Halloween can be a spooky holiday for the environment with tons of packaging, a mess of candy wrappers, jack-o-lanterns thrown in the garbage and Halloween outfits that are used only once. But, it’s pretty easy to be more environmentally-friendly, and here are some simple ideas to get you started.
Try to give out Halloween goodies that are don’t involve much packaging if you can. For example, if you live in a small neighborhood or you know the people coming to your door, you can give out fruits such as oranges or apples. Another option is to give Halloween handouts that don’t need to be packaged and that can be used and useful for kids, such as small pads made with recycled paper, pencils, pens and erasers.
Halloween Costumes and Makeup
Don’t buy new costumes if you can help it, and if you have bought a new costume, see if you can’t pass it on to the next sibling or someone else you know for next year. A way to be kinder to the environment is to borrow or trade costumes with friends, neighbors or relatives. You could even organize a Halloween costume swap. Other alternatives include buying your costume from a thrift store or second hand store or making a costume a la Fancy Nancy, just create an outfit with what you have at home. Here are some ideas for Funny Homemade Halloween Costumes and check out Green Halloween Costume Ideas for some outfits with an environmental theme.
As well, instead of buying masks or special face paint makeup for Halloween, see if the make up or products you have at home can be used for the kids. For example, if you child wants to be a cat, you can use brown or black eyeliner to make whiskers and nose.
Use cloth bags that you can reuse each year, reuse plastic bags or go old school and use a pillowcase like I used to do as a kid. You can get creative by reusing containers you already have at home and select ones that can match the outfit, like a beach bucket for your pirate and a wicker basket for Little Red Riding Hood.
If you kids did any Halloween or Fall-themed artwork from school, use that to post on windows and doors to decorate your home. Not only will it help make your place feel festive, but your kids will feel proud to have their work up for your Halloween display. You can also reuse the back of white 8 by11 inch paper to make your own decorations. For example, you and the kids can draw ghosts on the paper and then post it on windows and doors. If you do decide to buy Halloween decorations, see if you can’t find some at a thrift store and keep them to be reused for next year.
Get your money’s worth out of that pumpkin. Collect the seeds and bake them. Instead of carving the pumpkin you can just set them out au natural or draw on the front or use tacks to put on black paper or black felt ( the latter can be saved and reused for next year). If you do carve in your jack-o-lantern’s face, save the parts for cooking. After October 31, you can carve up your pumpkin and make pie, muffins or soup with it. Don’t forget to put the remains into the compost.
You can have a greener Halloween this year by getting a homemade or used Halloween costume and using a cloth bag for trick-or-treating. Make your own Halloween decorations by reusing the backside of paper and choose Halloween treats to handout that don’t have a lot of packaging. Also, you can use all of your pumpkin, from seeds to pulp, instead of just using it as a decoration.