On the eve of probably THE most important intergovernmental conference in history, COP26, I want to write about Halloween. Yes, Halloween.
But what is it about? It’s a medieval festival on the eve of All Saints Day, designed to let the evil spirits have a wild evening before being put back in their ’boxes’ in time for daybreak and saintly reverence.
It also coincides with Autumn. Harvest festivals having already been and gone, the squashes were still ripe and ready and good for scooping out to put candles in. I’m not sure about pumpkins—I think they are a recent American addition.
Witches, ghosts and pumpkins now dominate Halloween celebrations. But nowhere in history has plastic , mass-produced, ready-made costumes and fake vegetables come into it.
That is the connection with COP26? Waste, is the simple answer.
Here are some ways you can make your Halloween fun, less wasteful, lower your carbon footprint and get creative.
Firstly buy locally grown pumpkins and make sure they are the edible type. Scoop out the flesh and use in soups and pies or freeze for another time. The hollow pumpkin, when finished with, can go on the compost heap or in the food waste caddy provided all traces of non-food decorations are removed.
Costumes can be home- made: –old sheets for ghosts; black cloaks from long charity shop skirts; witches hats from large sheets of card; or look at reuse social media platforms such as Freecycle or Hitchin Reuse Project on Facebook in case someone is giving away last year’s out-grown costume. If you want to be a skeleton find a black outfit and paint on it!
You could even make your own witches broom from a sturdy stick, some twiggy bits and strong string.
And in place of trick or treating, buy some real mini pumpkins, hollow them out, fill with sweets ( preferably those without a plastic wrapper) and hide somewhere outside in the manner of the Easter Bunny trail.
There are several Halloween and scarecrow trails around Letchworth this half term. Cathy Andrews, Town Centre manager says “We encourage people to come and enjoy their local Halloween Trail on foot, here in Letchworth, where we already have “plastic free status” from Surfers Against Sewage.”It’s much more fun doing your own thing.