Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Career > Money

Consumerism and Halloween: The Frightening Truth

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

Personally, Halloween is by far my favorite holiday, complete with copious amounts of candy, elaborate costumes, and horror movies. My family has always gone over the top in the month of October, celebrating the Halloween season more than Christmas, Easter, or any other significant holiday. My love for Halloween and all things scary still holds strong today, but I have begun to learn how the holiday season and consumerism are closely intertwined, especially in modern day. 

Most of us don’t even realize how much we spend and what we buy when it comes to Halloween. With several parties on the weekend prior and ‘needing’ plenty of costumes, accessories, and decorations, Americans end up purchasing a lot more than they may realize. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend approximately $12.2 billion on Halloween this year, increasing about $2 billion from the year 2021. Most of these costume items and decorations are made from poor-quality plastics, which negatively contribute to the environment and are difficult to reuse year-to-year. Many pumpkins are also wasted, as people carve them and throw them away without eating them when they rot.

Want to know how you can be more sustainable this Halloween? Here are some ways that you can spend less, be more eco friendly, and still have a great October 31st.

  1. Toast Pumpkin Seeds

To get more than one use out of carved pumpkins, toasted Pumpkin seeds are a healthy and delicious snack for the fall season. They also have amazing amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc, and other health benefits. According to a recipe from 101cookbooks.com, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, toss the seeds with olive oil and salt, and bake for 15-30 minutes. 

  1. Thrift Parts of your Halloween Costume

Thrifting is a cost-effective, sustainable way to acquire your whole costume, or at

least parts of it. Getting a second use out of pre-worn clothing will save you a lot of money, and not contribute to rampant consumerism and fast fashion. This year, one of my costumes is Steven King’s Carrie, so I found a white dress for $5.99 at my local Savers thrift store. This was much cheaper than a new dress that I could have bought, and I feel better about my purchase.

  1. Make Some of Your Own Decorations

Instead of buying all of your Halloween decorations from stores like Spirit Halloween, Target, and Walmart, look on Pinterest or other sites for reusable, sustainably made decorations or crafts. Whether it’s ghosts out of an old sheet, DIY spooky jar luminaries, or your very own scarecrow, these Halloween crafts are inexpensive, can be made with things you no longer use, and can serve as a fun craft night for you and your friends or family.

Upon reading about Halloween’s rampant consumerism and its environmental consequences, you can now enjoy the holiday without adding to its bone chilling effects. I hope you stay festive, safe, and sustainable!

Julia Kane

Holy Cross '27

Julia Kane is a first-year at Holy Cross, originally from Wilmington, Massachusetts. She is currently planning on majoring in Political Science and also has her own show on WCHC. In her free time, Julia enjoys listening to music, drinking excessive amounts of coffee, and walking her dog Charm.