Make this disposable holiday a little greener
Halloween is autumn’s debut “event-of-the-season”. With the parties, treats and creative costumes, the festivities of Halloween are something many Americans look forward to for months. For some, however, the only thing scary about this holiday is the amount of waste it creates. According to the National Retail Federation Americans will spend about $4.75 Billion on Halloween this year. That’s almost $5 Billion of disposable items – decorations, costumes, trick-or-treat bags, candy-wrappers – that will end up in a landfill. This Halloween, why not ditch the disposables, conjure up your creativity and add a little green to this typically black-and-orange holiday?
• Choose your decorations wisely.
Let’s face it. We want to take advantage of the only time of the year we can actually use ghosts and goblins as décor (without seeming crazy). Instead of purchasing new plastic decorations, however, try either buying them used or renting them. Or reusing your old ones. KEEP IN MIND WE WANT TO GET AS MUCH WEAR AS POSSIBLE OUT OF ALL ITEMS.
Spend some time with your family and try making your own decorations using materials lying around your home. Try out these creative decoration ideas using old egg cartons, coat hangers and candy jars.
Choose real pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns instead of plastic ones. The acidity of the “pumpkin guts” acts as a natural exfoliate, and you can roast the pumpkin seeds for a tasty autumn snack.
Try one of these Vegan recipes to get the most out of your Halloween pumpkin.
When choosing candles for your jack-o’-lanterns, use soy candles instead of paraffin or petroleum, which release toxic chemicals into the air when burned. Soy candles not only burn cleaner, they burn longer as well.
Go natural and use the beautiful fall leaves in your yard as decoration by putting them, along with some mini pumpkins, in a festive basket.
•Candy with a Cause.
You don’t have to go the “organic apples and raisins” route to give kids more eco-friendly treats. Choose organic candy, buy candy in bulk to avoid excess packaging and don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bag to the store for all those goodies.
Talk to some of your friends with children and try borrowing or swapping out costumes with each other. By reusing old Halloween costumes you are limiting the amount of waste produced, not to mention getting something “new” without spending a ton of money.
Minimize waste with homemade costumes this year. Not only will you save a little cash, you’ll rid your closet of some craft-clutter and your child will have the most original costume on the block!
Don’t forget to send your child trick-or-treating with a reusable bag. Pillowcases make great durable treat bags, and they hold way more candy!
•Throw an orange, black and…green party.
Send guests invitations by e-mail, or make it even more personal by inviting people by phone.
Forget the cheesy disposable plates, paper napkins and plastic cutlery. When it comes to the linens and dishes, opt for the real deal instead. If your party is too large for reusable items try more biodegradable and sustainable party supplies that can be composted after use.
Make your own Halloween party snacks using as many local, organic ingredients as you can. Use the leftover pumpkin from your jack-o’-lantern to try out new pie, cookie and bread recipes.
Instead of bobbing for apples and wasting a full bathtub-amount of water, make it an outdoor activity and hang apples from a branch outside.
Make sure you recycle the glass and aluminum, and compost the leftover treats after the party.
• Trick-or-Treating. Instead of driving to another location to collect treats, try walking or biking somewhere near your neighborhood.
Carry a no-battery flashlight when trick-or-treating and wear bright-colored clothing to ensure maximum visibility.
If you’re concerned about safety, check your city for locations that offer indoor trick-or-treating. Many malls and hold safe Halloween events for families.
Homemade, organic snacks are much healthier than the overly sweet, full-of-preservative, store-bought treats.
Trying new recipes and crafts is a good way to spend time with your family and really get in touch with your creative side.
…to your wallet
By making your own decoration s and costumes – or reusing old ones – you can save a little extra green for the upcoming holiday season.
…to the earth
By limiting your Halloween purchases you are also limiting the amount of waste that ends up in the waste stream.
Making treats with local, organic ingredients supports sustainable farming and your local farmers.