It’s a fun night of goblins and ghosts, but can sometimes be less than earth-friendly. Here are a few tips for greening your Halloween celebrations:
Decorate with green in mind
All the fun, without the plastic! Much of the Halloween store-bought decorations available are made from petroleum-based plastics or virgin paper products. This year, why not decorate your home with dried or decaying plants you find around your neighborhood. Tall grass reeds coming out of the sleeves and feet of a homemade straw-man will spruce up your front porch (use your own clothes and stuff mostly with pillows and other clothing; the reeds add the extra punch in strategic places). Leaf piles and pumpkins welcome any trick-or-treater up your driveway.
If you want a bit more of the creepy crawly look, why not create it yourself using recycled goods? Let your children paint big monsters on sheets of newspaper, cut them out and hang in the windows for a pint-life-sized group of Halloween creatures! Newspaper also works great for three-dimensional decorations when made into paper mache. (learn how to make paper mache here http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/papermache/ht/PaperMache.htm ). Imagine a group of grossly painted eyeballs hanging in your trees or on your front porch. Encourage your kids to come up with grossest, scariest and funniest Halloween decorations out of recycled goods. Join in, and soon you’ll have a full set of environmentally-friendly Halloween decorations.
Green your Halloween goodies
No, I’m not suggesting switching broccoli for chocolate, but I am suggesting using a little bit of green sense when purchasing your Halloween candy. Look for the fair trade label, perhaps get candy in compost-able cellophane baggies (instead of petro-based plastic) and try for products made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. If you’re willing to spend on the shipping, The Natural Candy Store, http://www.naturalcandystore.com/ , has a great selection of allergen-free, environmentally-friendly candy for Halloween. Bulk purchases decrease shipping costs, so get with some friends to place an order (order today to get it here before Halloween). Also check the natural foods section of your grocery store; some are carrying greener Halloween selections.
If your one who likes to hand out handfuls of candy to each kid, as opposed to just a piece or two, consider purchasing candy bars as opposed to smaller packaged Halloween candy. The kids get excited about the full-sized bar, and the packaging requirement is less. Purchase the bars at a warehouse store in bulk for the best price.
Consider handing out non-candy items that are environmentally friendly, such as organic fruit leather, juice boxes, homemade bean bags (use Halloween material, a good price is fetched when purchased after Halloween for next year’s treats), recycle-themed temporary tattoos and recycled-plastic toys such as whistles.
I live in a high traffic trick-or-treat neighborhood, and each year the yard is full of wrappers from candy eaten on-the-go by excited trick-or-treaters. This year, we are putting out a spooky trash can and encouraging trick-or-treaters to deposit used candy wrappers into the trash, instead of creating litter.
Conserve energy on Halloween
Trick-or-treating in the dark is fun, but some sort of luminary devise is usually needed. Instead of regular battery-powered flashlights, this year hand your kids shakable flashlights instead for a battery-free light. It’s fun for kids and earth friendly.
A jack-o-lantern is fun, and the lighting is environmentally friendly if you use 100% soy or beeswax candles. Paraffin candles are made of petroleum and burn less clean.
Since you know the porch light will be on all night, it’s a great time to switch your outdoor lighting to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Get a green costume
Encourage the children, and Halloween-friendly adults, in your household to think green this year when it comes to costumes. Don’t just run to the store and purchase a cookie-cutter costume! Look at what you already have around from the years’ before (when we were kids, one year’s homemade Tinkerbelle costume the next year became boogerina – don’t ask – with a little green paint and caulking glue.). Thrift store finds and mom and dad’s closet can become all sorts of fun costumes at a very low green, and economic, cost. This also fosters creative thinking in your children, another added bonus. And for adults, well, raid your friend’s closets. Thank goodness a girlfriend of mine use to love to go to country dancing in her early 20s – and thank goodness she never throws away clothes. On her a decade ago, the boots, hat and wranglers looked like a regular Friday night, come this Halloween, they become my cowgirl costume. Yee-haw.
(posted by Seward City News)