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Top tips for DIY Halloween décor that’s sustainable and nature-friendly - Mon 26 Oct

Collage of autumn dishes, window displays and sustainable decorations

Date: Monday 26 October 2020

• Conservation charity offers advice for sustainable Halloween celebrations in 2020 and beyond
• Last year record levels of food and plastic waste were estimated – this is a good year for behaviour-change, says the conservation charity
• Bring the season indoors and create autumn-inspired decorations to lift spirits during shorter days

The National Trust is urging people to seek inspiration from nature for displays and get creative in their pumpkin carving to bring others joy this Halloween.
Waste from Halloween was estimated at the equivalent of 83m plastic bottles in throwaway outfits alone last year, according to charity research.  Evidence also showed eight million pumpkins became food waste.

With the annual celebration of ghosts and ghouls growing in popularity and the coronavirus  restricting ‘trick or treating’, the conservation charity is encouraging people to start celebrating the festival in new ways – with a focus on nature, sustainability and recycling. 

Andy Beer, nature author and regional director at the National Trust says: “By focusing on what we can find and see in nature at this time of year, we can live more in the moment and really notice the changing seasons. 

“With the berries in hedgerows, nuts falling from the trees and the changing leaf colours, it’s a great time to bring some of nature’s own wonders into the home to create autumnal inspired decorations to enjoy, before using them for compost or recycling in garden waste.

“Halloween is also a time when families and ‘crafters’ especially can get really creative with new and fresh designs for carving swedes, squashes or pumpkins.  Instead of the typical face – why not try carving a picture of your own house, wild animals or even autumn leaves and leave as a nice surprise on your doorstep for passers-by to enjoy.”

Top tips for autumn decorations
• Take a walk and look at what might work as decoration – you can dry the brightest coloured leaves on any paper at home – arrange them flat, hang them together – you can create a fallen leaves display under a squash or pumpkin or under your own twig tree.
• Consider autumnal fruits, nuts and vegetables as potential decorations. 
• Also think what might work well in a vase – simple shapes like long sticks and tall stemmed dried flowers can be very effective.  You can really bring a sense of the outdoors inside if you choose carefully.
• Try to keep things reasonably simple – it they work together in the natural world they will work visually in your home too.
• When carving or using swedes, squash or pumpkins for decoration, nothing needs go to waste.  The flesh can be used for anything from soups to scones, the seeds can be toasted as an additional topping or used for bird food.  And, as for the carved creations, once the outer skins start to degrade, they can be composted or put out for the birds to enjoy.

Image credit: Chris Davies and Jennie Lloyd | National Trust Images

NOTE: Many National Trust places usually put on pumpkin trails at this time of year.  But the effects of coronavirus has meant that many activities are unable to take place this year.  Please check individual property web pages for details of their autumn activities.