10 Easy Ways to Green Your Halloween
Posted on October 11, 2011
Halloween is a fun holiday for both parents and children – what’s not to love about candy, costumes, and scary pumpkins? It’s also a great opportunity for parents to teach their kids about the importance of making healthy, eco-friendly choices. Below are ten small changes you can make that will help you and your family have a green, healthy, and happy Halloween.
1. Make costumes at home – Instead of using store-bought costumes, which are usually made with environmentally-damaging plastics and fibers, have fun putting together a costume from what’s available in your home. Turn your child into a ghost with an old sheet (which you can let her decorate with eco-friendly fabric paints) or unpack your silliest-looking old clothes.
2. Reuse costumes – As an alternative to purchasing new costumes each year, look around for secondhand ones. Some vintage and used clothing stores will carry gently-used costumes. You can also organize a costume swap in your community.
3. Hand out organic treats – For a lot of children, candy is the most important part of Halloween (the average Halloween haul weighs in at 10 lbs.!). Help kids stay healthy by offering alternatives to traditional Halloween fare. In addition to staples like apples, raisins and nuts, you can also include healthier versions of their favorite candies, such as organic dark chocolate or gummies made with cane sugar or honey instead of high fructose corn syrup.
4. Candy collection – Encourage kids to use pillow cases, purses, or hand-sewn bags instead of plastic buckets or bags to collect treats. This is an excellent way to teach children about the important of reusing everyday items. Think multi-purpose with reusable bags.
5. Decorations – Avoid plastic decorations from the store. Instead, look for recyclable and biodegradable products or show your kids how to make decorations using leaves, acorns, and other materials from nature. If you’re lighting your scary ghost or front porch scarecrow, use fluorescent or LED light bulbs instead of incandescent. For a really cool idea, replace your porch light with a color changing LED lightbulb.
6. Flashlights – When trick-or-treating, use rechargeable batteries in your flashlights or bring along solar, shakable, or crank flashlights. Greenhome.com has the best hybrid Solar Flashlight available on the market.
7. Candles – Chose 100% beeswax or soy candles to light up pumpkins and luminaries instead of traditional paraffin candles, which are petroleum based. Try using beeswax tealights this year, they smell great and burn clean.
8. Use all of the pumpkin – A Halloween pumpkin doesn’t have to just be for decoration. Their seeds are a great source of magnesium, iron, and protein; to prepare them, just rinse and flavor with your choice of spices, then bake in a 250 degree oven for an hour. The pulp can be steamed for half an hour, then served similarly to squash or used as a base for soups and pies.
9. Compost – Once Halloween is over, those pumpkins will make an excellent addition to a compost pile. It’s also easy to start if you don’t already compost: just break up the pumpkin and layer it with leaves and other organic material in an outdoor area. Keep moist, turn regularly, and that jack o’ lantern will turn into great fertilizer for your garden. Leftover candy can also be included, just be sure to remove the wrappers. Ever tried worm composting, it's fun for the whole family!
10. Walk, don’t drive – Save fuel and get exercise by walking, not driving, while trick-or-treating.