Food Waste and Halloween

Category : Ellen Brophy

It’s origins are far removed from the plastic pollution and food waste that we see today. Halloween is a 2000 year old spooky tradition. It originates from the Celtic festival of Samhain and it was a celebration to mark  the end of summer. Celts believed that on this night the boundaries between this world and the next became blurred and the dead could return to the earth.

Fast forward to the late 1800’s and Americans took hold of Halloween and turned it into a family holiday. The focus had moved over time from a marking of the end of harvest to an excuse to get the community together and have a party.

Now Halloween is a mammoth commercial endeavour that’s celebrated in every corner of the globe.  It’s estimated that in America 6 billion dollars will be spent in order to celebrate Halloween. That’s a scary amount of money for a ‘holiday’ that lasts one day. One day that creates a huge amount of plastic pollution and an unnecessary amount of food waste. 

There’s no way to talk about the side effects of this kind of consumerism without seeming like the ultimate killjoy but Halloween creates an enormous amount of waste. In a post from 2019 FashionUnited writes that an estimated 7 million Halloween costumes end up as waste yearly. And that 83 percent of the material in Halloween clothing is plastic. This is the equivalent of 83 million Coca Cola bottles. Also 63%  of the clothes contain polyester which can take anywhere between 20-200 years to decompose.

Is Halloween the Festival of Food Waste?

Then there’s the food waste. You can’t talk about Halloween without talking about pumpkins. Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and very low in calories. It’s high in vitamin C and can help maintain good eyesight. Sounds like a good food to include in your diet. 

The problem is the majority of pumpkins bought for Halloween end up in landfill because people scoop and bin the edible parts of the pumpkin. It’s blatant waste of quality food, then these edible crops when breaking down release methane which is not good for the environment. It’s a small percentage in the grand scheme of things but then you also have to consider the energy and water required to make them grow and they have not even been eaten. 

It’s not a case of cancelling the fun, it’s more a case of having a conversation around how we can continue these traditions in a more sustainable way. When it comes to costumes just be conscious of the materials that it’s made from or even better make your own. 

It’s very easy to google a few pumpkin recipes and not waste it completely. Another option is to compost the waste. When getting your stash ready for your trick or treaters consider making your own instead of purchasing candy wrapped in plastic.

Small changes make a big difference and with a little effort you can still enjoy Halloween without making the environment pay the price.


At Veri Connect the software is only the beginning…….We enable effective programme delivery and compliance in a sustainable way through digitisation. Sustainability is core to our work. By removing paperwork from compliance and training delivery, we are passionate about making the communities and businesses we serve more environmentally responsible . We supply training management software for businesses in the public and private sector who need to capture data about their existing programmes. We also have an in house development team who build industry specific custom training solutions for large organisations who need something more bespoke. Finally, we provide training programme management and deliver training for large training programmes. Our key areas are employability, mentorship and biodiversity.