The scariest thing about Halloween is the waste!

The amount of plastic and pumpkin waste set to be produced this year is forming a very dark cloud over the Halloween festivities.

Environmental groups are warning people not to buy Halloween costumes this year and instead, make their own. This is due to the amount of plastic wasted produced every year.

There is also an alarming amount of pumpkin waste set to be recorded as around 10 million are grown each year, 95% of which end up carved into ghoulish faces. Of these 10 million, more than 8 million, the equivalent of 18,000 tonnes of edible flesh, will be discarded.

An estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is also projected this year, the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles, as most Halloween costumes are made from Polyester, an oil-based plastic.

An investigation launched by HubBub, an environmental group that create fun and playful new ways to reduce waste and help save money, looked further into Halloween than most people to give advice on how we can enjoy the time of year, as well as help save the environment.

As a result, they have encouraged people to stay clear of buying new costumes and instead either make their own, or re-use ones from previous years, sparking a debate amongst shop owners and retailers. As for pumpkin waste, they have encouraged to keep leftover flesh to cook with in meals such as soup and pumpkin pie.

On the Hubbub website, there is a guide to eating, storingand disposing of pumpkins in a bid to reduce the amount of waste this year, with the majority of households throwing out the finished product, whereas there is a lot to be done with the leftovers.

I spoke to local costume shop worker, Zak Riding, from ‘Aha Ha Ha’ in the Grassmarket, about how the plea to boycott Halloween costumes will effect local Edinburgh shops and whether it will solve the waste problem:

“Anything that goes in the news generally effects small businesses over big ones. We’re usually the hardest hit as it’s easier to combat the smaller problems, over the bigger ones.”

“We tend to attract people who have a high income, as opposed to families with four kids, so it doesn’t affect these people as much – it hits the poorest the hardest.”

Most small local businesses rely on this time of year to make a profit as Zak says “Halloween is the thing that keeps us going.”

When asked about the materials used to make their costumes, Zak admitted most are made from Polyester as there’s no getting around the problem, “our costumes are 95% polyester, but most of the time people buy one a year, the same as parents buying kids a new school uniform every year which is also made from polyester.”

“Once the bigger problems such as renewable energy and reusable cups are solved then maybe replacing the polyester in our costumes with cotton can be looked at – I don’t think boycotting Halloween costumes is the way forward.”

Zak also said that none of the left-over costumes in his shop are thrown away, “We keep everything for next year and recycle what we can, such as the plastic and cardboard packaging.”

This begs the question; what will you be doing with your leftover costume and pumpkin waste this year? check out our article from last week with exciting pumpkin recipes!

Here are some ideas for what to do with your pumpkin waste:

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Edinburgh in Autumn

By Laura McCulloch

Nobody will argue with the beautiful Autumn foliage that Edinburgh has to offer, and as the new season descends on the city, here are our favourite events on the calendar. We have got you covered with everything from fire to farming festivals.

Edinburgh Cocktail Week

Image by Erin Kirsop

Scotland’s largest Cocktail Week pours back into the capital in just under two weeks time, from Monday the 14th to Sunday the 20th of October.

Offering a more unique experience this year, ‘Camping with Cocktails’ will transform the festival square into an enchanted forest fit for cocktail enthusiasts. The new extension includes wigwams, fire pits, giant toadstools, pop-up bars and a starlit canopy.

The rooftop cocktail domes at the Glasshouse Hotel are another addition to the festival this year, providing Instagram-worthy views across the city’s skyline.

Edinburgh Sausage and Cider Festival

Back on the menu this October is Edinburgh’s Sausage and Cider festival on Saturday the 19th. The event at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange boasts live music, a selection of craft beers and ciders, eating competitions and of course a selection of sausage meats from around the world.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival returns on the 18th to 31st of October across various locations in Edinburgh, including the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The annual celebration of live storytelling has described itself as ‘a warm,
friendly, invigorating experience, perfect for Autumn evenings’. This year’s theme ‘Beyond Worlds’ will showcase new and traditional stories, communications, music, dance and Canadian headlining acts.


Image by Sheila McColm

As part of an unsteady industry, Agriscot 2019 offers a chance for the country’s agricultural community to seek answers to the countless questions that farmers may share.

Now recognised as one of the premium events in UK agriculture, the Highland Hall in Edinburgh,
overflows every year with farming enthusiasts, as well as people curious to learn more about the industry.

A parade of Britain’s finest livestock, talks from industry professionals and trade stands from across the country will take centre stage on Wednesday 20th of November.


West Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a traditional Oktoberfest venue from 30th of October to 3rd of November. Aside from the beer, this event invites friends to celebrate food and drink and enjoy traditional live music inside a marquee fit for 1,200 people. Annually known to be extremely popular, this authentic experience offers student deals as well as Bavarian and VIP packages, ensuring there is something for everybody.

Festival of Politics

The Scottish Parliament is welcoming a variety of leading public figures including Andrew Marr and Baroness Helena Kennedy to the 2019 Festival of Politics. Taking place from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th of October at the Scottish Parliament, the event will focus on
future debates about important political and cultural issues. From Brexit talks, to the 2020 US presidential election, this is an opportunity for the Scottish public to contribute alongside MSP’s, journalists and commentators on some of the country’s largest issues.

Samhuinn Fire Festival

Image by Erin Kirsop

This fiery extravaganza perched on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill is a perfect way to get into the Halloween Spirit. The thrilling display is a modern replication of the Celtic New Year celebration, which presents a mythical story about the changes of Summer and Winter. Get
ready to wrap up this October 31st to watch dancing, drumming and acrobatics among other performances at the Samhuinn Fire Festival.


Fangtastic Halloween Events

halloween - credit to Ash Pryce.jpg

Photo Credit: Ash Pryce

It comes as no surprise that during this time of year things take a turn for the supernatural. With Halloween creeping up on us, Edinburgh gears up for an epic array of events that will test even the unspookable. These are just some of the highlights.

The Séance at Edinburgh Dungeon                                                                       6 Oct – 4 Nov

Halloween - Ross

The Edinburgh Dungeons. Photo by Ross Hempseed.

Throughout the city, the mention of Burke and Hare raises shivers up the spine as they carried out some of the most horrific and legendary crimes within the history of Scotland. On Halloween 1828, they murdered their last victim Madgy Docherty after a night of drinking and singing. Their fun came to an end that night as lodgers who grew suspicious of Burke and Hare called the police. Just eight years later, high above the city in a crook on Arthur’s Seat, a group of schoolchildren found 17 small coffins all containing miniature dolls thought to be representatives of Burke and Hare’s victims placed as a symbol for their proper burial.

Edinburgh Dungeon now bring a unique and potentially chair clutching experience where a Séance is held to contact the victims, who languish in the afterlife, tormented by the fate that had befallen them and help them reach a state of peace in the next life.

Ticket Price: £14.95


Frankomime’s Monster at The Banshee Labyrinth                                      26 Oct – 31 Oct

If you intend to delve thoroughly into the horrors of Halloween then a must see is this adults-only show which features gruesome characterisation and suitable mutilation of some classic horror songs. As part of the Edinburgh Horror Festival and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, the show promises to deliver a very unique experience for audiences.

Ticket Price: £5


Edinburgh Horror Festival at various locations                                           26 Oct – 31 Oct

Halloween Poster - credit to Ash Pyrce.jpg

Photo credit to Ash Pryce

It’s like your best nightmare come true: the Edinburgh Horror Festival will take over the city during the Halloween weekend. In the form of a micro convention, stalls, shows and talks will take place at the Banshee Labyrinth and Lauriston Castle.

Look out for Fringe Festival favourite Ash Pryce, who will return to the city for the EHF with another exciting act entitled ‘Psychic Conman Live’. The show will feature Ash flexing his psychic abilities with the audience and diving deep into their minds for answers they may not want to give. Prepare for a spooktakular weekend.

EHF will bring together a stellar array of ghoulish delights as it introduces horror fans to MonsterCon, a special event during Saturday 27th, for a feast of horror films and eerie books. Special guests include Dacre Stroker, a distant descendant of Bram Stroker, who remains the only living person able to produce new official Dracula material. Another star appearance at the event is Gordon Rutter, author of Paranormal Edinburgh and founder of the Edinburgh Forteans, who is well known for his investigations into the supernatural hotspot, the South Bridge vaults.

Tickets: £12 for MonsterCon convention

With such an amazing array of boo-witching entertainment across Edinburgh through October, why not get out to see it all … while you still can.


Festival of the Dead comes to Edinburgh


A hanging sugar skull face set the mood at the Usher Hall

The Halloween extravaganza is back as the Festival of the Dead returns to the capital. But what is it all about?

Day of the Dead, or ‘El Dia de los Muertos’ is a Mexican celebration, where those who have died are remembered and celebrated. In order to honour those who have departed, special foods and beverages are prepared as family and friends gather to pray and share anecdotes, photos and memorabilia.

The Christian multi-day holiday begins on the 31st of October, where people believe that the spirits of the dead visit their families. It ends on the 2nd of November when the spirits are believed to depart again. Although the tradition is now celebrated by Mexicans from all religious and ethnic backgrounds, it is originally a reaffirmation of indigenous life. 

Today the Day of the Dead traditions have spread all over the world, with some people in other countries outside Mexico, choosing to celebrate this instead of other events such as Halloween. For example, ‘The Festival of the Dead’, a touring festival in the UK. 

This weekend ‘The Festival of the Dead’ was held in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. The one-day event took place on Saturday, and many were dressed as is typical for the Day of the Dead festivities, with sugar skull faces. Those who were not already dressed for the occasion could get their faces painted at the event.


Pyrotechnics lit up the main stage


The array of enthusiastic performances paired with the vibrant, impressive stage decorations and a mix of Latin classics and techno beats gave the night more of a party vibe rather than a religious celebration.

To find out what Bryce Arthur thought of Saturday’s event check out: Day of the Dead Festival: Desecrated, for your pleasure

By Iona Young



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