Thinking of dressing up for Halloween? New research by Hubbub and the Fairyland Trust shares the scary reality of the textile and plastic waste produced for this annual celebration. After surveying the Halloween products of 19 major retailers, they estimate that 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste will be produced – just from clothing and costumes alone. That’s not considering packaging for sweets and cheap plastic-based decorations.
After analysing 324 clothing items that have been promoted online by the retailers, Hubbub and the Fairyland Trust concluded that 83% of the materials used were oil-based plastic. What does this really look like? According to the survey, this is the same as 83 million Coca Cola bottles in waste plastic – that’s more than one for every person living in the UK.
Older research cited by the Fairyland Trust reveals that seven million costumes are thrown away in the UK. Against this landscape of waste, it’s imperative that we include costumes in our definition of single-use plastic and fast fashion.
How to Dress More Sustainably this Halloween
- Make your own costume: Use what you already own to fashion a new costume. Halloween costumes don’t have to be frightening, you could also take advantage of the excuse to dress up as whatever you want.
- Swap old costumes with friends: Give your old costumes another chance by giving them to a friend to wear.
- Visit a charity shop: Rather than buying new, explore your local charity shops for outfits or finishing touches to your costume.
Other Sustainability Considerations for Halloween
- #PumpkinRescue: Hubbub has launched a campaign to reduce food waste from uneaten pumpkins at Halloween. A reported 15 million end up in the bin each Halloween – that’s enough to make one bowl of soup for everyone in Britain. They’re sharing lots of tips and delicious recipes to use your pumpkin, right up to the seeds. Even better if you can source your pumpkin locally.
- Handmade or durable decorations: High street shops and supermarkets are awash with cheap plastic decorations that probably won’t withstand party wear and tear. If you are hosting, why not make decorations yourself, or choose durable, reusable alternatives?
- Skip sweet packets: Mini bags of packaged confectionery are most definitely convenient, but they produce a lot of extra waste for just a handful of sweets. Some suggest filling up your own tub with carefully sourced pick ‘n’ mix as well as offering healthier alternatives.
The survey results revealed by Hubbub and the Fairyland Trust shed light upon the real ghoul of our October 31st celebrations – the unnecessary waste produced. It may require a little more thought, but it’s time to ‘green’ Halloween.