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The most frightening side of Halloween: Plastic Waste

Halloween can be a fun time of the year to dress up and go ‘trick or treat’, but have you thought about how much waste you are generating in just one night?

The study from the Fairyland Trust and Hubbub has found that of the Halloween costumes that will be sold this year, 83% of the costumes contained oil-based plastic like polyester. According to the Rabbit Group, 12,500 tons of Halloween costumes ended up in the landfills each year in the UK. 

Research from Hubbub estimates that in 2017 about 33 million people dressed for Halloween and that about 40% of the costumes were worn only once.

Mark Hall from BusinessWaste said, "Halloween is like no other holiday in that it generates so much rubbish that gets used for a couple of hours at most”.

These are scary numbers and extremely high amounts of waste generated for one night, but it is possible to celebrate Halloween and be more sustainable at the same time. We have put together a few tips to help you make more eco-friendly choices:


Being less wasteful doesn’t mean forgetting about decorations and costumes, it just means making a few adjustments to be a bit more kind to the planet. 

Try to reuse decorations and costumes from the previous years as much as possible, and if you buy something new for Halloween, make sure you to use it for several years.


Be creative and make your costume. You can create some eco-friendly DIY costumes, here and here are some plastic-free ideas. 

If you want to keep it simple, you can also use clothes that you already have on your wardrobe to create your favourite movie or book character costume. Here are some ideas for costumes inspired by TV shows and movie characters. 


If you are not into arts and crafts, you can also head to a charity shop/ vintage store and get some second-hand decorations and costume. They are unique, and you will not be adding any more waste to the environment. 

Another great option is to hire a great costume for Halloween. There are plenty of stores where you can loan a costume and then return when the holiday is over.


You can create beautiful decorations and reuse all the materials that you separated for recycling. According to Business Waste, most plastic-based decorations are non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle, this included fake spider webs, witch hats, plastic lamps, masks, broomsticks. 

You can create some great decorations, using glass bottles and used cans, see how here.

Clear Public Space also has a series of videos where you can learn how to transform your trash into treasure. Learn here how to make a Halloween owl.


If you are throwing a party in your neighbourhood for Halloween choose to use real cutlery, plates and cups. Single-use plastics are damaging to the environment and are mostly not recycled. 

If using disposable cups is a must for you, encourage your guests to bring their own reusable cups or ask them to use the same plastic cup over the course of the party. 


You don’t have to stop handing out Halloween treats to be environmentally friendly. There are a few same plastic-free options:

Foil-wrapped chocolates

Buy in bulk some chocolate wrapped individually in foil. Aluminium is highly recyclable. Don’t forget to clean it and to gather the aluminium all together before throwing away, so it can facilitate the recycling process.

A few ideas are Reese's peanut butter cups, Hershey's kisses and Halloween-themed eyeballs chocolate.

Loose Treats

Make a Halloween sweets bags mixing a variety of bulk bought sweets. 


Kathryn Kellogg from Going Zero Waste suggests to hand out cans of soda or juice made from recyclable aluminium. Glass bottle lemonade or iced tea can be a more DIY option. 


A great creative idea is to set a bowl of ‘Poison Apples’. It can make eating fruits more interesting and fun.

Bake your own treats

A really great idea is to bake yourself some Halloween treats. Here are some delicious recipes. 


If you want to cut down on sugar, as much as in plastic, more lasting Halloween gifts ideas are to give pencils and erasers. Make sure they come in plastic-free packaging. 


Anything that you will not use again for the next Halloween make sure to donate to your local charity. This attitude will mean that your Halloween waste ends up in landfill.

Halloween can be a great time to change your habits and start creating plastic-free options for your celebration. Your small changes will also inspire others to be more environmentally aware during future festive seasons. 

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