each door/room can have a game of “hide and seek”, monster tickles, face painting.
Make a pumpkin carving friendly competition, or make homemade treats together as a family. Slow down, enjoy, live in the moment. I promise you won’t regret it.
7.Clean-up, recycle, keep for next year
Once it is all over, makes sure you put everything away in a sustainable waste-free way. Carved pumpkins can be food for birds and squirrels, uneaten treats can be given to your neighbours. Halloween costumes can be given back to a second-hand shop or donated to a nursery or daycare. Halloween decorations that can be kept put away for next year and those that can’t put them out for recycling or give away to a second hand/thrift store.
I hope some of these ideas can help you have a fun, spooky, waste-free Halloween. Let me know how you celebrate! And Happy Halloween Week!