Halloween Horror

Let’s Talk Recycling

Jack o’ lanterns are glowing, and the sound of Thriller is in the air. Children take to their neighborhood streets to trick-or-treat (with emphasis on the latter cavity-inducing “treat”). Adults revel as well, cladding themselves in questionably appropriate costumes, drinking bewitching cocktails. We at Flat World are looking forward to next Wednesday’s Halloween. But the real horrors rise on Thursday morning, where tombs of cheap vinyl costumes, wasted pumpkin carcasses and plastic skeleton masks fill our garbage bins.

Not only are store-bought costumes made to be worn once and then discarded to your local landfill, but some of them are also made with terrifying materials. Halloween costumes, props and party supplies often contain phthalates, lead, tin brominated flame retardants, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — a material that leaches dioxins into the environment when discarded. Synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon and acrylic are essentially a type of plastic made from petroleum, they will take hundreds of years to biodegrade. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has further found in past studies that Halloween-marketed children’s face paints contain heavy metals, like lead. Spooky.

Our behavior toward reuse is not unique during Halloween. It is another instance of a fast fashion culture that privileges price and convenience over quality and durability. Of course, there are numerous ways to reduce waste during Halloween. Avoid vinyl products and select cloth and natural materials. Consider shopping at a thrift shop and reusing old costumes. Avoid using plastic decorations and opt for paper, cardboard, or more sturdy reusable materials. Use sustainable and cruelty-free make-up, that is not just branded for Halloween. Trick-or-treat with old pillowcases or reusable shopping bags. Choose to give out candy that is packaged in paper boxes. Opt for real pumpkins that are locally grown (Make sure to roast and eat the seeds and properly compost the pumpkin when the holiday is over). You get the gist. Happy Halloween.
 
 Derek Brooks, Private Equity Consultant

British members of parliament have called on fashion retailers to stop encouraging “throwaway culture.” While, Prince Harry spoke out about the environmental dangers posed by microplastics in fast fashion.

There are some outlets for used Halloween costumes like swap.com or Thredup for kids, or Etsy if you want some homemade costume options. Love candy? Ditch the plastic wrap and try sustainably packaged sweets like YumEarth.

What are you planning to be this Halloween? We have a tequila bottle costume (thanks Hayley!) and a Mia Wallace wig ( thanks Divya!) back up for reuse- write to us!

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