Tricks and treats for your fun-filled family fear-fest

Halloween on 31 October is upon us; that festival of ghosts, ghouls and horrible increases in waste.

Simple tricks and treats, from great food to home-made costume capers, can ensure your family-friendly-fear-fest is a chance to enjoy saving money, materials and time, and will not leave your wheelie bin trembling at your wasteful ways.

To reduce your waste this year, get the whole family involved, from carving the pumpkin and creating a superfoods supper with the scooped-out remains through to making spooky waste-free costumes and gruesome but “green” decorations.

Avoid one-use supermarket plastic products to cut waste, and get creative, have fun and save cash by exploring charity shop ideas and stuff already around the house.

Why not:

• Save the seeds and flesh of your carved pumpkins so you can create superfood meals and snacks.

• Dodge dodgy supermarket costumes and props for charity shop discoveries that can even be re-donated.

• Get crafty with items and materials already around your house to make super spooky decorations.

• Keep anything recyclable – ghostly bedsheets to party cans and bottles – out of the rubbish bin.

• Allow expiring pumpkins to live again by composting the remains or adding them to the food waste bin.

A large number of pumpkins are purchased specifically to make Jack O’Lanterns and then the flesh and shell are discarded without a thought.

Plenty of pumpkin-based recipes for soups and stews are available in cookbooks and on the internet to spice up the flesh from large “carving” pumpkins.

And make your own superfood treat by saving the seeds – rich in phytosterols and zinc – to be simmered and roasted for home-made nibbles and lunch-box snacks.

For fantastic advice on how to make the most of the flesh and the seeds, visit Hubbub, which can also help with chutney, ideal as a home-made festive gift.

More recipe ideas and food storage hints can be found at Love Food Hate Waste.

After its work is done, give your pumpkin a second life by adding it to your compost bin to turn it into free soil conditioner for your garden.

If you do not compost at home, put the shell (without candle) into your food waste bin to go to Somerset’s anaerobic digester to become electricity and farm compost.

If you have been inspired and want to save a few pounds, you may also want to try your hand at growing your own pumpkin for next year.

Why not have a family or neighbourly competition to grow the biggest, heaviest of even the ugliest. Take a look at this advice on the various types you can try to grow.

Challenge yourself to make spooky reusable or recycled decorations to give your home or garden that Halloween touch.  Activity Village is a great site to visit for craft ideas for all ages and abilities from everyday household waste items.

When it comes to Halloween costume ideas, many fantastic ideas can be found on the internet, such as on Pinterest pages.

To be fearfully wonderful not frightfully wasteful, try to make costumes from materials and props you already have around the house, or from charity shops or scrapstores.

This saves buying new things that are discarded after one night. If you are not crafty, why not club together with friends or family to swap shop-bought costumes.

Then they can rise like a phoenix next year rather than being condemned to a zombie’s fate of landfill burial.

PS: Bonfire Night is just days away, so ensure any Halloween food leftovers get saved for your fireworks feast. More ideas for food savings here, and the advice on cool solutions in fridge or freezer.