Halloween is right around the corner, which means… boo! Tricks and treats! Coming up with a Halloween costume can be fun, but it can also be difficult to do in an eco-friendly way. Here are some tips and tricks to avoid harming the environment (and your wallet) this Halloween.
Pick up all of your Halloween garbage! This may seem obvious, but it is so important for everyone to be conscious of individual waste produced. Don’t forget, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is just a few blocks from the ocean and most candy wrappers are made of plastic! Don’t forget about the sea turtles this Halloween!
Bring new life to old costumes. This is also a great way to save money. Still have that doctor costume from four Halloweens ago? Wear it again, but maybe this time, add some eco-friendly homemade fake blood, a fake gash and face paint to transform the costume into a zombie doctor!
Trade costumes with friends. Do you and a friend wear similar sizes? Do you both have old costumes that you don’t want to wear this year? Try swapping costumes for the evening to get a whole new look without spending a dime.
Get your costume from a thrift store. There are several second-hand stores around the Monterey Peninsula that stock Halloween costumes. This is a great way to save money on a costume and you may come across something unexpected. Thrift stores are also a great place to find accessories or random pieces to throw together to create your own unique outfit!
Make sure your new costume is eco-friendly. If you have your heart set on buying a new costume, check the tags before you buy and make sure the fabrics and materials are eco-friendly. Natural fibers and materials such as cotton and hemp are the best, and it is wise to avoid synthetic materials containing plastic fibers, such as polyester. Each time we wash fabrics, microfibers end up in the watershed, which ultimately leads to the ocean. Synthetic fabrics are not marine degradable and thus, end up as pollution in the ocean.
DIY eco-friendly glitter. Most glitter is comprised solely of microplastics, which are wildly harmful to earth’s ecosystems, especially marine life. All that is needed for DIY eco-friendly glitter is epsom salt, all-natural food coloring and organic aloe vera gel. Pour some salt into several bowls, add food coloring until satisfied, stir and allow to dry overnight. The next day, mix all bowls together for rainbow glitter, generously apply aloe vera where you want the glitter to stick and rub it on.
Sell or donate old costumes. Instead of throwing away that costume you’ve worn 20 times, consider selling it online using an app such as OfferUp, or on the Facebook Marketplace. If the costume doesn’t sell, consider donating it to a second-hand store, such as the Salvation Army or Second Chance Thrift Store.
Bring a reusable cup to the party. This is a great way to keep yourself safe, as well as reduce impact on the environment. If you bring your own reusable mug with a lid, there is far less chance of someone slipping something unwanted into your drink than if it were in an uncovered cup. This is also a great way to keep track of which drink is yours, since the plastic Solo cups typically found at parties all look the same.
Go green with your jack-o-lantern. If you can, buy organic pumpkins and save the seeds to roast and salt for a tasty healthy snack! The pulp can also be saved for pies, bread, soup and other delicious recipes. When your jack-o-lantern dies, instead of throwing it in the trash, compost it in the student garden compost, East Campus compost, or a farmer’s market compost.
Avoid single-use decorations. It may be fun to go to a discount store and buy a bunch of flimsy, cheap Halloween decorations that might last through the holiday, but this is especially damaging to the environment. Most cheap holiday products are made of plastic and other petrol-based materials that cannot be recycled. Natural items found around campus can be used to spook up your place for the season, such as lichen (the mossy looking stuff that grows on trees), twigs, dried corn on the cob and even dryer lint can be made to look like cobwebs! The possibilities are endless!
Halloween is a great time to express individuality and get creative for the holiday season, but it can also be very damaging to the environment if not done properly. Be sure to do it right and be kind to the Earth this Halloween by using these eco-friendly tips and tricks. Don’t forget to tag @TheLutrinae (@the_lutrinae on Twitter) #TheLutrinae on social media with your fun, eco-friendly Halloween ideas!