Getting ready for Halloween: how to make it Spooky Spooky Green

Photo by  Mel Poole  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

Here we are again: Harry Potter, Mad Hatter, Han Solo?

Drac, Dennis, or Murray…Mavis or Winnie. In our house, this year the Halloween theme was easy to choose as both my children are hooked on Hotel Transylvania - and honestly, I am too! The choice makes me happy as I already see how to create perfect costumes with what we have at home. Drac needs a black cape that we can easily get second-hand from friends…for Mavis we just need a black outfit, sunscreen cream and a black lipstick: easy-peasy!

I grew up wearing hand-made costumes that my mum would pull together for Carnival or other festivities (Halloween was unknown in Italy at that time!) using what was available at home. Still, when my son chose to be a skeleton for his first Halloween I went to buy a dress at the party shop around the corner. Would I do it now? No. Even if buying something off the shelf is quite tempting. Why not? Because today I know that the global clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014 while the average person keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago, generating a huge amount of waste. Some estimates suggest that consumers treat the lowest-priced garments as nearly disposable, discarding them after just seven or eight wears. In 2016, in the UK alone, 300,000 tonnes of textiles ended up in landfill. The average lifetime for a garment is estimated to be about 2.2 years, roughly half of what it used to be in 2000. Halloween costumes are often discarded after one, two times they are worn. According to Hubbub – the London based charity known for its public engaging environmental campaigns – an estimated 7 million Halloween costumes ended up in the bin in 2016.

Spooky? Horrifying? Yes. How can we avoid spooking planet Earth?

There is no one recipe but we can provide few tips:

1.     Get creativity in your drawer!

The costume I am most proud of is a Steve of Minecraft. I created his head decorating a wine carton box the night before Halloween in 2015. Jeans and a light blue T-shirt and the magic was done! It was a success. It took me one evening and we still have it with us - my son just made a body for Steve’s head using recycled boxes. Recycling an outfit or using something you already have in the closet is a winning alternative to buying a Halloween outfit in store. Get old school and patch your costume together from things you already have in the house. Watch this video by Hubbub to see how simple it can be: Skeleton

2.     The gown does not make the friar

While often we focus the attention on the costume, we forget that the simplest way to create a character is to use our face. The web is full of make-up tutorial that can help. Be sure you are using natural, safe products as many Halloween make-up kits are of very low quality. A great piece of advice for kids is to use simple masks as suggested in this video.

3. Use Boo Technology for good

Create a Boo Market What’s Up group at school so that your children will shop through gently (usually one-time!) used dress-up items for a new-to-them costume.

4. Be the Dark Cinderella!

Get the magic costume for one night and then give it back. Renting a costume is cheaper, allows you to change theme each year and does not take space in your wardrobe. Most shops rent adults costumes only but do ask for costumes for children…demand creates the offer!

Now that costume is sorted, what happens to all the carved pumpkins and the pulp and seeds in them?

Pumpkins are great fun to carve scary faces into and I am always amazed by some incredible designs. But around 15,000 pumpkins are binned each year which is enough to make a bowl of pumpkin soup for everyone in Britain. To fight pumpkins waste join #PumpkinRescue. Organized by Hubbub, #PumpkinRescue is back for a 5th year and it's sprouting up across the UK. From carving and cooking workshops to soup tasting events, you will be able to learn how to make this Halloween deliciously green! If you do not have time to attend an event and you want ideas at your fingertips, look at the 12 pumpkin recipes of COOKIE+Kate…horrendously groovy!

There is more thing that you can do if you want move a step further in creating a green Halloween: be thoughtful about what candy and decorations you use - avoid creating unnecessary waste and recycle anything you can.