Have a sustainable spooky season with the District Council

Posted on: Monday, October 30, 2023

It’s almost Halloween and Newark and Sherwood District Council is encouraging residents to have a green Halloween and make small but sustainable changes as they celebrate this spooky season.

This can be an exciting time for many of us, especially those with children who are looking forward to dressing up and going out trick or treating or to a party and maybe decorating the house! All these activities are a lot of fun and should be enjoyed, however, there are some scary statistics showing just how much waste this time of year generates.  For example, 8,000 tonnes of pumpkins will go to waste in the UK alone and left uneaten - £27 million worth of edible food. *

There are so many simple but impactful ways to be greener as you celebrate this year. Here are a few of our favourite tips and tricks (or treats) to try:


It can be tempting and convenient to buy a brand-new costume every year. The trouble is these rarely get worn again as we want to try something new or kids will have outgrown it by the next year, and they can be pricey too! Instead, why not try:

  • Asking a friend if they have a costume you could borrow. If you also have one that you don’t want to re-wear you could do a costume switch!
  • Try your local charity shop. Sometimes half the fun of a costume is creating your own take on it. You can get creative, and it won’t cost as much as a ready-made version. You can even re-donate the items if you wouldn’t wear them again.
  • Search your own wardrobe. Just like with a charity shop, there might be some hidden gems in there that could work perfectly, and you don’t need to buy anything new!
  • Instead of buying a mask try your hand at face-painting!


Getting into the spooky spirit and decorating your space, whether it’s your home, school or workplace, is fantastic fun. If you want to get creative and find sustainable options, you could try:

  • Making your own decorations at home. You won’t have to spend a fortune, and it can be a fun family activity to try one evening. If you want some inspiration visit: https://www.gathered.how/arts-crafts/diy-halloween-decorations/
  • If you do want to buy decorations make sure to choose ones to last. Go for options like dried flowers, glass lanterns, and autumnal wreaths that you can repurpose all year round. If you’re looking for some bat, pumpkin, etc. themed decorations try to avoid plastic options and instead go for fabric ones that you can keep.
  • Carving a pumpkin? Don’t let the remains go to waste, use them in a recipe! You can make pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, and more! Visit: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/blog/6-ways-eat-your-halloween-pumpkins for inspiration and recipes. If you have a compost bin, remember to pop the rest of your pumpkin in there for those worms to gobble up!
  • To make your pumpkin last longer soak it in a water and vinegar solution for about 30 minutes, don’t use bleach, Vaseline or hairspray as these can be toxic to animals.
  • When all the fun is over, please remember pumpkins shouldn’t go in your garden bin use your refuse bin or better still, break it up and bury it to provide great food for worms. Pumpkins can make hedgehogs and other wildlife very poorly, so please don’t leave them in the woods or parks.


You can’t enjoy some trick or treating without the treats! But with that comes a lot of individually wrapped goodies which means a lot of waste being produced. Some ways you can limit the amount of packaging over Halloween are:

  • If you are hosting a Halloween party, this could be a good excuse to try your hand at some baking instead of buying pre-packaged goodies. Want some inspiration? Visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/occasions/halloween to get some tasty ideas!
  • It is still advised to offer individually wrapped items for trick or treaters for safety reasons, but you can choose options like foil covered chocolates rather than plastic packets if you want to be more sustainable.
  • If you get a lot of plastic wrapped treats keep them stored and take them to your local supermarkets that offer soft plastic recycling.

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “ One of the scariest things about Halloween is the volume of waste we generate – from sweet wrappers to throwaway costumes and pumpkins left to rot – the stats are rather frightening!

We are always working towards a greener future for Newark and Sherwood, and I know many of our residents are always looking for ways to be kinder to our planet.

“It can be really easy to get carried away during this time of year and not pay attention to the amount of waste we are accumulating, so I encourage everyone to be mindful as they start to get ready for Halloween, whether it be your costume, decorations or treats, and see which of these tips you can incorporate. Not only can these ideas help you celebrate more sustainably, but they can also save you money and can be a great chance to have some creative fun as a family!

“I hope everyone that is celebrating Halloween has a brilliant time, and I look forward to seeing what spooky and sustainable costumes and decorations you can create! Why not share your spooky photos and creations with us?”

Residents can sign up to Green Rewards, for free, at: https://www.notts.greenrewards.co.uk/  and be rewarded for their sustainable choices and activities.

* https://hubbub.org.uk/eat-your-pumpkin-campaign