Make your Halloween Green

October 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Halloween is just around the corner, and you know what that means: candy, pumpkins, costumes and lots of fun. But what you may not realize about Halloween is that it creates a huge amount of waste. Halloween costs an estimated $40 per capita, spent on candy, decorations, greeting cards and costumes, a large portion of which ends up being thrown out. However, this waste can be reduced significantly through simple choices, and you’ll even save money in the process.

Costumes

These days, everyone tries to have the perfect costume, and if you’re in college, that means you have to have two costumes, not just one. With the search for the perfect costume, this leads a lot of people to buy cheap, poorly made, itchy, plastic costumes that get thrown out soon after Halloween has past. These costumes both create waste and are made from wasteful materials. Don’t worry, though; there are many ways to bypass these poor quality costumes.

  1. Try making your own costume instead. Scour your closets, craft cabinets, and storage closets to find items that can be incorporated into a fun costume. Vintage clothing can be a perfect starting point and old hats always give a costume personality.
  2. Have a costume swap. Team-up with your neighbors, friends, family and classmates to reuse each other’s old costumes. This is a great way to make use of costumes that would otherwise just be lying around in the basement or back of a closet.
  3. If you really can’t find anything at home and exchanging costumes is not an option, try purchasing a costume made from organic cotton and other eco-friendly materials. For some options for small children check out this link: http://www.growingagreenfamily.com/eco-friendly-halloween-costumes-for-kids/
  4. Environmentally themed costumes are another fun way to “green” your Halloween. Dress as Captain Planet, a glacier in 2050 by just carrying a glass of water, a snorkeling polar bear to draw attention to global warming, or dress as a lump of coal with soap on it to represent clean coal.

Photo: Mother Nature Network

Trick-or-Treat

The night of Halloween itself creates a lot of waste. Make sure kids are using reusable candy buckets/bags such as pillowcases, wicker baskets, or canvas bags, rather than buying a new plastic pumpkin bucket every year. And while kids love candy, there will, inevitably, be some candy left uneaten and chances are you bought too much candy to hand out. Instead of dumping the leftover candy in the trash, consider these tips.

  1. Donate your excess candy to the troops through organizations such as Operation Gratitude or Operation Shoebox.  Some dentists offer candy  buy-back programs where they take care of the donation for you.
  2. Give your unwanted candy to your local food bank. Some elementary schools are even starting this process to make it easier to donate.
  3. Donate candy to the Ronald McDonald House Charity. They pass this candy along to children who may not have had the opportunity to trick-or-treat.

Photo: Best Interior Designs

Decorations

Decorations help create the spooky atmosphere surrounding Halloween, but they also produce a frightening amount of the waste associated with this holiday. Try these tricks to make your orange decorations “green.”

  1. Reuse your old decorations. Many people buy new Halloween decorations every year when they have perfectly good decorations at home. Reuse your plastic spiders and cobwebs in different ways than you did last year to put a fresh twist on your decorations.
  2. Make your own, natural decorations. Use tree branches, leaves, pumpkins, gourds, corn husks and anything else you find outside to decorate.  These are just as festive as plastic, store-bought decorations and far better for the environment.
  3. Use materials that can be recycled after Halloween, such as, cardboard boxes, foil and paper.
  4. When carving your pumpkin, use the whole pumpkin. Cook the seeds for a tasty snack and puree the cut out pieces to use in a recipe calling for pumpkin.

Halloween is fun night for adults and kids that kicks off the season of giving. Just make sure to keep your waste in check so the night can be fun for mother nature as well.

EnAct Intern, Grace

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Entry filed under: other.

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