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A spook-tastic, eco-friendly Hallowe'en!

Hallowe'en *can* be spook-tastic without being waste-tastic!

Here are our ideas on how to reduce, re-use, recycle and rot to minimise waste at Hallowe'en - love to hear yours!

But first, some motivation: The 3 Amazing Powers of a Low-Waste Hallowe'en:

  1. The Power to Reduce Climate Change. We affect 8% of global carbon emissions[2] by wasting less food, and 1% to 5% by avoiding plastic[3]. That's huge power for good in our hands!
  2. The Power to Prevent Pandemics. Using less new stuff means leaving more wild spaces wild (and wildlife's viruses with wildlife) [1].
  3. The Power to Set a Sustainable Normal for Your Kids. Kids see now, kids do as grown-ups!

Eco-Friendly Hallowe'en Trick-or-Treats

Have 'The Chat' with the neighbours about treats

I'll be asking 3 questions on our neighbourhood Facebook group, to avoid neighbours buying treats that go to waste:

  1. Will our neighbourhood kids go trick-or-treating? If yes, how many treats to prepare? How many kids will go around? Could we agree '1 item per child per door'?
  2. Which treats not to prepare - because they go straight in the bin when kids get home? E.g., how do we feel about home-made treats, unwrapped sweets, fruit? Any allergies?
  3. Or...radical idea...cash not trash - give kids a coin each that they can spend on something they value that's less likely to rot their teeth?

I'll check our local supermarket for plastic-free treats in cardboard or foil and share as a helpful suggestion. I'll also ask the supermarket manager what plastic-free options they'll have for Hallowe'en this year (it never hurts to ask!)

For eco-friendly (and vegan) Hallowe'en treats...

...check our eco Hallowe'en collection including:

  • Home-made popcorn (or another snack) in a paper bag? To make the receiving families go "Wow, you can do trick-or-treat without plastic?"
  • Satsuma / mandarin oranges with faces drawn-on (STABILO Woody would be an easy, non-toxic albeit not totally smear-proof option);
  • Slices of watermelon or chunks of pineapple to eat at the door;
  • Chocolates or raisins that come in cardboard boxes, or loose from a zero-waste grocery
  • A colour-in working frisbee or boomerang! With our 30-frisbee/boomerang group sets, they cost €0.87 each.
  • A traditional wooden spinning top they can decorate themselves! Just €0.89 each when you order 10.
Catering for just a smaller number? PLAYin CHOC organic, vegan, plastic-free chocolate and surprise toy boxes are perfect treats and just €2.99 each.

    Popcorn in home-compostable bag decorated to look like a ghoul Colour-in frisbee Wooden spinning topsVegan treats for a plastic-free Hallowe'en: PLAYin CHOCVegan treats for a plastic-free Hallowe'en: PLAYin CHOC

    Eco-Friendly Hallowe'en Costumes

    Reuse is queen! Swap, buy pre-loved, freecycle:

    What about reuse and germs including COVID-19?

    • Research in the New England Journal of Medicine reported studies showing that, "the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard." We haven't found studies on clothes, but we know it needs moisture to survive, and is killed by soap.
    • So how about wash-swap-wash: All items are washed with normal detergent before being given, and recipients wash them again on receipt?

    Eco-Friendly Hallowe'en costume ideas: Failing reuse, making is good!

    Brainstorming costume ideas with my daughter, we knock-out any we can't make ourselves. She thinks this is normal (and not long ago, it was!). And she's always been thrilled with her costumes, including when she's worn them into school.

    In 2020 she was Rey from Star Wars. Her costume was a hairdo, a charity-shop scarf, my belt, and clothes she already had. She couldn't have been happier.

    There are cool costumes you can make with coloured paper, clothes you have, face paint, and/or your recycling. We love the ideas on:

    We especially love costumes from clothing you have that can be de-costumed and worn as normal again afterwards!

    Our coloured paper, glue, superglue, superglue tape, and/or plastic-free felt might be handy! See here.

    Get creative with the contents of your recycling bin or diverted-from-landfill (but clean) fabric and odds-and-ends from Recreate Ireland (if you're a member).

    Some costume-specific motivation

    If we pro-rate the annual UK stats[4] for the island of Ireland, we probably throw-away 700,000 Hallowe'en costumes every year (over 200 tonnes = 50 elephants!):

    • 83% are petroleum-based plastics like polyester - emitting so much CO2 in their making we'd have to plant 31,000 trees to absorb it[5].
    • Only 4% of textile waste gets recycled in Ireland[6] - so that 200 tonnes of material goes to landfill or incineration.

    Just from Hallowe'en in Ireland. Every year. Let's change this!

      About Hallowe'en face paint and nail polish

      If you're buying face paint, check the ingredients for petroleum-derived and known-toxic ingredients like parabens :-(

      We offer certified-organic face paint that's made in Italy, skin-kind, and washes-off easily - no scrubbing or red faces.

      And most adult nail polishes are not suitable for kids - they include chemicals like TPHP which make them work better, but affect hormones, puberty, weight etc. We're delighted to stock super kid-safe nail polishes!

        Eco-Friendly Hallowe'en Decorations and Partyware

            • Borrow reusable partyware from your local Party Kit Network host!
            • Include decorations in your costume swapping / pre-loved shopping / freecycling (above);
            • Draw on windows - and pumpkins - with our plastic-free STABILO Woody solid-paint pencils;
            • Make your own environmentally-friendly Hallowe'en decorations from coloured paper, your recycling bin, construction toys like made-from-plants Binabo, or a trip to Recreate Ireland;

        Eat your pumpkin

        Pro-rating from the UK[7], we in Ireland probably bin 800,000 yummy pumpkins every year!

        We don't carve ours anymore - we'll draw or stick the face on, then after Hallowe'en plant the seeds (GIY how-to is here), and roast the rest.

        If you do carve your pumpkin, toast the seeds (easy and yummy!), add the 'guts' (pulp) to soup, and put the jack-o-lantern in your brown bin or compost.

        I've found pumpkin tastes great if I follow a recipe (but unlike other vegetables I can't just steam or roast it and enjoy its natural flavour!) I recommend these recipes (from Green Earth Organics in Galway).


        [1] Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/28/pandemic-era-rainforest-deforestation-exploitation-wildlife-disease

        [2] Source: drawdown.org (https://drawdown.org/solutions/reduced-food-waste)

        [3] Source: https://jiminy.ie/blogs/news/plastic-free-why

        [4] Source: http://www.fairylandtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Halloween-Plastics-Clothing-and-Costumes-Report-2019.pdf

        [5] Fairyland Trust report shows 0.297kg average plastic per costume, mainly polyester (PET). OECD shows 3.3kg CO2 emitted per 1kg PET produced from petroleum. Carbonify shows 1 tree can absorb 22kg of CO2 per year. 0.297 x 3.3 x 700,000 costumes / 22 = 31,185 trees

        [6] Source: http://re-dress.ie/when-fashion-is-finished-garment-end-of-life-solutions

        [7] Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/23/pumpkin-waste-uk-halloween-lanterns

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