Halloween is THE favorite holiday of the year for me and my family. Is it a holiday though? I don’t care – we celebrate it no matter what! Much like a few other holidays celebrated in the US, Halloween is also a celebrated event in other countries such as England, Germany, Taiwan, and Mexico has something similar in their Dia de los Muertos festival. And the best thing about Halloween is that it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old – you can dress up, eat treats, and decorate to your hearts content!
But let’s pause a few moments and think about the environmental impact that this fun holiday creates. We buy bags of candy and treats, we wear store bought costumes, and we adorn the house with store bought decorations. Do you ever think about all those plastic wrappers that the kids throw away after eating the treats? Or the polyester materials that usually make up the costumes you find in stores? All those things will eventually end up in the landfill and they are usually not recyclable nor do they decompose properly. So how do we be more environmentally conscious this Halloween? Is it possible?
Yes! You can have an eco friendly Halloween this year and every year. Let’s start with these suggestions:
1- Choose Halloween treats with less packaging. Candies in individual boxes might be saved for recycling. You can also buy in bulk and choose the candy that has the less packaging.
2- Reuse plastic bags for trick-or-treating. Or better yet, cut out the plastic bag altogether and go for a reusable cloth bag or make your own from an old T-shirt or pillow case.
3- Avoid store-bought costumes. Costumes on the rack are often made of nonrecyclable petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers. One of these plastics is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a carcinogen that releases harmful toxins in its creation and breakdown. Opt for an eco-friendly costume made of natural materials.
4- Create your own Green Halloween decorations. Make creepy ghosts by stuffing old bed sheets with leaves, newspaper or other filling then tie with a string to form a head and hang from your trees. Or, instead of buying synthetic spiderwebs that you’ll throw away after the holiday, make your own with shredded black pantyhose or cotton balls.
5- Know what’s in your Halloween face paint. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent 10 kid’s make-up sets to a lab and found all 10 contained lead, as well as nickel cobalt and chromium. These products aren’t listed on product labels. Look for organic non-toxic face paints that comply with Campaign for Safe Cosmetics standards.
6- Buy locally grown pumpkins. Sure, those plastic pumpkins can last for years as long as you remember to use them every year instead of throwing them out and buying new plastic ones. You can also make delicious treats from the large pumpkins buy, such as pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie.
7- Swap costumes. Costumes swapping is an easy way to reduce your waste on costumes that your child will likely outgrow next year. Find friends or family members who are willing to exchange costumes with you.
8- If you’re having a Halloween party, consider all the environmental impact. Follow the steps above as guidelines and help your guest be more environmentally friendly too.
9- Keep sweets at a minimum. It’s good for your health and the health of our planet too!
10- Remember to reuse and upcycle anything leftover from Halloween. Upcycling is a fun and creative way to reduce your waste.
So this Halloween, don’t let extra plastics and waste scare you from having a fun and safe Halloween. Use and buy consciously and enjoy!
*photos and content credits given to deliciousliving magazine.
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Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.