Happy Hallowgreen!

Our 2 Minute Guide to a Covid Friendly, Plastic Free Halloween!

Arguably the most fun holiday of the year, Halloween is adored by both kids and grownups. Fancy dress, pumpkin carving, SO MANY SWEETS and scaring each other silly, what’s not to like? Well, whilst it’s mostly just fun and games, the 31st of October can sadly also bring with it a tidal wave of single-use plastic, leaving an environmental nightmare in it’s wake. Add in the fact that Covid means no trick or treating or Halloween parties, and you might feel a little bit lost for what to do! 

But, there’s no need to panic and cancel this year’s spooky celebrations, because here at The 2 Minute Foundation, we have a plan to keep things as green, and socially distanced, as possible! Introducing The 2 Minute Guide to a Covid Friendly, Plastic Free Halloween; simple, easy hacks to making sure your little monsters have an awesome time, whilst causing minimal impact on the environment and staying in line with government guidelines! 

Make your own costumes and have a Zoom Halloween party!

Just because Halloween discos and spooky nights out aren’t happening this year, doesn’t mean you can’t pop on some tunes, invite your family and friends to a huge Zoom call and dance around your kitchen! You could even have a competition for the best dressed! 

Dressing up doesn’t have to mean buying new! There are plenty of ways that you can save your pennies and the planet by creating your Halloween costume from something preloved. Creep it real by repurposing old clothes from the fancy dress box (we’re thinking Zombie Cinderella), do the classic white-sheet-turned-ghost trick, check out the local charity shops or literally cover any item of clothing in fake blood (fail-safe)… Making your own costume can end up being just as fun as wearing it, plus you’ll be saving money on buying something new and mass-produced (yuck)! 

Another way to beat the covid-blues is by making your own face scary face mask! Dracula fangs, scary smiles and witchy warts painted onto a plain, everyday face mask are a scare-tacular way to make people laugh whilst out and about on 31st of October.  

To keep it eco, we also create our own dressing-up accessories. Brooms made from bundles of twigs lashed to the end of sticks are perfect for little witches, and glass old jars wrapped in yellow tissue paper and filled with battery-powered fairy lights make ghostly lanterns! 

Pumpkin Walks and DIY decorations 

One of our favourite Halloween activities, pumpkin carving! There’s nothing that gets us more excited for the spooky season than seeing glowing pumpkins on our neighbours front steps. Whether they have creepy, scary faces or big laughing mouths and goofy teeth, they look awesome and brighten up the cold, wet nights of late October. If you’re a youngster, make sure you ask an adult to help you carve your pumpkin! 

As there probably won’t be any trick or treating this year, why not go on a pumpkin hunt? Each household can fill their windows with homemade decorations, carved pumpkins and fairy lights, and families can roam the streets in their fancy dress costumes searching for the best displays and the most inventive carvings! It’s a great way to encourage kids to still get outside and have fun, and also boosts the community spirit of the towns and villages that are missing trick or treating this year! Why not make it a competition too? 

Sadly, in 2018 it was recorded that 8 million pumpkins were thrown away after Halloween! However, there are plenty of ways to stop your pumpkin going to waste, our favourite one is to eat it instead! Click here (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zedN73DCP8) to watch 2 Minute Foundation founder Martin Dorey cook up delicious pumpkin soup in his camper van! (You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of this blog too.) 

Other DIY decoration ideas are; spray painting wine bottles black to become creepy candle holders, black paper cut outs in your windows to create silhouettes of cobwebs, cats and cauldrons, and painting little white eyes on black ribbons then tying them to branches like tiny bats! 

Buy your sweets from re-fill shops, or make them yourself, and have a Halloween Treat Hunt! 

Just because there’s no trick or treating doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be sweets!! See if there’s a local re-fill or zero-waste shop in your area, as they will probably have loose sweets available to buy by weight, without plastic packaging or individual wrappers. 

This year, as we won’t be knocking on people’s doors, why not take a leaf from the Easter Bunny’s book and set up a Halloween Treat Hunt in your house and garden? By hiding sweets inside and out, little ones will still get their treats this year, but they’ll have to run around, climb, jump and  search if they want them! 

If you’re feeling creative you could also make your own treats! The BBC Good Food website have some amazing recipes that include eerie eyeball pops, Halloween slash cake and spider biscuits. Check out their ideas here. (link: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/halloween-recipes) Your Halloween treats will be love at first bite! 

Get outside with these outdoor activities! 

It’s definitely autumn; the cold wind is whipping the sea into a frenzy and the mornings and evenings are definitely getting darker, but that doesn’t mean you should hide inside! There are lots of fun things to do outside during the colder months, and it’s really good for both your physical and mental health to stretch your legs, have a laugh and fill your lungs with fresh air. 

Try creating art from the things that you find in the garden; acorns can turn into little hat-wearing men and women, leaves are perfect for making their houses, and bigger sticks and branches can be fashioned into awesome dens for real people too! 

Farms around the country are also offering pumpkin picking. Families can take a wander round their fields and choose their own pumpkin for carving and cooking! 

And at the end of the day, if it’s too wet, windy and wild to go outside, just snuggle down on the sofa with a huge bowl of popcorn and have a good ol’ fashioned scary movie marathon! 

We hope we’ve inspired you with some of these socially distanced, plastic-free Hallowgreen ideas! Do you have any more that you’d like to share? Please get in touch as we are always looking for more ways to make the world more eco-friendly. If you enjoyed this blog, you can Text to Donate to The 2 Minute Foundation by texting 2MINUTE to 70460 to send us a one-off donation of £2, or text 2MINUTE to 70450 to donate £2 a month! 

Martin Dorey’s Spicy Pumpkin Soup 

For 4 

Ingredients 

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 50g butter
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Dollop of soured cream
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • A few coriander leaves (to garnish, if you wish)

Method 

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the oil and soften the onions. Add the ground ginger, chilli flakes and garlic clove. 

Meanwhile make about a pint and a quarter of hot stock using boiling water and the stock cube. Add the star anise to the stock.

Cut the top of the pumpkin off, remove the seeds and scrape out as much of the flesh as you can. 

When the onions have softened add the pumpkin flesh to the pan and mix it all up well, keeping it on a medium heat to make sure that the onions and spices cover the flesh. Cook for a few minutes. 

Add enough stock to just cover the flesh of the pumpkin and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the flesh has cooked through and starts to break apart.

Remove the pot from the heat and mash the contents gently to break down as much of the pumpkin as possible. This will make a really rustic soup. If you want to make a smooth soup, simply whizz it up in a food processor or using a handheld electric blender. 

Season to taste and serve with a dollop of soured cream in each, and perhaps a little coriander to garnish. 

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2 Minutes of Positivity on World Mental Health Day

The concept that just 2 minutes can make a whole world of good, is one that we live by. 2 minutes of picking up litter can clean up our earth. 2 minute solutions can lead to entire lifestyle shifts towards more eco-friendly existences. 2 minute regeneration projects can plant entire forests. And 2 minutes of positivity can make a massive difference to our mental health.

We believe that taking care of your mental health, is just as important as taking care of your physical health. You wouldn’t go to bed without brushing your teeth, so why go to bed without emptying your mind? In a time when we are absolutely bombarded with information, distractions and advertising, take 2 minutes out of your day, every single day, and take a step back. Take a deep breath. Go outside. Do yoga. Meditate. Sing. Dance. Cook something delicious. Cuddle your cat. Walk your dog. Learn an instrument. Call a friend. Chat to your neighbour. The smallest of actions can make the biggest of differences, and it’s important to take the time, even if it’s just 2 minutes, to do something that makes your really, truly happy.

Over the lockdown in Spring we launched our #2minutesofpositivity campaign, and were inundated with responses. Big wave surfers and sports coaches and celebrity’s and members of our very own 2 Minute Family recorded little messages to spread some positivity across our social media channels – sometimes it was singing, sometimes it was exercise, sometimes we were even taken to the mountain tops in Norway! Whatever it was, we were aiming to make you smile, to encourage you to move your body, and inspire you to do something that makes you happy, too.

The 2 Minute Foundation is so much more than a charity. It’s a network of people. It’s a family. We want you to feel like you are a part of something, achieving something, and supported the entire time. Our aim is to not only help the planet, but to help you! When your eyes hurt from the screens, the walls feel like their closing in, when your mood is sinking lower and lower, we couldn’t recommend getting outside enough. Fresh air, Vitamin D, stretching your legs and listening to the birds is, in our opinion, the best medicine. Anxiety and depression levels have skyrocketed over this unpredictable year, but heading outside for a walk and taking part in just 2 minutes of litter-picking and street or beach cleaning, can make a world of difference! You’re doing something good for the world and something good for yourselves, and it makes US so happy knowing you’re caring for your own mental health at the same time as taking care of our amazing planet.

So, let this Saturday be a conversation starter, not just a date on the calendar. World Mental Health Day should be EVERY DAY. Ask your friends how they are, really. Call your family if you’re feeling down. Drag yourself out of bed for an early morning dog walk. Jump in the sea for a swim. Take a couple of minutes to do something that makes you happy EVERY SINGLE DAY!

If you’re struggling with mental health issues and don’t know who to talk to, there are some amazing charities that offer 24 hour support, priceless advice, a listening ear and some great resources, such as Samaritans and Mind.

https://www.mind.org.uk

https://www.samaritans.org

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