Ah yes. Autumn. The time when the temperature gets cooler, at least on my half of the hemisphere, and the time for the color of the leaves to change from greens to browns, oranges, yellows, and reds. The time when earth displays her magnificent beauties. You breathe in that fresh autumn smell and reminisce playing in the leaves as a child.
It’s a time when the smell of pumpkin spice latte’s and pumpkin spice everything lingers in the air. Pumpkins and decorations adorn people’s homes, some scary, others more harvesty. Pumpkin this, and pumpkin that. Jack-o-lantern here, and there, and everywhere.
And then memories of that one special night that highlights kids’ excitement everywhere during this wonderful autumn season? the frightful and delightful Halloween night when everyone dresses up in their favorite costumes!
Yes. That I’m talking about that night.
So, I bet you’re wondering how on earth we can keep our green living lifestyle during autumn while preparing for the Halloween festivities? You know, with all the old candied wrappers littering the grounds, old pumpkins smashed on the ground or in our garbage receptacles, toilet paper strewn around and the barely used Halloween costumes never to be worn again piling up in our closets.
Can Halloween and green living mix?
Well…that is the question and topic for today… as I’m sure all those newly green living lifestylers out there are wondering just how to do it. Believe it or not, there are a LOT of things one can do when preparing for and celebrating Halloween in order to keep walking the green lifestyle path.
Preparing for a greener Halloween
When preparing for a green Halloween, there are several things to consider:
- The costumes and make-up.
- Your choice of trick-or-treat bag.
- The decorations and Halloween festivities.
- The treats you choose to give the children
- Halloween clean up.
Costumes and Make-Up
The problem with all the costumes that people buy for a one time event, never to be worn again deal, is that these costumes are usually packaged and shipped from across the country, are super expensive, and they usually end up in the closet and/or landfill somewhere never to be seen again, but creating unnecessary waste and clutter.
Well, one solution would be to make your own costumes out of your own old clothing that you don’t need or is worn. That would at least eliminate the packaging, shipping, and fabric costs. Do you have any idea how this would make your Halloween costumes cheap?
To be honest? Usually, you can create your own for much less than that of a lot of these one-time-only costumes cost anyways. All it takes is a little creativity and resourcefulness. Plus it’s super easy and fun!
Another solution to the costume dilemma would be to recycle old costumes. Keep a Halloween costume trunk where old costumes are stored. Then you could do one of the following:
- wear an old costume from a previous year
- change up your old costumes to create a newly never word costume ensemble
- wear a family members costume from a previous year
- host a costume swap either with friends, family, and/or community
In fact, did you know that the second Halloween in October is recognized officially as National Costume Swap day? Yep. It is. So, plan ahead… host a costume swap party and have some fun! This doesn’t mean you can’t host a costume swap on a different day if that particular day doesn’t fit into your schedule, that’s just silly. You can host a costume swap any day you want, it’s just nice to do it far enough in advance to be able to get everything you need for the big day in order. Plus, if your community is holding a costume swap, chances are, they might pick National Costume Swap day as the day for their event. So keep that in mind.
You probably already know, not all makeup is safe to use for various reasons. You have to be careful where you get your make up from, don’t use someone else’s makeup (for infection control reasons) and make sure it is non-toxic makeup.
The second thing you will want to consider is your choice of a trick-or-treat bag. I would steer clear of plastic bags and plastic buckets as most of those end up as litter littering our streets, parks, rivers, lakes, oceans, and beaches. In these places, the plastic is responsible for killing wildlife, causing pollution, and uses up earth’s precious resources.
A lot of them also end up in landfills. And that’s a problem as it will just sit there piling up because you can’t just burn it up in an incinerator.
The reason for this is that plastic burnt up in an incinerator creates toxic air pollution. So, the plastic just sits in the landfills for God only knows how long, as no one really knows how long it takes for plastic to break down. Some guess that it may take hundreds to thousands of years even.
Basically, never use the plastic variety of anything if you can help it. Instead, use reusable bags or containers that you don’t throw away. Some types of bags you might consider using for a trick-or-treat bag are cloth or canvas shopping bags or even pillowcases.
Halloween Decorations and Festivities
Some of you probably plan on hosting a Halloween party, some just decorating your homes for trick-or-treater surprises, either way, there are tips on decorating in a greener way rather than buy all the cheap prepackaged plastic decorations.
Some things you can do is when you host a party, keep your decorations simple:
Send digital invitations instead of paper invitations (ie email, Facebook events, etc.) Use apples for apple-bobbing. Use sheets and twigs to make ghosts. Use apples, squash, leaves, and twigs to make decorative centerpieces. Use recycled materials for decorations. Use re-usable cutlery and dishes. Use pumpkins from your garden or a local farmer’s garden. Sometimes you may even find local farmers advertising them in the papers, or online. Last year, I was able to buy six huge pumpkins from a local farmer for $2 a piece. If you know anything about the price of pumpkins in my area at this time of year, that was a steal of a deal! (The going rate for pumpkins of comparable size was approximately $50-$60!!)
If you’re trick-or-treating, you can walk instead of driving. You can stay close to home, bike, carpool, or use public transportation.
Treats for the Kids
The biggest problem with the treats are all those candy-wrappers left over from the kids’ candies. There are a number of ways to handle this in a greener way.
One way to approach this is to teach your children to keep their candy wrappers until they can dispose of them properly at home or in trash cans on your way home. Whatever you do, you don’t want the wrappers to become litter.
In fact, you can even take an extra reusable bag with you and pick up litter while your kids are trick or treating.
Another thing to consider is the types of treats YOU may want to give out. Give away eco-friendly treats, like organic candy that is made in a way where it doesn’t harm the environment. Buy treats that are locally produced. This would support the local economy, fuel consumption, and pollution from transportation. Try to choose treats with little to no packaging. If you choose chocolate, go for organic chocolate. Choose healthier options like granola bars or juice pouches.
Or, another option and way of approach is to avoid choosing candy as a treat. Instead, use little trinkets from sustainable sources (ie. pretty stones, bracelets, sustainable chewing gum, temporary tattoos, green living toothbrushes, pencils, erasers, etc)
Halloween Clean Up
And last, but not least, when cleaning up after the Halloween festivities, you can use your apples and pumpkins for pies and soups. If you rather not bother, you can instead put them in the compost bin along with some leaves, branches, and brush. Donate costumes or place in costume bin for next years costume swap.
There are many things we can do during to keep Halloween festivities green. Hope these tips help you!
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