Solarpunk and Halloween don’t seem to go together. You have a movement based entirely In the power of sunlight and nature in full bounty. This doesn’t seem to mesh well with Halloween, a celebration rooted in recognising and honouring Death, darkness and the afterlife. Be it the very physical time where nature goes into hibernation and Daylight becomes Weak and short.
However I love Halloween, and I love Solarpunk. So I’m going to jam them together anyway. I guess this would be better to think of it as Lunarpunk. So I’ve curated some projects to start and carry out through the Spooky season:
Make pumpkin batteries
SO remember those kids science experiments where they use a potato as a battery for a light bulb or alarm clock? Well you can do that with pumpkins too. The principle is quite simple, the acidic elements in the pumpkin, like the sugars, interact with the metal to create a current. This is the basic principal behind most batteries. There are basic instructions to using pumpkins to create an electric current here:
Now the article states you need to string several small pumpkins together to create enough current to power a set of led lights. However I came across an article that fixes that problem. if you insulate chunks of pumpkin, you can get the same effect with just one carving pumpkin. Essentially making an environmentally sound, completely reusable, self sustaining light up pumpkin. A full instruction set for making it can be found here:
Grow Bioluminescent mushrooms for natural creepy lighting
So two available breeds of bioluminescent mushrooms are absolutely perfect for Halloween. The first is the bright orange breed called the “jack-o-lantern” and the second is the “Ghost mushroom” and both glow a supernatural green. How perfect is that?
The spores for these breed can be found online as well as growing kits. You can find a beginner guide for growing mushrooms here.
Please remember, these species are not edible, and its best to grow them outside your living space as excessive spores in enclosed spaces can damage human lungs.
Use Only biodegradable materials
So this suggestion is low tech and fairly bread and butter, but its an important one. Halloween is one of the worst times for unnecessary plastic. Nearly all Halloween decorations and costumes use plastic and petroleum based rubber. But you can make some genuinely creepy stuff from only compostable or reusable materials.
Pumpkins are the easiest, as they can be composted once your done with them. I actually find the squirrels and ravens like picking at mine if I leave them in the park the day after.
Creepy scarecrows really are easy to do. They can be assembled from sticks and twig and and fabric or old clothing. And they can look really creepy with very little input.
If you eat meat, then saving up and cleaning bones from meals like ribs, lamb or chicken give you a great supply of materials for some creepy displays. they work great for witchy aesthetics.
Finally why not try making your own costume. This is a great time to start practising sewing skills on a one off project, as the stitching and effort doesn’t have to be perfect
Experiment with green flames
You want an eldritch look to your home? Try green flames. So warning first off, this involves open flames and using potentially hazardous chemicals, so use appropriate precautions. This works best with simple oil lamps, which can be found quite regularly at charity shops. If you combine the fuel for the lamps with boric acid or borax, available in the cleaning products section of home stores and pharmacies.
If you want to put in a bit more prep time you can make green flame wax candles which will last longer, although I am told they are harder to get right