Halloween: Think Outside the Candy Box

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EDITOR”S NOTE: SCGH wants to know: How do you green your Halloween? Share your ideas for reducing waste and staying environmentally conscious during Halloween celebrations! We will re-post your ideas, so you can inspire each other as well.

By Erika F. Washington

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson want you to think outside the conventional candy box this Halloween and participate in the official National Costume Swap Day this Saturday. Participants in communities both large and small will bring their gently used Halloween costumes to swap out for another “new to them” costume.

If half the kids swapped costumes instead of purchasing new ones every year, it would reduce landfill waste by 6,250 tons, according to GreenHalloween.org.

Swapping costumes is a great first step in greening your Halloween. Colwell explains that some parents are initially drawn to the swaps for financial reasons. “They’re just thinking about how they’re going to afford costumes for their four kids,” she says. “Once they’re in [Costume Swap Day], they can start to consider other ideas such as composting their pumpkins and candy alternatives for the trick-or-treaters. This has brought a whole new group of people into looking at and making considerations for holiday alternatives.”

The mother-and-daughter team founded the Web site and national event just over a year ago, and now they have more than doubled the number of registered costume swap parties scheduled across the country. At last count, 160 parties were scheduled for Saturday.

The creators’ main objective is to make holidays in general more earth casino friendly. They started with Halloween, but they are always tossing around new ideas to make all holidays more eco-friendly.

“Our Web site is a meeting place where anybody who’s hosting a swap can list it and others can find out if there’s a swap near them,” says Coldwell.

Colwell adds that you don”t necessarily need to have a swap party by Saturday either. You can still log on and register your event for anytime before Halloween. The site guides you to make choices that are people healthy, animal friendly, and earth conscious. The site also lists simple guidelines like:

  • Plan ahead to avoid last-minute shopping, which often limits your choices.
  • When it comes to costumes and décor, reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or make it yourself.
  • Treat bags can be anything! For extra fun, match the bag to the costume using something you already own. Here are some ideas: purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks, lunchboxes.
  • Choose healthier treats. Take baby steps with organic candy and honey sticks, two child-favored choices. (Honey is not for children under two-years-old.)
  • Choose fun treasures instead of conventional sweets. Think of the treasures your child collects in her pockets (e.g., pretty rocks or coins).
  • If you are giving a party, avoid disposables, including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other décor.
  • Compost pumpkins and any other food, including leftover candy.
  • Collect candy wrappers and help your kids turn them into gift items such as purses, bracelets, and picture frames.

For more fun, green, and innovative ideas, log on to Celebrategreen.net. Also check out a video about the National Costume Swap Day below:

For related articles, see Hallowgreen and ideas from SCGH readers.

Erika F. Washington is a freelance journalist and social media manager who”s always looking at life through her green tinted glasses in fabulous Las Vegas.

© 2011 SCGH, LLC.


  1. Erica Etelson October 12, 2011
  2. Cheryl Pomeroy October 12, 2011

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