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Hallowe’en waste: scariest of all

Anti waste campaigner Karen Cannard
Anti waste campaigner Karen Cannard

Boo! If you’ve been on social media lately, amid the plentiful seasonal adverts for pumpkins and cheap Hallowe’en costumes, you may have spotted some of the stark statistics that highlight how much waste is created at this time of year.

Take pumpkins for instance. It’s a frightful reality that 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin still end up as waste.

According to the charity Hubbub, only one third of the contents of our Jack o’lantern decorations are actually used as food - two thirds are still thrown in the bin, in food waste caddies or in the compost.

So where do you start if you’re a novice Pumpkin Rescuer on a mission to turn your pumpkin into a tasty dish for the first time ever? All you need are the right tools to scoop out the contents, enough time in the kitchen and a decent fail-safe recipe. Pumpkin pie, muffins and soup are often the most popular and websites such as www.bbcgoodfood.com, www.hubbub.org.uk and //www.lovefoodhatewaste.com offer some great suggestions.

If you’ve never tasted pumpkin before and are unsure what to expect, it ‘s always worth looking out for some of the seasonal specialities in the eateries around town.

Now, while we’re on the subject of scary statistics, did you know that more than 39million people in the UK are also expected to dress up for Hallowe’en this year?

That’s not particularly scary unless the costumes are especially frightful. What is most worrying is that on average, Hallowe’en costumes are only worn twice and 40 per cent of costumes are only worn once.

So this year we’re likely to see £510million spent on costumes alone. And while all those tills are ringing around the UK, if last year is anything to go by, the refuse trucks will be groaning with seven million Hallowe’en costumes ending up in the bin.

That is scarier than the scariest of the scariest horror movies.

So what can we do to turn this around? Again, there are lots of ideas on the web to suit all talents.

For simple instructions in adapting existing clothing – all without sewing – check out the projects at www.hubbub.org.uk .

If your children have outgrown their costumes, maybe you can share them on Facebook so that friends can borrow them.

Next year, perhaps PTA groups, playgroups or local libraries could organise a swap shop as a fundraiser.

Costume swap days aren’t a particularly new idea. Savvy Americans have been running such events in all corners of the United States (often the second Saturday in October).

It’s great to see that this concept has spread to the UK, too, with swap days being held this year in London. Hopefully these activities will spread even further around the UK next year.

And of course, costumes aren’t just for the kids. The projects above, even swap shops, can apply to big kids, too.

Hallowe’en really doesn’t have to hit you in the pocket, as demonstrated by a conversation I overheard in town last weekend, where someone had picked up a suit for a Hallowe’en party, in a charity shop, for fiver.


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