By Madison Beveridge, Climate Writer
Halloween is almost here, and as the spookiest season approaches, the country is flocking to pumpkin patches, costume stores and stocking up on candy. But beyond ghosts and goblins, there are some other things that make this year’s festivities extra creepy: waste.
Annually, Halloween produces a great deal of waste. Next to Christmas and Easter, Halloween is a time of year full of disposable, single-use items. From costumes to candy wrappers to decorations, an abundance of litter fills this holiday.
In addition to waste, the impact on our forests and natural resources is notable when candy and other goodies are so highly bought and consumed.
But this year, there are steps we can take to reduce our impact. It is more important than ever for us to make conscious decisions when it comes to how we celebrate. Here is your 2022 roundup of how to be conscious and stay environmentally friendly this Halloween.
The textile and fashion industry’s impact in our world is incredibly large. Every day, hundreds of thousands of clothing items are discarded, often only after a small handful of uses. In fact, according to the UN, the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of all global emissions, just think of the impact one-time use outfits have on this number.
During Halloween, this is even more so the case. Think back to the last 10 Halloweens that you dressed up. How many times did you repeat a costume? And where are all those costumes? If the answer is that you never repeated a costume and you have no clue where they are now- you are not alone! And that is okay, but consider this the first year you change the consumption cycle.
Whether you are buying yourself or a child a costume, look to thrift stores or even your own closet. Mixing and matching pieces of clothing you already own, or hitting up a local thrift shop for secondhand costumes is a great way to reduce your impact. Stores like Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill, both secondhand clothing shops, have entire sections dedicated to Halloween costumes and they come at a fraction of the environmental impact.
As many of us know, single-use plastic is extremely detrimental to the earth. Not only does it take a great deal of resources to create but after their one time being used, but many of these products are discarded and end up in landfills across the globe.
Halloween decorations are a major culprit of this. Spider webs, plastic candles, plastic bats and spiders all contribute to this issue—and often on November 1st, they are thrown in the trash right next to costumes.
This year, opt for decorations that can be composted. For example, paper cutouts placed in windows, or classic all-natural pumpkins. If you do find some plastic decorations, then keep them around beyond 2022. Often, these plastic items only see a couple weeks of use, so there is no harm in keeping them for many years to come.
- Palm-oil free candy
Avoiding candies with palm-oil is a huge step in reducing the impact of deforestation and disruption to the earth’s biodiversity. Palm-oil is easy to manufacture, but that comes at a big cost for animals and land. According to the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), is in nearly half of packaged grocery store foods. This means that reaching for the first bag of trick-or-treater candy may come at a risk.
According to Sierra Club, here are some candies that are safe from palm-oil:
- Dove Milk and Dark Chocolate Promises
- Dum Dums
- Ghirardelli chocolates
- Haribo gummy candy
- Good ‘n Plenty
Note that not all of these items have zero traces of palm-oil, but according to Sierra Club, the palm-oil (if used) is sustainable sourced.
This Halloween, have fun and keep in mind these simple ways to reduce the impact we have on the world. Simple and do-able adjustments make for sustainable fun!