Halloween

Going green can be particularly difficult on highly commercialized holidays like Halloween. Plastic containers, treats, decorations and costumes are plentiful and hardly eco. But by following a few key tips, you can go green this Halloween, reduce your carbon footprint save yourself some cash, too.

Following these 13 tips for a green Halloween should let you celebrate frugally and with minimal environmental impact while having a spooktacular time.

1. Create or Recycle Green Costumes

Of course, making your own costumes from environmentally-friendly materials is super green. But, if sewing’s not your strong suit, you can still make a few simple changes to be greener this Halloween: 

  • Participate in costume exchanges, like the National Costume Swap Day or trade costumes among friends and neighbors.
  • Come up with a costume from your wardrobe by putting together regular clothing items and using creative makeup and accessories. 
  • Buy costumes at a thrift or consignment store. It’s like recycling for costumes. Avoid plastic and other non-recyclables if possible.
  • Rent costumes for elaborate looks without the waste.

2. Serve Green Treats

Buy organic, healthy treats whenever possible. If you’re buying imported candies or treats, consider Fair Trade certified products.

If you’re doing candy exchange among family, friends and neighbors, consider making your own homemade treats like homemade candies, fudge or marshmallow treats. 

Avoid wrappers and excess packaging, instead packing your treats inside goodie bags.

You can also pack:

  • Tiny treasures instead of treats
  • Other food items like honey sticks or dried fruit
  • Organic chocolate in bite-size pieces
  • Snack-sized packs of crackers or popcorn

If in doubt, choose treats that you would like your kids to receive.

3. Craft Green Decorations

Use recyclable materials to create Halloween-themed crafts with milk cartons, egg crates and the like.

Have your kids make Halloween crafts the week before to decorate your home or Halloween party. Try upside-down white footprints on black paper to make spooky ghosts. Paint or carve pumpkins from your garden or local farms.

4. Earth-Friendly Treat Bags

Instead of the plastic pumpkin, use decorated canvas or felt bags for your kids’ candy haul. Don’t have a bag? Decorate an old pillowcase with a simple ghost face, and voila!

5. Box it Up

Create a box for the holiday (along with other holidays you celebrate) and save all your reusable decorations, dinnerware, costumes and goodie bags in the box so you can pull them out each year to reuse. 

6. Walk Instead of Driving

No organized Halloween events in your neighborhood? Create your own by enlisting a few neighbors to swap treats so you can walk on Halloween instead of driving to a mall or other Halloween event.

7. Host a Halloween Party

Create a new traditional by hosting a Halloween party at your home. Serve spooky appetizers and bubbling brew (adult and kid-friendly versions) and set the mood with eco-friendly soy or beeswax candles.

8. Compost Halloween Leftovers

Compost party leftovers and papers to create soil for your garden. Those jack-o-lanterns can help grow new pumpkins for next year’s festivities. 

9. Non-toxic Ecofriendly Makeup and Dyes

Just because it’s non-toxic doesn’t mean it’s safe. Even some makeups labeled as non-toxic can include unsafe heavy metals and chemicals. Buy eco-friendly makeups and dyes, or make your own food and plant-based dyes.

10. Reverse Trick or Treat

Neighbors not “in the know” for a green Halloween? Bring fair trade certified chocolates or other green goodies to give back to the treat-givers in your neighborhood and spread the green joy.

11. Natural Decor

Decorate with pumpkins, leaves and gourds to make all of your Halloween decor compostable! Easy clean-up and ecofriendly, too!

12. Light it Up

Use beeswax and soy candles wherever possible. But if you like to use string lights, be sure to use LEDs, which are more energy efficient. For kids’ flashlights, try solar charged flashlights.

13. Halloween’s Over? Buy for Next Year

One of the best ways to save a few bucks and reduce waste is to buy at the end of the season. So, if you’re in need of decorations or costumes for your family, check the blowout sales after Halloween is over to get the best deal and save some space in local landfills.

Follow Kristi on Twitter @VeggieConverter

image: hanna_horwarth