Once a year the scariest creatures in the world come out to play, but celebrating Halloween certainly doesn’t have to be ‘ELLish for the environment – and you could save yourself some pennies too!
High on people’s agenda is of course getting the perfect costume, but to avoid the risk of looking like everyone else, why not take a leaf out of Blue Peter’s book and make it at home? Digging out old clothes and recycling them prevents waste, especially since most people don’t wear the same costume two years in a row.
Another way to avoid this problem is to swap old costumes with friends. For the creatively challenged amongst us, renting a costume is a great alternative – Harlequin Party Shop in Lewisham or Mad World in Shoreditch have a large range of costumes and accessories.
Your local Oxfam shop could also provide a great source for all of your Halloween buys. Fairtrade treats, decorations and even costumes fill the stores, and are also available online.
Adorning your home with a pumpkin or two may be the order of the day, with over 1 million sold in the UK every year – 99% of these for Halloween in particular. However the vast majority end up sitting in people’s bins come the arrival of November 1st.
Pumpkin flesh makes a great key ingredient in lasagne, soup or a pie, and anything else can be disposed of in a compost bin. If you have the space, you could even prepare early for next year and grow your own pumpkin – now that would impress your friends and neighbours and give the kids a project to do!
For other spooky decorations, a walk in the park could provide the perfect opportunity to collect some fallen branches and leaves (don’t break them off), allowing you to create the chilling woodland you’ve always wanted in your living room. Stretch cotton-wool balls apart and you’ve just crafted a perfect spider’s cobweb.
Additionally, the Energy Saving Trust advises that the best way to achieve a gloomy glow in your home – as well as saving some money – is to switch to candles or solar powered lighting, or simply dim the lights. When out trick-or-treating, a more eco-friendly wind-up torch can light your way.
EastLondonLines asked some local people if they were attempting to have a green Halloween. Goldsmiths student Alice Chamberlain, 20, of Lewisham, said she was definitely trying to be more eco-friendly: “I’m recycling some old clothes to make my costume. It definitely makes it unique since there’s no chance anyone else will have my costume, and my friends are impressed when I say I made it myself! There’s no point buying a costume when I’ll probably only wear it once.”
“I’m going to a friend’s Halloween party but I’ll take public transport”, said Tom Britton, 24, of Hackney. “It just makes sense. We’ve got a pumpkin, and instead of throwing it away we’ll definitely have to make something out of it.”