October 29, 2020, by sustainablenottingham

Happy Green Halloween

Autumn is perhaps the most glorious of seasons. The days are darkening but there is an explosion of colour all around. Add in Halloween and it becomes one of the most fun times of the year.

We love Halloween. And the good news is we aren’t about to tell you how it needs to be cancelled because it is unsustainable. Having said that, this one day of the year does have massive implications for the environment. From food waste to fast fashion.

Halloween typifies the problem we have with food waste. On this one day alone, the UK generates more than 18,000 tonnes of food waste. Why does this matter? Once in landfill, these rotting pumpkins can’t decompose properly and emit methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gasses that contributes to global warming.

But fear not, it doesn’t have to be this way and there are some easy things you can do to make your pumpkin go further and to have a greener Halloween.

Buy your pumpkin locally

Getting a pumpkin with a small carbon footprint is a good place to start. If you are going to get one, hunt out some local options. More and more places are doing pick your own where you can also get your hands on some more interesting varieties. Or head to your greengrocers. Choose the ugly looking one with imperfections and you get even more ethical brownie points.


They are vegetables after all. But surprisingly, 3 in 5 people don’t know that you can eat pumpkins. Baked, soupified, fried, frittered, pied and cupcaked, they are sweet and delicious. Check out these great recipes. The seeds also make a tasty snack when roasted, or feed them to the birds. If you’re not a fan of the food, how about making a quick and easy, nourishing body scrub?

Give it back to nature afterwards

Whatever is left of you pumpkin after you are done decorating and devouring needs to be disposed of. As we’ve learnt from many a scary movie, disposing of remains works best if you chop it up into small pieces before burying it, in this case, in the compost heap. If you can’t do that, consider leaving pumpkins outside for wild beasts to feast on. Just make sure you take responsibility for your waste if any is left.

Part ways with plastic

Halloween parties this year might be a little different. If you or your kids are still planning on getting dressed up, now is the perfect opportunity to make your own costumes. Cheap, ready-made costumes are made from 83% plastic (polyester). Add in the fact that they are often only worn once and it doesn’t make sustainable sense. Be thrifty, be smart and make your own outfit with what you already have or what you can find in charity shops.

Buy less and get creative

Do you really need that plastic pumpkin carving kit or fake gourd? Look to nature to find your seasonal decorations. More time on your hands than usual? Make you own treats too. Look here for some inspiration. Save yourself time and a sliced digit by painting or decorating your pumpkin rather than carving it. Not only will it last a lot longer, it is safer and more fun for younger children and is a good idea if you have a more unusual looking squash you want to savour.

Hopefully you are now feeling inspired to get creative sustainably this Halloween. Share your creations with us on Instagram: @uonsustainability

If you would like to tell us your own green tips, or write a blog, get in touch: sustainability@nottingham.ac.uk

Posted in sustainabilitywaste