Halloween is an old British and Celtic festival. It’s very popular in America and other parts of the world now. Did you know that it all started here in Britain and has been enjoying resurgence over the past twenty years to now once again become the most popular celebration in the UK?
You may have heard Halloween also being called “Old Hallows Eve”. This was the end of the Pagan / Celtic calendar year and a time associated with death. There were many links to death from the natural world - the last crops of the year were harvested, nights were dark and less active, livestock would be slaughtered and the meat preserved for the dark winter months, leaves were falling and plants would die.
Death was not always thought of as scary though, it brought with it hope and a new start. New growth is unseen, underground or hidden and hence the dark months of November and December were associated with a new growth and new beginnings, bringing us the start of a new year.
Old Hallows Eve was the last time in the year to be out late at night and enjoy nature before it shut down for winter. So, why not take some time this Halloween to go outside and have some eco-friendly fun, before the nights get really cold over the winter months?
Here are a few tips for you to have a bit of fun throughout Halloween:
1. Make a skeleton
Find appropriately sized sticks for the collar bone, spines, arms, legs, ribs, pelvis and an old cabbage for the head. Tie it all together and there you go. Hang it up in your garden for super spooky evenings.
2. Make a spider
Use some elder and cut into short sections with the pith hollowed out, push a pipe cleaner though the middle to make legs for a spider. Tie some cotton to them and dangle around your home or garden.
3. Make your own fancy dress
Buying an entire outfit for just one night of the year isn’t sustainable. Fancy dress is often made from synthetic materials which are harmful to the planet. Think about using old clothes to make a more eco friendly outfit. You could even add face paint to complete any of our classics below:
- old clothes ripped or shredded = zombie outfit
- an old bed sheet = ghost
- old clothes with talcum powder dusted over = ghost
- old suit = Count Dracula/ Frankenstein
- old bandages/toilet paper = mummy
- an old black dress = witch
4. Save the insides of a pumpkin
Everyone knows that pumpkins make great decorations, but what do you do with the middle bit you just carved out? Make a pumpkin pie! Be sure to save and roast the seeds with olive oil and pepper too. Delicious!
5. A woodland walk
Pick a route through a small wood and take a group through it at dusk. Allow their imaginations to play tricks on them and they’ll love the experience of a spooky woodland path. Halloween is a great time to be outside in the evening. It’s dark but not too cold and you can enjoy your senses being tricked with Halloween games. Set up some scares along the way for extra fun.
6. Use a canvas bag or a pillow case for trick or treating
Trick or treating doesn’t need to be full of plastic. You could draw scary patterns on a shopping bag before you go out to collect your sweets.
7. Choose natural decorations
Pumpkins or other squashes, apples, hay or hay bales and sticks are all great things to decorate the front of your house or garden with.
You should have all you need to enjoy a super spooky, but eco-friendly Halloween. Help make this year’s celebrations a chance to engage and be thankful for the natural world. Happy Halloween!