Halloween: a sustainable holiday? It’s no secret that Americans are some of, if not the biggest, consumerists. We indulge in decorations and “treats” for every single holiday of the year. So many of these items are not biodegradable and are disposed of after each festive party. At what point does our consumerism become wastefulness? Are we sacrificing our own planet 🌎 for festive fun?
Please do not be confused. I’m not referring to patriotism or religious festivity. By all means, bring on the flags 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸! Praise whoever or whatever you believe in🙏🙌! America is great in that we are one of the most patriotic countries in the world and what a marvelous thing that our constitution protects our religious freedom.
A study released on April 17, 2017, by the Pew Research Center shows the shocking map of government restrictions on religion around the world. Even more surprisingly, the USA is considered moderately restricted which is sad to me as so many of the very first immigrants to America set sail in search of religious freedoms.
Halloween or All Hallows Eve dates back to those first settlers in the USA. But by no means, do the masses in the USA today celebrate the religious beliefs behind Halloween. Check out our post Let’s Make Halloween More Meaningful for some ideas on how other cultures celebrate this holiday.
We can and should consider ourselves very lucky to have the freedoms that we have. With that said, have we taken things a bit to far when it comes to the freedom to consume whatever, whenever, wherever we want? Where do we draw the line? When does consumerism turn into wastefulness?
What am I referring to?
I’m talking about hearts 💕 on Valentine’s Day, clovers ☘️ and leprechauns on St. Patrick’s day ect. ect. As Americans, we tend to either make or buy decorations or treats for just about every holiday out there. But there is something about Halloween that is extra wasteful. It’s not all that candy you will hide and toss out when your child isn’t looking. Obviously, that is super wasteful too. However, there is one treat that we will toss out so much of and it’s the tastiest and most nutritious of them all! Pumpkins!
“But they look so nice in the fall,” we say.
They do…they really do. But when you think about it, what are you going to do when Fall comes to an end and Halloween has come and gone? Maybe if you haven’t carved them out, your pumpkins will last looking swell on your front porch until Thanksgiving. Just maybe.
Pumpkins are edible. But you already knew that.
Did you know that you can eat the ENTIRE pumpkin? Leaves, stem, flesh, seeds, and skin? YES, you can! In 2017 the USDA said that “an estimated 15 million households were food insecure.” FIFTEEN MILLION! I should also note that in 2018 “More than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins will be thrown out in the U.S., adding tons of waste to landfills,” wrote Perry Miller in an article for inhabitant.com. That’s an insane amount of food waste. Fifteen million US families were food insecure and we are tossing 1.3 billion tons of food that we only used for decoration, for maybe 2-3 weeks. Seriously, what are we doing?
Let’s skip over the very nauseating fact of so much food waste. Any decomposing food causes methane gases to be released into the air. So a 1.3 billion pound pumpkin dump is releasing an exorbitant amount of methane gases into the air. Apart from all the other Halloween candy and decorations that we will end up tossing into the dumpster, we’re throwing the candle on the cake with the pumpkins. Climate change is a thing. It’s a really really important thing at that. We can’t continue excusing our right to do as we please in our free society and ignore the effects.
As guilty as the next …
Listen, I’m just as guilty as the next US citizen living it up on Halloween. I even brought my holiday consumerism to Spain when I moved abroad. It’s time we make the effort and stop excusing our behavior. Halloween will be just as fun if we actually consume that Pumpkin instead of throwing it out.
99 Reasons not to throw away your pumpkin after Halloween.
Well, maybe not 99 but here are some things you can do with your pumpkin instead of chucking it into the dumpster on November 1st. Of course, these ideas pending you don’t carve your pumpkins out. Think non-toxic, washable and biodegradable paints instead. See the links below. #CommissionsEarned
- If you aren’t going to eat it, DONATE IT! Donate it to a shelter, a food kitchen or your super do-it-yourself canning neighbor.
- Speaking of canning – JAR IT or FREEZE IT. Cook-off your pumpkin in the oven, puree and jar it or put it jars (not filled to the top) and freeze those. I don’t want to recommend plastic bags here. They are not bio-degradable.
- ROAST THE PUMPKIN SEEDS.
- Make a pumpkin PIE. OH YEAH! They are sooooo delicious.
- Make pumpkin SOUP.
- Make pumpkin COOKIES
- Make pumpkin DOG TREATS.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- SOOOOO MUCH MORE
- The Penny Holder has a ton more ideas as to what to do with your pumpkin after Halloween on her blog.
Here are some Eco-friendly options to use on your pumpkins this year! #CommissionsEarned
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