Whatever spooky antics you get up to this Halloween, treat the earth to a cleaner and greener holiday. Here are a bunch of easy tips to green your Halloween.
Many of our everyday products, including chocolates and sweets, contain palm oil. The harvesting of palm oil results in mass deforestation and is harming the habitat of many endangered species including the Sumatran orangutan, elephant and tiger. Choose sustainable brands to help reduce our environmental impact. The Green Ninja lists some recommendations for ethically sourced candies.
There’s always the option of giving out non-candy treats, too! About half of kids say that they would like to get alternatives to candy treats as well.
Arts and crafts supplies are a great idea and give the kids something to do when all of the festivities are over (other than getting a sugar high from all of the candy!) Several companies offer eco-friendly art and school supplies. Eco-highlighters are plastic-free and contain no ink solvents.
By handing out TreeSmart recycled newspaper pencils you’re giving a re-usable treat and teaching about the merits of recycling in a fun way.
We all want that spooky and scary atmosphere that candles create on Halloween, but paraffin is the main ingredient in most conventional candles. Paraffin is a waste product from the petroleum industry and releases carcinogenic toxins when burned. Benzene and toluene are found in the sooty residue from burning candles. The EPA has classified benzene as carcinogenic and toluene is toxic to the nervous system. Choose 100% beeswax candles such as those from Big Dipper Wax Works, a Green America Approved Business, to still achieve that spooky atmosphere while being environmentally conscious.
Or, if you’re feeling especially crafty, make your own soy candles. Soy is a renewable resource and soy candles burn cleaner than toxic paraffin candles. Candle Science has tutorials (and supplies) for creating candles here.
Don’t buy new costumes – the likely hood of re-using a brand-new costume is very slim so the purchase is a waste of money and a strain on the environment. Instead, create a brilliant costume from up-cycled thrift store purchases. Mix and match pieces to make a one-of-a-kind costume.
Another way to recycle costumes is by hosting a costume swap. Donate your old costume in exchange for a new-to-you costume. EcoMomAlliance has great tips for holding this event.
Learn how to host your own costume swap.
Many commercially available Halloween face paints contain all kinds of scary toxins including heavy metals and a variety of parabens. Parabens are estrogenic (they mimic the estrogen hormone) and disrupt the hormone system. By making your own face paint, you control all of the ingredients and get to do a creative activity with the kiddos while instilling some health-conscious ideas. Ecochildsplay has some good ideas and face-paint recipes.
Or use mom’s non-toxic make-up that you already have on hand. Redapplelipstick has tips on using conventional make-up in non-conventional ways for Halloween dress-up.
Take a trip to the pumpkin patch!
By going to the pumpkin patch, not only are you having a great day out, kids learn where pumpkins (and food) come from. They get to interact in a farming environment and choose their own pumpkins. You’re also supporting the farm directly. Don’t let those pumpkins go to waste! Save the seeds to roast and add to salads or just eat on their own as a tasty and nutritious snack. Also, you can keep the carved out bits of your pumpkin to use in a variety of recipes. There are an endless amount of pumpkin recipes, but here are thirty to get you started!
One plain and simple way to green your halloween is to bring a reusable bag. Give your costume some extra flair by making your own reusable treat bag to enhance your costume.
Make your own decorations
Instead of buying mass-marketed Halloween decorations, make your own out of reused and up-cycled materials. Create paper cut-outs to decorate windows (which can be stored flat and saved for next year). Cheesecloth drapes make great spooky decorations. Cover formed chicken wire with cheesecloth to create floating ghosts in the yard. Drape cheesecloth over pedestals and other yard items to make the appearance of dusty cobwebs. Use tin cans for walkway luminaries. You can drill holes in the sides to create a design and add to the flickering light effect. Re-use all of those cardboard boxes before recycling them. They can be turned into gravestones and placed throughout the yard to create a haunted cemetery.