Halloween is one of the most exciting times of year. With parties, decorations, costumes, and more candy than you can shake a zombie at, there is a lot to take into account when trying to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle. Many of the supplies that can be found in local retail stores are far from environmentally friendly, though. The good news is that there are also many ways to celebrate this spooky holiday while remaining kind to our planet.
1. Eco-Friendly Treats
Perhaps the biggest expenditure for most Halloween celebrants is the candy and other Halloween-themed treats. When purchasing candy, opt for organic. These might cost more, but they are made with ingredients that don’t start life in fertilizers, drugs, and other chemicals. If you are having a party, consider making all of your treats yourself instead of buying them ready-made. This way, you can control what goes into them, use organic ingredients, and wrap in recycled packaging.
2. Trick-Or-Treating Containers
If your children – or you, for that matter – go trick-or-treating, avoid the cute containers that are typically found in the Halloween aisle. These plastic containers are awful for the environment both in manufacturing and when they end up tossed after the holiday. Look for blank canvas bags that can be decorated with a creepy theme. These are not only eco-friendly, they are much more durable and reusable.
3. Jack-O 19-Lanterns
Halloween just wouldn’t be Halloween without a carved pumpkin or ten. Make sure to buy organic, locally-grown pumpkins for your Jack-o’-lanterns. When the carving is done, toast up the seeds for a treat. If you carved a few pumpkins, chances are you can gather up the chunks that were cut out and cook the pumpkin flesh to make a pie, so nothing goes to waste.
If at all possible, avoid buying ready-made costumes from retail stores. These are almost always full of petroleum products, all the way from accessories right down to the fabric. Instead, make your costumes from sheets or clothing that you already have tucked away in the closet. You’ll have a unique costume that you won’t end up seeing on someone else at a party.
5. Party Entertainment
Select a few methods of entertainment that won’t use up a great deal of electricity or other resources. Turn off enough lights to leave your party venue with a spooky glow and tell ghost stories, play some silly Halloween games, or put together a murder mystery activity for the guests.
6. Halloween Cosmetics
Many costumes use temporary hair dye, face and body paint, and other cosmetics. Many of those marketed just for Halloween are the worst not just for the environment, but for your health, as well. Stay away from products that are powered by a spray can, contain lead or other metals, strong dyes, and pungent scents. There are recipes online for making your own face paint and there are many organic temporary hair dyes these days. For makeup, turn to an organic cosmetic line.
7. Keep the Neighborhood Clean
Inevitably, kids are going to munch on a little candy as they go from house to house, and these wrappers end up on the ground more often than not. Take along an extra paper or canvas bag to pick up the candy wrapper litter that you happen across while trick-or-treating with your kids or for yourself.
8. Lighting the Way
Kids are cautioned to keep a flashlight available when trick-or-treating, and this is a great idea. However, your typical flashlight will drain batteries that end up in a landfill. Find a flashlight that can be cranked or shaken to power it up or use rechargeable batteries.
9. Dealing with the Excess
If you have more candy left over than you want to your family to eat or costumes that you know won’t be worn again, make a donation. Donate candy to your local food bank and the costumes to thrift stores.
10. Halloween Aftermath
Start a compost pile rather than throw away any goodies and pumpkins that are left after the holiday. Anything biodegradable can be added, whether stale muffins, Jack-o’-lanterns, or leaves, and kept out of landfills that certainly don’t do anything for the environment.
You don’t have to be monstrous to the environment to have a great Halloween. Some careful thought and a great imagination can allow you to remain eco-friendly while showing your friends, party guests, or trick-or-treaters that sustainable living is possible, even on Halloween – and done well!