Article by Deborah Murphy

We are about to enter possibly the most magical part of the year for our children and let’s face it, the grown ups enjoy this festive season too. The excitement of Halloween, is quickly followed by the sparkle of Bonfire Night and the joy of glitter of Christmas and we could all do with a bit of cheer.

Did you know that Halloween is the second biggest event for decoration sales in the UK after Christmas? Research estimates 2000 tonnes of plastic waste – the equivalent of 83 million bottles will be generated from throwaway Halloween clothing sold by leading retailers in the UK this year.  (The Guardian, 17.102019)

Made of PVC and containing phthalate these flame retarding items will be used for a few hours after which many will end up in landfill leaking toxic chemicals into the environment. The same article reports that an investigation by Hubbub found that ‘83% of the material used was polluting oil-based plastic likely to end up in landfill.’

Alternatively, this is an excellent opportunity for families to talk about the impact of Halloween on biodiversity and the climate. Planning ways to still have fun whilst reducing your carbon footprint could be much more rewarding than grabbing stuff off the supermarket shelves.

Read on for some great ideas to change things up this year….


The best bit of Halloween is the dressing up right? Have you considered …

  • Having a costume swap with friends or asking school to host one in their break times.
  • Getting crafty and reshaping an old costume or making a brand new one out of old clothing or sheets. Raid the charity shops.
  • Painting faces and using up old makeup instead of buying a mask.


Pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns

Do you decorate your doorstep with a carved pumpkin? This year consider:

    • Purchasing a locally grown pumpkin
    • Using up the flesh and seeds. Search the internet for a great pumpkin soup recipe and share it with your friends.
    • Compost the remains of your pumpkin – if you don’t have a composter ask a friend or neighbour who does if you can throw it in theirs.
    • Grow your own pumpkin for next year.
    • Avoid using the plastic jack-o-lanterns for your little ones to collect their treats in. Try reusable shopping bags instead.


  • Scour the internet for ideas on homemade decorations which children can get involved with. Old wool and materials can often be found in charity shops. Old magazines, newspapers, sweet wrappers, containers etc can be turned into all sorts with a bit of imagination.


  • There are loads of recipes online for little treats such as bat-shaped biscuits and spider-topped buns. Again, children can have a lot of fun making these things and parents have a better idea of what is going into what they are eating.

Yes! This can all take more time than a trip to the supermarket, but the benefits are huge. Talking to the younger generations about why you are making these choices whilst you are busy making things can help them feel that they are doing something to help the world and secure their future. A great gift to give our children!

To read the Guardian article click Scariest thing about Halloween is plastic waste, say charities


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