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A quick guide to a plastic-free Halloween!

Children carrying plastic pumpkin baskets

The scariest day of the year is fast approaching, and while I know many people love the festivities of Halloween, I have to admit it isn’t my favourite. It’s like it was created just to make people spend a tonne of money, put on weight, and encourage people to fill their houses with as many gaudy plastic decorations as possible! On the upside, it has had me thinking of ways to make this year’s celebrations cheaper, more entertaining, and better tasting – essentially more spooktacular in every way (sorry not sorry)…

Decorations

Please do everyone a favour and break up with your desire to buy as many pound shop decorations as will fit in your car. You can do so much better yourself! Besides, what do pumpkins, cookies and gingerbread skeletons all have in common? They all make fantastic decorations, are original, don’t require you to keep a big crate of stuff in your attic, and wait for it… you guessed it, they’re all edible 😉 Not only does this make for great after Halloween party snacking, but will keep any children/bored adults entertained for an entire afternoon. Websites like Pinterest and craftgawker.com also have amazing ideas for homemade decorations, many of which can be made with things already lying around in your house and will guarantee compliments from your house guests! Or, if you’re lazy like me, a quick cardboard window sign and paper chain skulls/bats will do the trick.

Pro tip: lighting and music are other great ways to set you apart from your competitive neighbours (ahem…) and not only are they zero waste, they’re free too.

A mum and her children laughing while carving pumpkins

Costumes

This great infographic pretty much says it all. If you really can’t re-wear last year’s costume, why not swap with a friend? You could borrow one, buy second hand, or (my personal favourite) make your own! Anything from old sheets and t-shirts to other unused fancy dress items will do. Where you can really shine though is by making your own fake blood and going all out on the make up! There are lots of fake blood recipes online, and some like this one even contain chocolate… Plus make up is a really cost effective way to make an everyday plain old t-shirt a serious competition winner.

A girl with skeleton make-up

Trick-or-treat!

Probably the easiest way to make your Halloween plastic-free is to swap the sweets. Now I’m not a monster – I’m not advocating you don’t eat or give away sweets at all, simply swap them for ones in recyclable packaging like Nerds or little foil wrapped chocolates. Easy peasy! If you’re a parent/older sibling planning on taking your little monsters trick-or-treating this year, you can also switch the generic plastic pumpkin basket for a unique tote bag decorated by the little devils themselves. Another simple way to lose the plastic and keep the kids happy for a few hours while you get started on those sweets…

Packets of plastic-wrapped chocolates

Parties

The big one for all you students (and particularly cool adults) out there! Whether you’re hosting or heading to a party, it’s not that hard to avoid the plastic with a bit of forethought.

Guests: taking your own drink is probably expected anyway so take something in a bottle or a can (obviously making sure to avoid those turtle constricting plastic rings), just make sure that double vision doesn’t get the best of you and be sure to put it in the recycling bin! If you’re hitting the town afterwards, drinks on draught are usually cheapest anyway, so ditch the straws (even if they’re not plastic, you don’t need them) and get a bottle/can instead if plastic cups are the only option.

Hosts: not only is mulled wine really nice and warming at this time of year, but it makes for a great vampiric centrepiece in a big punch-style bowl or cooking pot – you could even go the extra mile and bake some gross-looking goodies to chuck in it or put not-so-appetisingly around the base. For kids you can make an equally cool juice bowl, just make sure you don’t mix up the two or you’ll probably end up with more horrifying results than planned! You can even use all those pumpkins you got for decorations to whip up a pumpkin pie or cheesecake and impress your guests. We all know the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach after all… Don’t like pumpkin? Carved pineapples, melons, etc. all look great too!

A carved pumpkin face

If you’re really not sure it’s worth all the fuss and you’re a bit of a Halloween humbug like me, you could always just turn the lights off, pretend no-one’s home and cosy up with your very own pumpkin beer keg. Just make sure you’ve stocked up on sweets from your local old-style sweet shop first using your own bags of course!

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