Top tips for an eco and fun Halloween in St Albans District

We love Halloween at Playing Out St Albans District. There is so much fun to be had in our immediate neighbourhoods and it’s great to feel part of the community. This year we’re inviting residents to get involved in local Halloween competitions and a plan for a district map of spooky spots. And with Halloween becoming bigger and better every year, we’re also encouraging everyone to keep sustainability at the heart of what they do.


In this special Halloween blog, Nicola Wyeth, project co-ordinator of Playing Out St Albans District (a Sustainable St Albans project), talks about their joint seasonal project with St Albans Rainbow Trail and how to keep the celebrations sustainable.


After last year’s pause on the traditional Halloween trick-or-treating, it is exciting for Halloween to feel a bit more normal this year. Halloween falls on the last Sunday of half term, so it will feel like a bit of a party before the return to school. Some streets across the district have even got permission to close their roads for organised Playing Out sessions before it gets dark – we can’t wait to see photos of the kids scooting and biking in their costumes!

This year we are delighted to have been approached by Preet Cox of St Albans Rainbow Trail to work on some fun Halloween stuff together. You can find out full details of our plans on the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook page.

In essence, the project consists of two parts: a trio of competitions and (hopefully) a district map of decorated houses and businesses.

A trio of Halloween competitions

We are inviting all residents across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages to take part in our Halloween Spooktacular event and enter one or more of our three competitions:

  • The Spooky Home/Window Display – enter a picture of your decorated window, home or business.
  • The Rainbow Pumpkin Hunt – can you spot one while out and about in St Albans District?
  • The Pumpkin Carving Competition – enter a picture of your carved pumpkin into the competition

Entrants are asked to donate to St Albans District Foodbank. The suggested donation is £2.00, whether you enter one or all of the competitions. A winner for each competition will be picked on 1st November and each lucky winner will receive a £20.00 voucher courtesy of Bradford and Howley Estate Agents.

Join the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook group to enter the competitions as well as to find the terms and conditions. Any questions can be sent by direct messaging the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook page.

“Enter one or more of our three competitions.”

Rainbow Army recruit creating a Rainbow Pumpkin for you to spot on the Rainbow Pumpkin Trail.
Photo: St Albans Rainbow Trail

Map of St Albans District spooky spots

With St Albans Rainbow Trail , we are encouraging everyone who decorates their house or business for Halloween to tell us so that we can try to create a map of all the places to see across the district. Whether it’s a silhouette window or a full front drive horror house, fill in our google form and let us know.

Assuming we get enough locations, we’ll publish the map each day from 29th to 31st October. You’ll be able to locate Halloween displays near you whilst you’re out and about. We hope that local residents will enjoy walking around their neighbourhoods to see all the Halloween decorations and window displays.

If you live in Redbourn, do check out the Redbourn Village Trails Facebook Group too!

Please do get involved and spread the word! Why not pop it on your street WhatsApp group?

“Whether it’s a silhouette window or a full front drive horror house […] let us know.”

Keeping Halloween climate-friendly

In some households, Halloween is already becoming the new Christmas. You can pretty much buy anything themed on Halloween – and every supermarket is offering an array of orange and black as you walk through the door. From disposable tableware to costumes to projectors, there is so much tempting Halloween stuff to buy.

Before you chuck those orange plastic trick-or-treat buckets in your trolley, please do stop and think. Can you join in with Halloween without buying new? Here are some ideas…

“…there is so much tempting Halloween stuff to buy.”

Think second-hand Halloween

So many polyester costumes are bought for one day, worn once and never worn again. So much plastic is involved in cheap Halloween decorations. But you don’t need to shell out £10 notes on new stuff.  Lots of local charity shops have displays of loads of Halloween stuff that is as good as new so wander down your high street and see what you can find. What do friends and neighbours have that you could borrow or swap?

Local social media

  • NextDoor, the geographically-based social media website and app, is a good resource to tap into
  • WhatsApp groups are great for this kind of thing – tell your local contacts what you’re looking for!

St Albans District selling Facebook groups

St Albans District free sites and webpages

Facebook groups for free stuff in St Albans District

“So many polyester costumes are bought for one day, worn once and never worn again.”

Think natural materials, think home-made: Decorations

Playing Out is, first and foremost about play. Free, unstructured play. The most unstructured way to decorate for Halloween is to let the kids go wild with natural materials and their imagination. 

Forage in nature

Pine cones, conkers, autumn leaves, twigs all make great decorative materials.

Home made decorations

No need to go out and buy them – make them from the stuff you already have! Don’t forget to try to avoid glitter if you can.

  • Get a bucket of chalk and decorate the drive with spooky pictures and words
  • Wool makes great spiders’ webs
  • Make a haunted house den from a big cardboard box
  • Cut out spiders and ghouls from black plastic bags and blue tack to walls and windows – those plastic postal bags that have black insides are ideal for this.
  • Fill jam jars with spooky stuff and dot around – what pocket money toys are lying around your house? Plastic spiders and other insects, pretend eye balls, fake thumbs from a magic set can be put in a jam jar filled with water. Add a few drops of different food colouring to each for a spooky display.
  • Decorate jam jars – and fill with LED tea lights to make lanterns
  • Egg carton bats
  • Bed sheet ghosts (stuff a pillow case in the middle and tie with string to make head then suspend)

Sustainable window displays

If you’re planning a window display, check out our Festive Streets blog from last December. The theme is different – but the principles of window displays can apply to Halloween as well as December celebrations.

Care with lights

Please minimise energy usage with your decorated house or window, particularly on lights. If you do use lights, please avoid flashing lights as these can adversely impact some people.  

Think natural materials, think home-made: Costumes

Making your own is so easy and it’s cheaper!

  • Ghost up with a sheet (best advice my mother-in-law ever gave me – “never throw away old sheets – they come in so handy for everything”).
  • Toilet paper mummy – wind round you!
  • Cat – black outfit, cardboard ears attached to hairband, homemade tail from old tights.
  • Bat – black outfit, wings from black material, cardboard bat ears attached to hairband
  • Don’t forget the joy of Facepaints – scary witch, spooky ghost – there are tons of ideas on line

Also what could you use that you already own that would make a good trick-or-treat sweet collector? 

Don’t waste that pumpkin

Keep your pumpkin decorations sustainable by not creating unnecessary food waste. A terrifying 14.5 million pumpkins are expected to be left uneaten this Halloween, in the UK alone!  Hubbub UK’s annual Pumpkin Rescue campaign is back, this year called “Eat Your Pumpkin”. For lots of ideas visit Hubbub.

Why not try this great pumpkin soup recipe from Grow Community Sopwell in St Albans. And don’t forget pumpkin seeds can be roasted too for a tasty snack!

Finally when the celebrations are over, make sure you compost that pumpkin!

Find out more about Playing Out

Playing Out is a nation-wide concept where residents choose to apply to the local authority to close their road to through traffic to allow the children to come out onto the street and cycle, scoot and play together in the road. It is a fabulous way to build communities, offering neighbours a chance to build support networks and children the opportunity to get fresh air and exercise, as well as learn to play in an unstructured manner with other children of all ages.

If this is something you would like to see on your street in the future, why not join our mailing list to be kept up-to-date with the latest news and check out our Playing Out St Albans District webpages.

Find out more about St Albans Rainbow Trail

This 2,500 strong community Facebook group was set up by Preet Cox during lockdown and has raised hundreds of pounds for charity while helping St Albans District residents to come together as a community and get creative.Why not click here to visit the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook page or click here to visit and join the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook Group.

Happy Halloween!

#ShowTheLove with green hearts in your window

Join us in supporting The Climate Coalition’s campaign this February.

By taking part you’ll be joining with hundreds of thousands of people – from musicians to football clubs, community groups to businesses, astronauts to schoolchildren, teachers and faith leaders – to show the love for everything we want to protect from the climate crisis.” The Climate Coalition

#ShowTheLove window display by Sustainable St Albans volunteer


Sustainable St Albans is delighted to be supporting this year’s #ShowTheLove campaign from The Climate Coalition from 1st to 21st February 2021.  
 
Show your love for everything you want to protect from the climate crisis:

  • Create a green heart window display at home
  • Link with other local people to create a green heart window trail
  • Organise something as a teacher, whole school, faith group or community group.

Add your voice to those fighting for the future of our planet!


What to do

  • Design your own window display with green hearts.
  • Why not take it further and add other environmental representations? Perhaps things you care about and want to protect from the worst impacts of the climate crisis – trees, animals, birds, insects, fish, flowers, oceans, rivers, plants….or anything you love that is helping our planet.
  • Try making your display from recycled or recyclable materials. The window display above was made from cutting hearts from magazines, assembled on a large plastic bag and surrounded by an edge cut from green mailing bags.
  • Share a picture of your window display on social media with the tag #ShowTheLove
  • Please tag us too so we can share/like and enjoy your work:
    Facebook @SustainableStAlbans  Twitter @SustainableStA   Instagram @SustainableStA
  • Invite your neighbours to join in!

No time?

The Climate Coalition have all the resources you need:

#ShowTheLove window display by Sustainable St Albans volunteer

Are you part of a school, community or faith group?

Download a resource pack from the Climate Coalition:

You can also


For more ideas and inspiration visit the Climate Coalition’s #ShowTheLove website.

Decorate Your Window for Festive Streets

“Decorate a window”. For some people, it’s pure pleasure – an artistic joy they were born to produce. Yet, for others, it’s a hugely daunting task and they wouldn’t know where to start. If you fall into the latter category, read on!

This blog is from Nicola, project co-ordinator of the new #FestiveStreets project from Sustainable St Albans’ Playing Out team.

#FestiveStreets, the new community project we have launched across St Albans District, has taken off in a big way! We have been overwhelmed by the amount of interest and, as of writing, we have had over 250 people sign up from more than 180 streets across the district.

We hope this blog will give some ideas and inspiration to the hundreds of people across the district who have pledged to decorate their windows as part of Festive Streets.

Window display of Festive Streets Logo (Photo: Festive Streets)

The basics

The first task is to make some basic decisions:

  • Day or night or both – do you want your display to look best in the day or at night?
  • Lighting – lit from behind or lit by daylight?
  • Choose your window – downstairs is often more visible to the street; upstairs may offer more privacy (as you usually can’t see right into the room from the street) – or maybe. you will use more than one window!

Then

  • measure your window
  • begin your design….
Rope the family in to help with your window decorations (Photo: Festive Streets)

Privacy

This is actually quite a key decision early on in your design. If you are doing your design to be seen in the dark, you are particularly vulnerable to people being able to see into the room. Ideally, you want them to see only the display, not you and your family watching television! In addition, the design will be more effective if the view is not distracted by the room beyond.

There are a number of ways you can ensure privacy:

  • Fill the whole window with your design
  • Pull down a blind or pull curtains across the unused part of the window (or hang a sheet)
  • Go for an upstairs window if the room’s inside can’t be seen from below.
  • Use some kind of semi-opaque material to obscure the glass you have left plain: tracing paper, white tissue paper, greaseproof paper, a large paper table cloth, even opened out cereal box inner bags work well.
  • Put a light source for the display between the curtains and the glass – eg some very low wattage LED fairy lights round the edge of the window frame (and put them on a timer)

Types of design

The traditional shadows and light window

This is by far the most popular style for winter windows because they look fabulous at night. You can do it in one of two ways:

  • the silhouette – make shapes with dark materials.
  • the cut out – fill the window with black and cut holes to make your shapes

Your dark material can be anything that is opaque – black paper is popular, but try the leftover brown paper used in delivery parcels or the black inside of a plastic delivery bag.

You then light the room from behind and those on the street see the magical effect.

Shadows and light: silhouette shapes (Photo: Festive Streets)
Shadows and light: cut-outs(Photo: Festive Streets)

The coloured window

Fill your cut-outs or back your silhouettes with colour

  • coloured tissue paper
  • coloured cellophane sweet wrappers (eg Quality Street)
  • coloured thin carrier bags
  • change the bulb colour in the room or use coloured low wattage LED fairy lights on a timer

In fact, you don’t need black at all – you could do the whole window display in colour!

Colourful window (Photo: Festive Streets)
Colourful window (Photo: Festive Streets)

The daytime cut-outs window

If you’re going for a display that looks great in day time then white paper looks fab. Think of those snowflakes we all used to make as kids – a window full of those can look spectacular.

The museum display window

A simple window display can be done in the form of displaying things. Stacks of small boxes or shoe boxes make fantastic mini shelves and you can then fill them with whatever is appropriate for your theme.

Window displays in boxes (Photo: Festive Streets)

Drawings in windows

You can probably paint or draw on windows with some special equipment but I’m no artist plus I wouldn’t know how to get it off again! What you might have to hand are permanent pens like Sharpies. These work really well on both used cellophane (try wrappings from florist flowers) and also opened out flattened cereal bags, which are even more preferable as they have add that element of privacy to the window. Sit down at the table, spread out your film and let your artistic flair in!

Window drawings on cereal bags in Sharpies (Photo: Festive Streets)
Window drawings on cereal bags in Sharpies (Photo: Festive Streets)

Garlands and strings in windows

Windows are the perfect format for stringing things up. Strings can run across the windows in horizontal lines or hang vertically down from the top. The ideas for what you can hang from your strings are endless – how about

  • traditional festive decorations 
  • homemade paper stars
  • homemade gingerbread men
  • pine cones
  • twig/stick art
  • salt dough shapes
  • toilet roll santas and snowmen

I’ve even seen a fantastic photo of a window display done with Hawaiian Shirts strung up!

Visit our Pinterest board for more inspiring pictures

Our Pinterest board is full of ideas – ok, some of them might be a little bit more beautiful than your average mortal can create, but they are sure to give you a starting point for ideas.

The Golden Rules

So now you’ve got some ideas, it’s time to go for it. The remaining thing I would say is simply to follow these golden rules:

  • Remember: it’s not a competition!
  • Keep it sustainable – don’t buy new unless you have to – use what you have or ask a neighbour
  • Keep your design as simple as you can
  • Rope in household members to help you 
  • Have fun!
  • Reflect on the joy you have brought to your neighbours and passers-by every time you see it.

Find out more

For more information about Festive Streets, follow the link from our Playing Out Project page. You can get a free Festive Streets electronic information pack to get you started which includes template notes to your neighbours, colouring posters and lots of inspiration.

Ideas For Halloween 2020 – Playing Out St Albans District

“All is not lost! You can still enjoy Halloween as a family and as a community!”

The Playing Out project from Sustainable St Albans brings us 10 top tips for enjoying this Halloween which is unlike any other. Find out how you can create a community atmosphere in your part of St Albans District and satisfy your kids’ cravings for fun and treats while celebrating the Spooky Season in a sustainable way.

October Half Term is coming up fast and Halloween is the final Saturday of that week. Many streets across the country would usually be planning decorations and a big Trick or Treat evening; many others had gained permission to close their roads for organised Playing Out sessions that weekend to pull their community together for free play sessions on the road before it got dark and the sugar fest began. With this year’s epidemic, that can’t happen any more. Yet all is not lost! You can still enjoy Halloween as a family and as a community!

1. Organise a street pumpkin trail

Playing Out is all about community building and Halloween is traditionally one of the few times when lots of people go out onto their street at the same time and enjoy celebrating together, almost like a street party. Despite, the fact that trick-or-treating is off this year, we’ve been delighted to hear lots of reports of neighbours getting together to organise something fun and Covid-safe for kids on their street. It just takes a couple of people to get together to think up something that works for your area. Why not consider one of these ideas….

  • A printable pumpkin poster for all the kids in your street to colour in and put in their window.
  • Or, for bigger roads, a selection of printed posters dropped through your neighbours’ letterbox with a “bingo” style list for the kids to tick off as they spot the images – many neighbours without children will be persuaded to stick their image in their window for the children to enjoy.
  • Or how about an agreement between all households that a front of house decorations will go up but no-one will knock for treats? Maybe share a special “Happy Halloween, Keep safe, No door-knocking” poster for front doors and lamp posts?
  • Then take your kids out to spot the posters or pumpkins and give them a treat for their Halloween bag every time they spot one. 
  • Remember to spread out the fun – it doesn’t all have to happen at 5pm on 31st October. Co-ordinate with your neighbours to ensure everyone can keep safe and streets aren’t crowded.

Some of the District’s communities even have a dedicated Facebook page to help organise Halloween Pumpkin Trail with specially designed posters, such as the Redbourn Pumpkin Trail page. Also, some local school PTAs are organising trails. Keep an eye on your local social media to see what is happening in your neighbourhood.

2. Invite neighbours to a virtual Halloween party

Many streets now have a newfound community since the Lockdown – often there are email or WhatsApp groups set up. Why not use this to organise a virtual Halloween party with some neighbours? Or organise a competition via Zoom – best costume or best spooky food, perhaps.

3. Join the St Albans District-wide Rainbow Pumpkin Trail Hunt

Across St Albans District a “Rainbow Army” of volunteers has been colouring in rainbow pumpkins and colouring in real pumpkins ready for them to be displayed in windows across St Albans, Harpenden and the villages from 25th to 31st October. The St Albans Rainbow Trail is behind the initiative and residents are invited to visit the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook Group to find out full details of how to get involved. In essence, spot one of their rainbow pumpkins then visit the Facebook page to contact them and tell them where it was – and be entered for prizes. Following on from other themed trails from the St Albans Rainbow Trail, the volunteers usually suggest a small donation is made to a named charity with each competition entry. This time organisers are suggesting that residents donate to their local school. Visit the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook Group for more information.

Getting ready for the St Albans Rainbow Pumpkin Trail

4. Make sustainable decorations yourselves

Playing Out is, first and foremost about play. Free, unstructured play. The most unstructured way to decorate for Halloween is to let the kids go wild with natural materials and their imagination.  You can still decorate your house inside or out this year. (For ideas about how to work as a street to decorate without traditional trick-or-treating, see tip number 1).

  • Forage in nature – pine cones, conkers, autumn leaves, twigs all make great decorative materials.
  • Hand them a bucket of chalk and let them decorate the drive with spooky pictures
  • And don’t forget the pumpkin!
Halloween decorations from natural materials look fabulous

There are also plenty of sustainable decorations that you can make. No need to go out and buy them – make them from the stuff you already have! Don’t forget to try to avoid glitter if you can.

  • Wool spiders’ webs
  • Make a haunted house den from a big cardboard box
  • Cut out spiders and ghouls from black plastic bags and blue tack to walls and windows – those plastic postal bags that have black insides are ideal for this.
  • Fill jam jars with spooky stuff and dot around – what pocket money toys are lying around your house? Plastic spiders and other insects, pretend eye balls, fake thumbs from a magic set can be put in a jam jar filled with water. Add a few drops of different food colouring to each for a spooky display.
  • Decorate jam jars – and fill with LED tea lights to make lanterns
  • Egg carton bats
  • Bed sheet ghosts (stuff a pillow case in the middle and tie with string to make head then suspend)

5. Carve a pumpkin

You might need to help the kids with this one but carved pumpkins are a great way to celebrate Halloween. Maybe you might want to carve a rainbow on yours this year? Hertfordshire Council have a You Tube video on how to do it – just click here to link to the HCC page.

If your carved pumpkin is original and worthy of a prize, why not enter it into a competition? If you live in Harpenden, you can enter into the mayor’s competition and if you live anywhere in St Albans District you can enter the St Albans Rainbow Trail Competition.

Keep your pumpkin decorations sustainable by not creating unnecessary food waste. A terrifying 12.8 million pumpkins are expected to be left uneaten this Halloween, in the UK alone!  Hubbub UK’s annual Pumpkin Rescue campaign is back, this year called “Eat Your Pumpkin”. For lots of ideas visit Hubbub.

Why not try this great pumpkin soup recipe from Grow Community Sopwell in St Albans. And don’t forget pumpkin seeds can be roasted too for a tasty snack!

6. Make Halloween food

At Playing Out sessions, we would normally encourage neighbours to have a tea station with tea and biscuits to share – a spot for adults to gather and get to know each other while the children play. Quite often, for festive occasions, neighbours will provide fun food.  You can still enjoy Halloween food at home this year or even show it off to your neighbours at a virtual party.

  • Think plastic-free when it comes to the sweets and treats – cardboard and foil are both recyclable. How about a visit to the local independent sweet shop choosing loose penny sweets with a paper bag or perhaps making some homemade treats? Interested in more Plastic Free ideas? Why not join the discussions on local Facebook Groups like Plastic Free Harpenden and St Albans Eco?

You can make all other sorts of fun-themed food:

  • Bloody fingers in a vice (vegetarian sausages and ketchup in a roll)
  • Mummies (vegetarian sausages wrapped in a snake of pastry – add eyes to be extra creepy!)
  • Spooky spiders (chocolate krispy cakes with chocolate finger legs)
  • Skeleton biscuits – gingerbread men with white bones drawn on in icing
  • Banana ghosts – stick lollipop sticks in half a skinned banana, draw on spooky face in chocolate drops and freeze
  • False teeth – carve a wedge out of the skin-side of a quarter apple, smear with something sticky (peanut butter, jam, honey) and stick in “teeth” – almonds, rice crispies, small crackers or roasted sweetcorn.

Feeling more adventurous? Try BBC Good Food for lots more Halloween recipes.

7. Get dressed up – without buying new

No need to buy a costume! Make your own or try getting one second hand – it’s so easy and it’s cheaper!

  • Ghost up with a sheet (best advice my mother-in-law ever gave me – “never throw away old sheets – they come in so handy for everything”).
  • Toilet paper mummy – wind round you!
  • Cat – black outfit, cardboard ears attached to hairband, homemade tail from old tights.
  • Bat – black outfit, wings from black material, cardboard bat ears attached to hairband
  • Don’t forget the joy of Facepaints – scary witch, spooky ghost – there are tons of ideas on line!

Second hand, try local charity shops. For St Albans District there are many local selling Facebook groups, such as

And don’t forget to scout the free sites and pages:

Facebook pages for free Halloween stuff: 

8. Go on an Indoor Treasure Hunt

Want to stay indoors for the fun? Why not send the kids on a treasure hunt round the house to find the treats.

For little ones, cut out pictures of pumpkins on paper or card and hide around the house for them to find. Once they have found them all, give them a treat.

For children that can read, make 10-15 clues that lead them round the house until they find their treat at the end. They can be simple for little ones or more complex for older kids. For example:

  • Where mummy sits to work (put next clue on your desk chair)
  • I make the clothes go round and round (put the next clue in the washing machine)
  • Brrrr it’s chilly in here (put your next clue in the fridge)
  • etc

Try to alternate clues upstairs and downstairs to get the maximum running around!

If you’re feeling super lazy, here’s a ready-made one!

Then get the kids to make up a treasure hunt for you!

9. Do an outdoor scavenger hunt

Playing Out sessions encourage us to get to know and connect with the local area, particularly our own street. Prefer your Halloween fun to happen in daylight hours? Go out on a scavenger hunt in your street: just make a list together and go outside with a bucket to hunt and spot!

  • For example, collect 
    • Red leaf
    • Yellow leaf
    • Brown leaf
    • Acorn
    • Conker
    • Pinecone
  • For example, spot
    • Pumpkin
    • Pumpkin picture
    • Other halloween decorations (if it’s 31st)
    • Boot
    • Squirrel
    • Spider’s web
    • Flying bird
    • Mushroom
    • Bugs (worm, slug etc)

Why not take a litter pick and a rubbish bag with you and clean up your community while you’re out with the kids?!

10. Play spooky games


Whether online at a virtual party with your neighbours or at home as a family, there are some fantastic games you can play at Halloween. Playing Out tends to focus on traditional street games – skipping, ball games and scooting and biking are all great in the neighbourhood. So keep the feel traditional for Halloween night, and try:

  • Apple bobbing – can’t get more traditional than that!
  • Telling spooky stories – tell them to the kids, or get them to make them up. Add atmosphere by sitting in your homemade haunted house den with your homemade lanterns. For smaller children, try a spooky version of Chinese whispers with sentences that are Halloween themed.
  • Make a Halloween “feel” box – cut a slot in the top of a cardboard box and fill with textured objects to spook everyone out – try peeled grapes inside that feel like eyeballs and cooked spaghetti for guts, tinned peaches for a liver and an old rubber gloved filled with flour for a dead hand, how scary can you make yours??
  • Play a Halloween-themed Kim’s game – a good one for an online party: show a tray of Halloween themed items and then take one away – what is missing?

About Playing Out St Albans District

Playing Out is a nation-wide concept where residents choose to apply to the local authority to close their road to through traffic to allow the children to come out onto the street and cycle, scoot and play together in the road. It is a fabulous way to build communities, offering neighbours a chance to build support networks and children the opportunity to get fresh air and exercise, as well as learn to play in an unstructured manner with other children of all ages.

At the current time, organising road closures for Playing Out is not possible due to Covid restrictions. However, if this is something you would like to see on your street in the future, why not join our mailing list to be kept up-to-date with the latest news so you can get involved once restrictions are lifted.

Join our mailing list here.

Happy Halloween!

Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

How to make the most of Christmas, whilst also being kinder to our community and environment.

1. TREES

A real Christmas tree seems an obvious choice. However, almost 8 million trees are purchased in December in the UK alone, resulting in intensive production and potentially a lot of waste. When purchasing a real tree, to ensure the tree has been grown sustainably, look out for the FSC- certification logo. After Christmas, see if you can get your tree recycled. If you have an artificial tree, keep using it, make it last for as long as possible. Sites such as freecycle can help you source a pre-loved one.

2. GIFTS

This is where you can be really creative. Homemade crafts and foods make for great gifts. If you are looking to save money, why not offer to do something nice for someone instead by issuing free “Christmas Gift Cheques”? You can find these online, where you can download and print as many as you need. When shopping for presents, consider buying from local shops and market traders.

3. FOOD

You can make a considerable difference to a more sustainable Christmas by considering your food habits over the festive period. Going vegetarian for part of the holidays can reduce your environmental impact. When it comes to meat, try to source organic meat and consider ways to make your festive roasts last longer. Reducing food waste is also very important – be creative with leftovers, think about what you can freeze, or maybe plate up some leftovers for an elderly neighbour, food bank or soup kitchen?

4. DECORATIONS

Most of us love festive decorations, elaborate wrapping paper and receiving Christmas cards. However, it is estimated that paper waste over Christmas produces the equivalent of several million litres of biofuel. Recycling and making your own decorations is a great way to be more sustainable and getting the kids involved can be lots of fun. When it comes to cards, e-cards are far kinder on the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, saving trees and saving money! If you prefer to send real cards, consider buying them locally and choosing cards that support a good cause.

5. CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES

Could you live without the TV, tablet or games console at all over Christmas? Switching off these devices is kinder to the environment. Why not dig out an old board game or two, they are great ways of keeping friends and families entertained and it is just possible that this could be a brand-new experience for youngsters. If looking to venture outdoors, consider going for a walk around our beautiful city, or maybe a cycle ride?