Sunday, 15 October 2017

Simple and Sustainable Ways to enjoy Halloween

I am the first to admit I love Halloween.  I am a dab hand at making costumes so long as they are ghosts or zombies (!) and I take great delight in making frightful looking food that actually tastes really nice.  However what I do not like about Halloween is twofold and they are linked.  I do not like the rise in its commercialism and I do not like Trick or Treating.  For me I love a simple and sustainable Halloween.

Home-made zombie costumes for Halloween

I have no idea why Halloween is so big in America and my gut feeling is the only reason it has been growing in popularity in the UK, and now also in France, is because there is money to be made from it.  Your money.  The shops are currently full of Halloween costumes, foods, sweets, decorations and pumpkins shouting out to every shopper to BUY BUY BUY!  Much of this will be made from plastic, over packaged in plastic, imported from China and then thrown away after minimal use. Your purses will be more empty and your bins will be more full.  Nope - I do not like that.

And then there is Trick or Treating.  Many people feel obliged to buy sweets for all the local kids who will come knocking and I bet in many cases some of these children would not even say hello to them on any other day.  I am not sure it is quite begging but I am not happy with the fact it instils into children an ethos of "Ask and you will get" with no mention of please or thank you.  There will be no thoughts for the elderly people who feel pressured into supplying sweets when maybe they don't want to ... or likewise for those who can ill afford the expense of Halloween.  Then there are the older kids who focus on the Trick part rather than the Treat.  My elderly Mother in Law had teenagers visiting her many nights before Halloween purporting to be trick or treating and she found this very unsettling.  Friends also had flour, eggs and leaves thrown on their car when they did not open the door.  

Now I know these incidents are extreme cases and many will argue that I am being a spoilsport if I were to say I would be happy to not see any Trick or Treating. Whilst my boys have never been Trick or Treating they have never NOT had a good Halloween.  Here are some ways you can celebrate without all Trick or Treating and without the expense and plastic waste.

Simple and Sustainable Ways to enjoy Halloween

If you really want to go trick or treating with your children why not arrange it with those families you know locally.  Only go to the houses you know are taking part and if the adults there can also join by dressing up, the whole event is likely to me more fun than the mad dash getting as many sweets as possible from total strangers.

Or what about a Halloween party with a few of your children's best friends?  Maybe the parents can get together beforehand and help each other to make costumes and prepare fabulous revolting food - it'll taste nicer than shop bought processed food and be just as appreciated by the young guests.  You can organise some spooky games, even as simple as variations of traditional games such as pin the stalk on the pumpkin and Halloween themed bingo.

Witch's stew served in a pumpkin shell

If you don't want a party you could still have a Halloween themed family evening - cook that spooky food, spend time beforehand with your children making home-made decorations, play hunt the sweets round the house (you could even make them) and then all snuggle up in the dark to watch a scary movie.

Oh and what better excuse is there than Halloween  not having to clear away those cobwebs! Instant free decorations!

Overall no-one should feel pressured into buying stuff they don't want or cannot afford (the planet certainly cannot afford yet more plastic tut) - enjoy things the simple and sustainable way and I am sure your children will have just as much fun (and a lot less sugar to deal with!).

This post was inspired by Emma Lander over at Famer's Wife and Mummy who wrote about not liking trick or Treating.  For some other ideas on how you can enjoy a sustainable Halloween without all the expense and waste have a read of these blog posts:

7 Tips for a Green and Spooky Halloween
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
Green Your Halloween! Top Tips from Eco-Experts
What to Make with Fresh Leftover Pumpkin Guts
Zero Waste Halloween Ideas 
75 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Eco-Friendly Halloween Decor Ideas
Wicked Awesome Upcycled Halloween Decorations

So what are your views on Halloween?  Do you love it or loathe it? Have you any green Halloween tips?

Simple and Sustainable Ways to enjoy Halloween


  1. Hi Rosie,
    I love you ideas on sustainable and simple ways to celebrate Halloween. Kids don't need all that candy filled with toxic sugar and chemicals or those expensive costumes that are thrown away and are also toxic. Halloween has gotten out of hand in the US as far as I am concerned and I don't celebrate in way except I put pumpkin and mums out on my porch but that's really for Autumn as I change my porch for each season. Have a healthy, happy Halloween! sharing on twitter & pinning.

  2. I completely agree. The last few years, the children have gone trick or treating with their american friends, but this year I've said no. I hate the influx of sweets into the house. Not keen on them knocking on doors and asking for sweets. Also it takes all evening and leaves no time for apple bobbing, etc at home. So this year, we are celebrating at home. Lots of homemade. I've already sorted the movie and have a few surprises up my sleeve. I think they are more excited this year than ever.


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