There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are turning brown, and something big and orange is sitting on everyone’s porch. Halloween is here! Of course, wouldn’t it be great if you could make Halloween just a bit more green? OK — maybe not zombie-green, but how about a bit more eco-friendly?
You and your family can still enjoy the annual night of ghouls and goblins without having to add more to your carbon footprint or to the landfill. We’ve conjured forth seven spooky tips to put more Eeeeek-Oh! into your Halloween.
You know those costumes from last year (and the years before) that none of your kids want to wear? Re-imagine them. Get creative and re-imagine the old costumes from previous years to create new spooky characters. You can also set up a costume swap with other parents so you all can get the most use out of those expensive store-bought costumes.
In other words, make something new from old. Visit local thrift stores or your local Goodwill store for cool costume ideas. You can have zombie or vampire anything costumes or you can easily put together a Raggedy Ann or pirate outfit.
3) Walk – Don’t Drive! – to Trick-or-Treat
While trick-or-treating at the mall may provide a fun alternative with climate-controlled comfort and safety for preschoolers, it’s still a drive to the mall which can eat both your time and fuel. Sure, it’s fun to try a different (perhaps more upscale) neighborhood once in a while, but the more time you spend in the car means the less time you’ll have for trick-or-treating.
Trick-or-treating on foot in your own neighborhood not only cuts down on pollution and your carbon footprint, it’s also an adventure in familiar surroundings. Walking a trick-or-treat route is exercise for both you and your children. Plus, it lets you and your kids meet your neighbors and helps you build relationships that can last year-round.
4) Buy Your Orange Local
Get your pumpkin from local farmers. This year, weather has badly affected pumpkin crops in some regions of the country, so finding a carving pumpkin in your area might be difficult. The classic deep orange Jack o’-lantern pumpkin is the Howden-type pumpkin which is commercially grown and shipped everywhere.
To keep your carbon footprint small, buy locally grown pumpkins from a local farmer instead. There are many different varieties of Jack o’-lantern pumpkins grown by farmers in your area. Plus, you can save the seeds to roast to eat as a tasty snack — OR plant them to grow your own pumpkins for next year.
5) Eco-Friendly Treats
Traditional Halloween treats can be a cause for concern with some eco-savvy folks. They contend that many Halloween candies come with excessive packaging, while others point out that treats should be safe from contamination or from tampering. If you’re happy handing out the standard favorites, look for candy selections that use a minimum plastic wrapping or better yet — are recyclable. Wrappers used by Mars/Wrigley or Cadbury are recycled by Terracycle into cool stuff.
There are other alternatives offering sensible packaging and a nutritious alternative to overly sugared candy. These include organic juice boxes, organic applesauce, or organic granola bars. There’s also great non-food treasures for little kids like stickers, temporary tattoos, or collectible cards.
6) Use a Battery-Less Flashlight
Sure, those chemical glow stick and bracelets are really cool and look eerie for Halloween. Unfortunately, once they’re done glowing, they’re finished – and they can’t be recycled. Luckily, shake-flashlights using LED bulbs can light your way. Shake flashlights don’t need batteries — so there’s no disposal problems with nickel and cadmium. Instead, the flashlight charges a capacitor that can temporarily store an electrical charge. All you need to do is shake it once in a while to charge the flashlight’s capacitor, and you’re good to move your gang on to the next house.
7) Eco-Friendly House Decorations
Give the trick-or-treaters something to scream about. You could buy Halloween decorations that are durable enough to use every year, but these can be fairly expensive. You can also make decorations from stuff that you will be able to use later — such as trash bags. Here are a few ideas:
- Just stuff ‘em, form ‘em, display ‘em —and then un-stuff ’em to use as trash bags.
- You can also use plastic gallon milk jugs lit by battery powered tealights to create spooky faces.
- Add cheese cloth as a ghastly shroud.
- Make paper bats and spiders to cast frightful shadows on your windows.
One more thing — Halloween is great fun that brings your neighborhood together, so remember your manners. Kids should say “Please” and “Thank you” for their treats. Adults should just relax and be nice to the kids coming to their door.
Have an Eeeeek-Oh-Friendly Happy Halloween!