It’s no doubt that Halloween is one of our most favorite holidays of the year. Is it a holiday or a celebration? Either way, it is the best time of the year to go wild with your imagination or stick to something easy and uncomplicated. Regardless of whether you celebrate this fun holiday, one important rule to remember is to be safe! But here we’re also going to talk about how to “green” your Halloween this year and hopefully keep the tradition in your household every year after.
Halloween has always been a fun tradition for me while growing up. Realistically we all know that it derived from an older tradition that dated back hundreds of years ago but in this day and age, Halloween has become one of the most fun celebrations in the world. Some people plan months ahead on decorations, parties, and of course the costumes. But with so many possible haphazards out there, we have to be extra diligent during this much loved holiday. Safety for our children and other children are the top priority of course, but what about safety for our environment? Let’s talk about how to green our Halloween this year with the following guidelines:
***DIY Costumes or Costume Swap – First think of what you want to be for Halloween. Then find things you have in the house already. If not, then be sure to buy materials that are easily recyclable or reusable. Making your own costumes can run from very easy to professionally done. Think of old bedsheets that you don’t want to throw out but don’t want to use either. You can make creative costumes with those or even a simple ghost costume would work. Costume Swapping is also becoming quite the trend. Start off locally with your friends and family. Organize a neighborhood swap. There is sure to be a costume a friend has that would fit your child.
***Organic Candy – If you must hand out candy this year for Halloween, try buying organic candy. They are made without any artificial ingredients and most are packaged in recyclable packaging. However, organic candy may still contain an abundant amount of sugar so be sure to watch out for the sugar content.
***Green Costumes – Many costumes that are sold in stores are made with some type of plastic. Not all plastics as you know, are safe. PVC, a type of plastic that contains phthalates among other compounds have been found to be unsafe for prolonged contacts. So if you must buy store bought costumes made from plastic, check the labels to see what type of materials are used and if possible skip that costume. If you must buy something with potentially toxic plastics, air it out in an open room or outdoors for a few days to dissipate the fumes.
***Pumpkins and Decorations – We all love some kind of decorations for Halloween. Be it a fresh pumpkin or a plastic one, my advice is to buy the fresh ones. While plastic decorations may seem like you’re saving money and resources, it still takes millions of dollars and emission fuels to produce these types of plastic Halloween decorations. However if you still kept yours from last year, by all means reuse them or trade them with a friend or neighbor to freshen up your decorations. I personally feel bad for all the pumpkin farms that sell a whole yard full of pumpkins because really – who’s going to buy up all of those pumpkins anyway?
***Halloween Treats – Who can resist opening up that delightful package of M&M’s filled with colorful chocolate candy? Well, in our household we try to resist them mainly because of the type of ingredients used in those eye-candy. Thousands of pounds of candies are sold each Halloween and many end up in our trashcans or into our tummies which results in some uncharacteristically bad behavior. This year why not just serve one bar of sweets instead of a handful. Or hand out quarters or a roll of pennies. Remember that with anything you don’t use or give out on Halloween, they inevitably end up in the trash and that’s both wasteful and unnecessary.
***Halloween Parties – Whether you’re having a party at home or a party at your kid’s school, there are bound to be a lot of different views on what to serve, what to do, and what are allowed or not allowed. Remember that if you’re having a party at home, keep them safe with non-toxic toys, games, and food. Give out treats as suggested above. Play games that aren’t wasted later one. And make home made food and treats when possible.
***Recycling Halloween – We know that Halloween comes every year. So as we put away our decorations and costumes, let’s also remember to recycle responsibly. Use the pumpkin seeds in your pumpkins by baking them for a delicious and nutritious treat. Compost your pumpkins. Donate your costumes if at all possible or save them for next year’s costume swap. And if you have leftover candy, save the health of your children by either donating them to your workplace or turning them into valuable things at stores that offer a trade-in.
Remember that Halloween can be both safe and fun for children and adults. As long as you plan ahead and consciously decide on making it a green Halloween this year it will be fairly easy.
Have a Happy Halloween!