Written by Hailee Settlemoir
As the leaves start to change and the air starts to get colder, thereal fright of the season begins to rear its ugly head. This monster is known as overconsumption and waste. Overconsumption is the excessive use of a natural resources such as land or fossil fuels to the point where nature cannot keep up. This leads to the detriment of not only the natural world around us, but to humans as well. While a lot of people do not wish to alter their Halloween experience, I see it as a challenge to come up with a more sustainable way to celebrate my favorite holidays. From the candy wrappers to the costumes to the decorations, how badly is Halloween affecting our environment?
The Halloween costume is one of the most quintessential elements of the night. The question “What are you going to be for Halloween?” starts popping up in conversations as early as August and doesn’t cease until the night of. While this Halloween tradition can easily be the most fun, its environmental impact is scarier than you think. Around 83% of Halloween costumes contain non-recyclable plastic, according to a UK study by Hubbub. This means consumers and businesses are throwing out millions of pounds of costumes into landfills, effectively wasting tons and tons of material! The most disturbing part is that these costumes are often only worn once, or not at all! To put it simply, Halloween costumes are contributing to America’s fast fashion problem in terms of overconsumption and waste. Fast fashion is defined as inexpensive clothing that is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers to keep up with recent trends. Fast fashion as a practice not only contributes to environmental demise, but also uses sweatshops to make the clothes. Spooky, huh?
Unfortunately, our costumes are not the only issue that comes about with Halloween. Our pumpkins also pose a huge threat to the environment in form of methane gas. As our pumpkin leftovers begin to rot, they product a large amount of methane gas, which has a larger impact on climate change than carbon. If you are going to buy a pumpkin this year, try buying from a local business, and make sure you compost!
Now that we’ve gone over some of the numbers behind what makes Halloween so unsustainable, here is a list of ways you can have a fun Halloween while prioritizing sustainable practices.
Five Things you can do to have an eco-friendly Halloween: