Ghosts, skeletons, black cats, oh my! The witching hour is soon at hand and the only thing spookier than the things that bump in the night is the impact our festivities can have on the environment around us and the health of our children. We’ve already talked about using soy candles, making your own costume, and purchasing earth friendly make-up – but here are even more ways to go green this Halloween.
Support your local farm that uses sustainable and organic farming practices. Buying locally grown produce supports local farm families and community. Supporting the local farmers that engage in sustainable and organic techniques preserves open space and healthy food, clean air, soil and water.
There is nothing better than tromping through a golden field filled with greens, deep oranges, muddy soil, and all the fat, round pumpkins just waiting to be taken home. Knowing your family won’t be walking through harmful pesticides while searching for the perfect pumpkin is even better.
An annual trip to the pumpkin patch is an experience that will create memories for years to come. Experiences over things win out every time.
How many times have you bought a costume for your child to wear for one night and then to have them begging for the next trendy, new thing the following year? Costumes, whether bought from a store or handmade with love, are something that can, and should, be easily reused.
Handing down to siblings or friends is one option, while a more formally organized costume swap is another idea that is sweeping the nation. A costume swap event is a great way to save resources, get together with friends, and find an awesome costume for your kids without breaking the bank. Local resale and consignment shops can also be great ways to sell and buy gently used costumes.
Making your own costume using reusable and//or recyclable materials is another green option. This does not have to be time-intensive, but it will take a little creativity. Let your child’s imagination go and see what you can create together.
Tricks or Treats.
From parties and school events and cute haunting Halloween recipes, it is hard to resist the temptations. Choosing locally-sourced, organic, or homemade whenever possible is one way to make party treats safer and healthier.
Trick-or-treating is another matter. Unfortunately you are not able to control what your kids will bring home if they go out, but you can control what they do with it. There are many dentists that sponsor candy swaps.
Many creative parents have instituted their own candy swaps. Kids can turn in their candy for a toy or a special outing and then donate the extra treats to the troops overseas, Ronald McDonald House Charities, food pantries, pediatric wards and nursing homes for people that will appreciate the thought, especially if it comes with a handwritten note from your child.
There several of eco-friendly options to give out to children trick-or-treating at your door. You can decide that once a year, candy is a perfectly good choice and seek out fair-trade chocolate or organic candy. Organic treats that are a little healthier might be 100% natural fruit leather, mini organic granola bars, or organic snack packs of crackers.
There are also non-edible treats to consider: Silly Bandz, mini playdough, erasers, bubbles, and stickers. Just remember that the goal to is to be eco-friendly, so think carefully about something that can be used and reused, not thrown away.
The ultimate decision over which treat to give out will depend on what your family is comfortable with and how many trick-or-treaters your neighborhood accommodates. Some eco-friendly options are more expensive than others.
The best decorations are those that are made by those same little people that make celebrating the holiday that much more fun! Spend the month preparing for Halloween by creating projects that can be used to decorate your home and last from year to year. There are ghosts and bats that can be made from recycled cans, spiders made from egg cartons, fantastic Halloween rock painting ideas, pumpkins made from their own painted seeds, and so much more. I have collected a lot of ideas for my own family to try on my new love, Pinterest. The best ideas can always be made from materials you might already have around the house or yard (or could easily get from friends).
You may not think of Halloween as an energy-intensive holiday, but there are still a multitude of ways to reduce your energy usage before and during the holiday.
Keep all unnecessary lights and appliances off and unplugged. Besides adding to the spooky ambiance, it also reduces phantom loads or vampire draws (also known as leaking electricity) that cause a waste of resources and money.
Use rechargeable or crank-powered flashlights when walking in the dark. Just make sure they are all powered up before heading out.
Use lighting that is less energy-intensive. Jack-o’-lanterns can be lit with soy, beeswax, or rechargeable candles. LED or solar lights, which also use less energy than traditional lighting and can also be recycled are great options for walkways and windows.