Like many of our holidays, Halloween can be an expensive and wasteful experience. Don’t let the commercialism take all the fun or eco-friendly opportunities out of it! Check out our simple tips to make sure you don’t spook Mother Nature this October. Want more ideas? Visit our friends at Green Halloween®, a nonprofit community initiative aimed at creating healthier and more Earth-friendly holidays.
Green Halloween Costumes
Consider reusing or recycling costumes from previous years to make new costumes, or recycling old clothing into new costumes. Before you set out your paper recycling, set aside cardboard boxes and large pieces of paper that you can use to fashion costumes. Instructions for great handmade costumes can be found at places like craftzine and The Daily Green.
This Halloween, make a green Halloween costume box and throw old clothes, interesting props and other recyclable materials into it throughout the year. By next Halloween, you’ll have lots of eco-friendly materials to make into new costume ideas.
Green Halloween Treats
Instead of giving out high-sugar candy, consider giving pennies for UNICEF, pencils, erasers, or temporary tattoos. Besides reducing the waste of all the single-serving packaging, you’ll be providing a healthy alternative to candy. If your kids won’t let you give up food treats, consider small boxes of raisins which have recyclable paper packaging.
These days, trick-or-treaters are hauling home more candy than ever before. Check out our Halloween candy Green Quiz to find out how much and how you can cut down on the extra sweets AND the extra waste.
Green Halloween Decorations
Halloween decorations can be natural and non-commercial, with gourds, pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns! Lower your emissions on Halloween by buying locally grown pumpkins, and then lower your waste by composting them after Halloween is over. Use recycled paper to make window decorations, and then send them on for another round of recycling after the holiday. Paper grocery bags can be cut and molded into spooky Halloween trees, masks, and painted white for ghostly effects.
Green Halloween Trick-or-Treating
Send your children trick-or-treating with reusable buckets, canvas bags or pillow cases. Lower emissions by trick-or-treating in your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors better by inviting them over for an old fashioned bobbing-for-apples competition at your house.
Green Halloween Party
Send electronic invitations instead of paper to lower waste. Instead of using plastic plates, cups and utensils, compostable silverware and party plates are now widely available. Go to your neighborhood Goodwill and purchase a pile of mismatched cloth napkins and then have guests toss them in a bin for washing and reusing at your next party. Be sure to recycle bottles and cans, and compost leftovers.
Green Halloween Cleanup
Once Halloween is over, recycle your pumpkins, the straw you used to build scarecrows and any other organic material by composting it. For inedible items, add them to your composting pile (or start composting now!) for great, nutrient rich soil in the spring.