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Spooky Season and Sustainability-Going Green on Halloween

Halloween is, and has always been, one of my favourite times of the year. Getting to be someone else for just one day is so alluring. I love celebrating Halloween with friends and family, and I always take it to the next level. 


    However, one thing caught my attention as I was thinking about Halloween, and even holidays
 in general. For a very short
period of time, we
tend to have a large impact on our planet, creating a lot of waste
 in the process. Is some of this
really necessary? I
decided to think and do some research about celebrating Halloween
a bit more sustainably. Here are some big tips: 

1. Costumes

You need a costume for Halloween, there’s no doubt about that. And we always want to change things up a bit each year. But buying new costume pieces each year can become wasteful. I mean, where can you wear that cat tail or fake set of pearls again? My best advice for costumes is to use pieces from your own closet or buy pieces at second-hand stores. That way, you aren’t buying accessories or clothes that you may never wear again. Another way to avoid buying new costumes is to borrow or swap with friends! They may have the right piece
that you’re looking for. 

2. Pumpkins 

Buying pumpkins is definitely a must at Halloween. But we have to address how to make this activity more sustainable. Start by buying your pumpkins locally. You can find all kinds of farms in the area that sell local pumpkins, so it’s really not that difficult to make this choice. When carving and decorating your pumpkin, instead of throwing out those seeds, clean them off and toast them as a nice autumn snack. Finally, when Halloween has
gone and passed, you can use the pumpkin pulp to make treats like pumpkin pie! Who would have thought all that can come from just one pumpkin? 

3. Treats

I love a good chocolate (or several) during Halloween. It’s important to
take a look at what we’re buying though. Many of the chocolates and candies we buy for Halloween contain palm oil, which is contributing to deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats. The Toronto Zoo created a list of brands using sustainable palm oil in production, which I’ve linked here. Buying candy in bulk without wrappers also reduces the amount of waste that goes into wrapping each fun-sized chocolate bar. Even making your own treats is more sustainable! And trust me, everyone loves a good homemade treat. 

4. Parties and Decorations

When you’re getting ready to host your Halloween party, reuse as many old Halloween decoration as you can if you have them. If you don’t have any, there are so many fun ways to make your own. Use whatever you can find around the house, or even
go outside and look around for some pretty leaves or branches (who doesn’t love a nice red and orange maple leaf?). Try using at little single-use plastic products as possible at your parties, or even make it a zero-waste party. If you’re looking for cutlery or plates, there are always biodegradable options. 

Halloween is definitely spooky, but one of the scariest things is the amount of waste that we go through for just one day.
Make sure to think
sustainably, and have a safe and scary Halloween!


Emma Biffi is a first year student at the University of Guelph, studying international development. She is a professional ray of sunshine, and a lover of all things groovy and glittery. You are likely to find her somewhere on campus, drinking coffee and ranting about politics and world issues. Someday, Emma wants to work in foreign affairs.
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