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How to have a sustainable Halloween

Blog Posts
Highlights 2022-2023

Spooky season is here!

A time to dress up, have fun and carve pumpkins. However, Halloween can be a frightful time for sustainability with plastic costumes, decorations and sweet wrappers! But you have the power to make a difference to this real-life environmental horror story.

Pumpkin carving

A man's hands carving a face onto a pumpkin

In the UK, last Halloween 3 in 5 people bought at least one pumpkin. However, nearly half of those were thrown away! It is not just the food that is wasted, but all the materials, transportation and embodied energy that got that food to your fridge in the first place. Food waste accounts for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so you can make a difference by making some simple changes!

However, we are not saying to ditch pumpkins all together! Instead, why don’t you try cooking with your pumpkin after Halloween? Or toasting the pumpkin seeds?

Here's some yummy pumpkin recipes that will taste good and do good.

We’re also here to debunk the myth that it’s good to leave your pumpkins for wildlife. Instead, pumpkins can be dangerous to animals such as hedgehogs! As a Silver award hedgehog friendly campus, eat or compost your pumpkin rather than giving our creatures tummy ache.

Less pumpkin spice, more pumpkin nice

Halloween is a time for lots of spooky fun. But Halloween still means respecting your neighbours. Luckily, Leeds is full of events around the Leeds neighborhoods. Remember, your neighbors may not enjoy your late night D’n’B blare the same way you may not enjoy a hungover morning clean up – so dress up and get out the house this Halloween rather than hosting something at home.

Pumpkins in a field

Dressing to kill

Need a killer costume but don’t want it costing your pocket or the planet? There are multiple ways that you can be more sustainable whilst still getting the outfit you need!

Charity shops

Save money and the planet by buying your outfits second hand! Stay stylish and sustainable, while donating to charitable causes – this option is just win, win, win! Take a trip to your local charity shop and have a look for a makeshift Halloween outfit. Top tip: Remember to stay open minded and creative – the best costumes can come from the simplest combinations.

Upcycle your own

Get creative! Do you have that old shirt that you never know what to do with? Or some fabric lying about? Making your own costume out of scrap fabric and old clothes is a great way to be more sustainable this Halloween and have fun in the process! Find some upcycling costume ideas here.

Already bought your costume? Save money next year by keeping it safe or make money by selling it on secondhand apps.

A lady with ginger hair looking through the clothes rails at a charity shop

Do-it-yourself decorations

Get in the spirit without sacrificing the planet by making your own decorations. I bet you’re thinking ‘This sounds like effort when I could go to wilko’ but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some simple ideas:

  • Turn your cardboard boxes into tombstones
  • Get crafty and paint items to make them spooky
  • Rip up old tights/ tops and make them into creepy cobwebs
  • Make a spider web out of scrap paper
  • Cut out some bat silhouettes

A photo of bat silhouettes cut out of black card

Simple swaps:

Simple swaps with minimum effort offer you the ability to make a difference by changing your habits. Change needs to come from systemic changes, but also from personal changes.

  • Avoid buying sweets that are independently wrapped
  • Buy paper decorations rather than plastic decorations
  • If you have a Halloween event on a different day to your friends, share outfits! Let them use it one day and you can use it the next.

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 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work on Student Citizenship links to all of the SDGs.

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.