We have all been there. You are having a last-minute panic about what to wear for Halloween and you end up ordering something off of Amazon or ASOS. I have to admit that I am guilty. But with the climate crisis and issues of sustainability increasingly being brought to our attention, shouldn’t we all go green for Halloween?
A study by the charities Fairyland Trust and Hubbub has found that 83% of Halloween clothing products are made from oil-based plastic, mainly polyester. This equates to 83 million plastic bottles. And when the polyester is washed, it sheds tiny pieces of plastic, which end up on the land in sewage or in waterways. That is scary – petrifying, even.
This Halloween, we no longer need to ward off ghosts, but plastic.
There is nothing scarier than our throwaway culture
With our ‘throwaway’ approach to fashion heightened at Halloween, we urgently need to reassess the purchases we make. In a 2017 Hubbub study, it was estimated that 33 million people dressed up in Halloween costumes. 40% of those costumes were worn just once and disposed of afterwards. As stated by the sustainable materials specialist at WWF, Paula Chin, “there is nothing scarier than our throwaway culture”.
Instead of buying a new outfit, take a trip down to your local charity shops and see what they have on offer. In Leamington Spa’s main cluster of charity shops, which I visited last weekend, the majority had a variety of Halloween displays – from a ‘Thing 2’ onesie to a basket full of 50p Halloween accessories!
Alternatively, consider buying clothes that will stay with you past Halloween. Take the puffy sleeves look for example, a trend for Spring/Summer 2020. This can easily take a spooky spin with the correct accessories and makeup look.
Another route is buying second hand from Depop, which tends to be easier and slightly more convenient. The addition of their ‘Spooky Section’ to the apps homepage can give you some fantastic inspiration, and when you’re finished with your costume, you can easily sell it on for someone else to use.
Give an old outfit a new life by putting your own twist on it for the night
The final and cheapest option is to have a rummage in your friends’ or family’s wardrobes to see if you can re-wear one of their costumes that might be collecting dust in the corner. Give an old outfit a new life by putting your own twist on it for the night.
One of the easiest ways to vamp up your look is with easy Halloween makeup looks. With a never-ending supply of videos to follow on YouTube, there are endless possibilities.
Could makeup be your new ‘costume’ for next Thursday? Nails and hair cannot be forgotten either, so let your imagination run wild.
When thinking of props, turn them into a DIY project before scanning the internet. It tends to be more rewarding when you know you have saved about £5 which can go towards your alcohol (or snack) fund.
The benefits of being more sustainable at Halloween are clear
A sustainable Halloween isn’t just restricted to clothing and accessories, you can also get creative with your food.
There are lots of yummy recipes online that can be used to really get the maximum use out of your carved pumpkins. However, if you get sick of the smell of pumpkins, make sure you dispose of the waste in your compost bin or in your local weekly food waste recycling service.
Unused sweets can be donated to various food banks to be included in food packs. The Trussell Trust has a food bank in Coventry, for instance. However, as a consumer, it is impossible to combat the sustainability of confectionery packaging individually. But with major brands Nestle and Mars, among others, pledging to stop using all single-use plastic packaging and instead making it recyclable by 2025, there is hope that this may change soon.
The benefits of being more sustainable at Halloween are clear. It is very budget-friendly, you can explore the wonders of charity shopping, and you are doing your part for the environment. Have a Happy Halloween!