It's nearly Halloween and I think Halloween will continue to have a different feel this year, but for me the scariest thing is how much waste Halloween creates! Sweet wrappers, costumes and decorations - all made of plastics that will inevitably end up in landfill.
I looked into how much money is spent on Halloween in the UK each year and what Halloween products are making our money disappear and I was scared stiff by what I saw!
Halloween spending totalled £474 million in 2019 (the last 'regular' Halloween) mainly on decorations, treats, costumes and pumpkins.
It's estimated 33million Brits dress up for Halloween with 79% of households with kids getting involved. However, 55% of these costumes will be bought each year with 7million costumes will hit the bin, with 4 in 10 only being worn once!
Now let's add another petrifying stat to that: Fairyland Trust looked at major high-street retailers and found 83% of costumes were plastic based fabrics, so using the stats above Halloween costume waste equates to 83 million Coca Cola Bottles or 520 4 tonne elephants. Horrifying!
But what about food waste?
A quarter of Brits are expected to buy a pumpkin for Halloween this year ( around 17 million pumpkins to a cost of £29.7 million in 2020) and last year the average price of a pumpkin was £1.74.
Stats show that a combination of rising prices and population growth means that this figure has increased by £4.6 million since 2017.
Sadly, 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin are thrown away each year (equivalent to 360 million portions of pumpkin pie).
Here are some top tips to reduce the cost on the planet (and our purses!) by making a few simple changes:
👻 Get creative and make your own costumes and decorations with old clothes and household items. Swap with friends or buy preloved... You can even get the kids involved if you're brave enough!
🕷️Lots of us won't be trick or treating this year but when it comes to your own family offer treats without plastic packaging. I'll be posting some of our favourite recipes and ideas to keep the kids entertained in our Facebook group Curious Kids. For others try foil wrapped chocolates or Scary Satsumas with sharpie faces.
🦇 Save any packaging you get from decorations or treats and recycle at a Terracycle point.
🧙♀️ Reuse baskets, buckets and bags for a mini Trick or Treat hunt around the house or garden instead of buying shop bought plastic! There are even some amazing free pumpkin trails happening locally where you give your own children a sweet/treat for every pumpkin they can
🧟♂️ Reuse decorations or costumes each year instead of buying new. Maybe organise a swap with friends, neighbours or schools to cut waste and make it fun or charity shops often have some secondhand outfits at this time of year. If not why not DIY an outfit by upcycling something you already have?
🎃 Go pumpkin picking locally- cut the carbon footprint of your Jack O'Lantern, support a local PYO farm and make it into a fun activity for the festivities. We're going pumpkin picking and carving with friends.
👹Use your pumpkin up after the evening in pie, soup or roasted pumpkin seeds! If you're feeling devilish, spice it up with chilli and garlic to ward off winter colds (my fave!)
🐿 Wildlife, birds and mini beasts all like to eat pumpkin and its' seeds. It provides a good foodsource during winter so leave in your garden or local park for them all to feast on just please put them out of reach of hedgehogs as pumpkin acts as a laxative and upsets their digestive system #funhedgehogfact 🦔 So while Halloween can still be spooky it doesn't need to be scary! Hopefully with these tips your Halloween can be terrifying for all the right reasons.