Halloween is one of our favorite holidays at Chariot Energy. When else is it socially acceptable to bob for apples, drink foggy beverages out of a cauldron, and scare people wearing a mask? Still, as much as we love goblins and ghouls as the next Friday the 13th fanatic, it’s pretty gnarly for the environment.
Thankfully, we can still enjoy the same ghastly fun of All Hallows’ Eve, but with an eco-friendly twist. Here are 7 ways you can celebrate the holiday in a more sustainable fashion.
1. Don’t Buy your Costumes
If you followed one tip and one tip only, it would be this: Don’t buy your costumes at a store!
Let’s face it: How many of us actually re-wear last year’s Halloween costume? And the costumes we do buy at the store are so poorly made that we’re honestly shocked they don’t fall apart while wearing them.
The logic is simple: Halloween costumes make money for businesses. To maximize profits, they’re likely made of the cheapest fabrics possible, acrylic and polyester. Two of the least eco-friendly materials possible, they are essentially tiny plastic fibers woven together. Yet, hundreds of thousands of these strands fall off in a single wash and enter our environment. These plastic particles are being found in everything, from the food we eat to the water we drink, even within our own tissue.
The solution lies right in your closet — or local resale shop! Pinterest has tons of DIY Halloween costume ideas for the whole family. Good Housekeeping recently published 65 easy DIYs that you can create with stuff around the home.
There are tons of eco-friendly (not to mention cheaper) options out there — you’ve just gotta get creative!
2. Set Up a Costume Swap with Friends and Family
If you have an old Halloween costume that you won’t wear again, consider holding a swap with your friends, family, or neighbor. This is much easier than creating your own costume from scratch, and they probably have some really good costumes you’d love to wear.
3. Get a Reusable Treat Bag
Nothing screams more Halloween like those $1 plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins buckets that kids fill to the brim with candy. But it also shrieks cheap — often virgin (new) — plastic, which is terrible in terms of sustainability.
Instead, choose a bag made from cotton, hemp, Tencel, or linen — considered the most environmentally conscious fabrics — and get to painting! Host a trick-or-treat bag paint-and-party session with your family and friends. You can use all manner of earth-friendly paints and colors to decorate to your heart’s content!
Sure, it’s a bit more work, but it’s more fun. You also get to custom-create your own bag that you can reuse and repaint for years to come.
4. Buy Reusable Decorations
The most eco-conscious shopper will choose only biodegradable options — but even we can agree that’s going a bit too far for most people.
Instead, get the decorations you like. Sure, they’ll be plastic, but if they’re of decent quality, you can reuse them for several years. To avoid being bored every year by the same decorations, consider adding to your collection or — even better — turning that costume swap of yours into a costume and decoration swap.
It’s a fun way to spice up the holiday that doesn’t include a pumpkin spiced latte (although we love them).
5. Look for Locally Grown Pumpkins
Just like your food, choosing locally grown pumpkins is simply better for the environment. They don’t have to travel as far, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions were produced when transporting them from the farm to your home.
Going local also supports local farmers who are just trying to make a living doing what they do best.
6. Compost your Carved Pumpkins — and Smash!
Finally, our favorite tip. 🎃
After Halloween’s come and gone, you’re left with one question: What in the world do we do with this pumpkin? Well, don’t trash it — instead, smash it!!!
Release some tension with your family by using a stick or broom handle to destroy the pumpkin! After you’re done, simply throw it on your home compost pile.
If you don’t have a compost bin at home, don’t worry — there are many companies these days that will compost your pumpkin for you. Since Chariot is located in Houston, our local favorite is Happy Earth Compost. They’ll send you a bin where you can dump your pumpkin so it can become nutritious soil you can use for your garden.
7. Eat Your Uncarved Pumpkins
Another way to reuse your uncarved pumpkin: Eat it!
At the end of the day, pumpkins are winter squash, which includes varietals like butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. Many of the pumpkins sold for decoration can be eaten in soups, roasted in the oven or turned into pumpkin pie.
Some pumpkins are obviously more tasty than others, so just make sure you choose a good one. You can also roast the seeds to make pepitas. The options for eating your pumpkin are virtually endless.
Halloween is Not Canceled, But Things Have Changed
Despite hearsay in the news and on social media, Halloween 2020 is not canceled, but the holiday will look a little different this year as the pandemic rages.
For recommendations on how to have a safe (yet still very fun) Halloween this year, check out the CDC’s holiday celebrations guide in the time of the coronavirus. Our friends and families will be following their guidelines this year, so we hope you have a safe, sustainable, and very happy Halloween!