At Sophie’s Barn we absolutely adore Halloween. It’s a great excuse to get dressed up in crazy outfits and get out and about in the community for trick and treating.
Our resident black cat, Spook is also looking forward to his favourite time of year!
The Dordogne valley is the ideal place to hold a freaky gathering. The old medieval quarters of towns and villages and ancient châteaus whisk you back in time to when an encounter with a ghost seemed like a very real possibility.
On the 31st of October, kids gather in droves and parade through the cobbled streets hoping to spot a ghoul or at the very least, gather a big stash of sweet treats!
Unfortunately, in recent times the scariest thing about Halloween for us is the amount of unnecessary waste that’s generated from the celebration. Suddenly the shops are filled with cheap, plastic outfits, decorations and accessories not to mention the countless plastic-wrapped sweets and candy. Almost all of it is destined for landfill once it’s had its moment.
There are however plenty of ways to enjoy Halloween without the plastic tat and waste. It just takes a bit of creative thought and energy to get things going.
At Sophie’s Barn we’re planning to make the most of Halloween in an eco-friendly way, here’s some of our favourite tips and tricks for staying greener than a ghoul!
Make your own costume
Everyone has scraps of fabric, old sheets, cardboard and other potential costume materials lying around the house. If you really can’t find anything suitable, pop down to your local charity shop and see what goodies they have.
You don’t have to be a sewing whizz either to achieve something cool:● Old sheets can be torn into strips to make a zombie costume, cut eye-holes for the classic ghost outfit or fashioned into a wedding dress for a corpse-bride ensemble.● Cardboard boxes can be cut up for accessories or made into a killer robot or alien costume!● Vintage or old-fashioned looking clothing is great for getting that spooky look just right.
Pinterest is a fabulous source of inspiration if you’re stuck for ideas so have a look and see what gets the creative juices flowing.
Wrap sweets and candy yourself
Buying sweet treats in bulk will cut down on the packaging but we know that a lot of people will consider a bowl of unwrapped sweets to be unsanitary especially considering how many little hands are going to be in that bowl!
You can wrap treats yourself by making little bags out of greaseproof paper. Just place the sweets in the middle of a small square of greaseproof paper, fold up the sides then twist them around to seal. You can secure with a bit of string for a finishing touch or leave them as they are.
If you don’t have the time to wrap your own sweets, buy foil wrapped sweets instead or even consider giving out mini cans of soda as all forms of aluminium are recyclable.
Ditch disposable décor
With the exception of a pumpkin (which biodegrades easily) all of your Halloween décor should be reusable. Think fabric bunting and wall hangings instead of plastic. Invest in sturdy décor props and pieces that can be used year after year.
The cheap stuff may seem cheap at the time but if you count up how much you spend year on year you’ll be shocked at the true cost of all that plastic junk.
Use reusable partyware
All those cute Halloween themed paper cups and plates may seem tempting – I mean, they’re made from paper right? The problem is, most disposable partyware is coated with plastic to stop liquids and grease from seeping through and is therefore non-biodegradable.
Instead, invest in some sturdy plastic cups and plates that can be used year on year or, if you absolutely must use disposable partyware, make sure you buy ones that are made from recyclable materials or say they’re 100% recyclable on the packet.
Give your pumpkin an eco-friendly afterlife
Pumpkins are the universal symbol of Halloween and millions are carved every year but what happens to them after they’re done with?
If you throw your pumpkin in the bin it’ll end up in landfill which then (because its vegetable matter) does a great job in creating methane gas (bad for climate change). While one pumpkin isn’t going to make much difference, countless millions certainly will.
Dispose of your pumpkin responsibly in the following ways:● Compost it● Add it to food-waste recycling● Feed it to animals● Eat it! Make sure it hasn’t decomposed and wash thoroughly before cooking it. Halloween pumpkins make ideal purées and additions to soups. Use a non-plastic trick or treat bag Kids need that all important bag to collect their delicious sweeties in. A lot of Halloween trick or treat bags however are plastic.Use something more durable that can be kept year on year such as: ● A pillowcase● Drawstring bag● Paper bag● Tote bag● Old handbag or backpack
You could get really crafty and decorate the bag in a spooky theme!
The key to preparing for an event or party is that before you buy something, ask yourself – “can I do this in a way that’ll create less waste?” If the answer is yes then you know what to do!
We at Sophie’s Barn, hope you and your family have a suitably scary and super fun eco-friendly Halloween filled with lots of sustainable sweets, treats and surprises.