Halloween is as good a time as any to think about the biggest scare on our planet. It’s not our jobs or the swine flu, but how much our collective actions are affecting the earth’s delicate balance. Wait! Don’t leave. I’m not going to talk about depleting oil resources, melting polar ice and global warming. But I do hope you’re giving your actions and your carbon footprint some thought in view of all this.
Now, we may not always do everything we can to make sure that we minimize waste and use resources wisely and responsibly. But an occasion like Halloween gives us the opportunity to reconsider our choices. Why commit the same mistakes over and over when this year, we have the chance to change the way we do things?
Total Halloween spending is expected to be decline this year down to $4.8 billion from last year’s $5.8 billion. Whoa! That’s still a lot of money to be spending on plastic pumpkins, non-recyclable costumes and candies. Can we really afford to look the other way?
When I sat down and thought about how I could go green this Halloween (the very first time we will be actually celebrating Halloween with our 3 year old), I was surprised at how simple it is to make greener choices. Besides, these options save us a lot of money that we would otherwise have spent on things that would only be thrown away.
So, to go green this Halloween,
- Send e-invitations for your Halloween costume party. Use twitter invites or photo cards as invitations.
- Send free Halloween ecards to greet (and spook) your friends and family. If you must get greeting cards, check out our free printable Halloween cards section. Print your own cards at home, using both sides of the paper, or better still, recycled paper.
- Reuse or recycle an old costume costume, or even better, make your own costume using natural, earth-friendly material like burlap, or reuse old sheets, curtains and leftover fabric.
- Before you buy Halloween decorations or accessories, find out if they’re made from sustainable materials and in an ethical manner. Would you really be willing to pay for and wear a mask that was made by a starving 6 year old in horrible working conditions for a meager pay? Look for retailers and vendors who offer greener alternatives
- Instead of buying plastic pumpkins, come up with creative alternatives – a straw hat, an old bag, or wicker basket, a fruit bowl with a handle. With a little accessorizing, it will look just perfect! Tell your child why her candy basket is unique and special, so she doesn’t succumb to ridicule from her friends. It’s never too early to teach kids the value of conserving resources and preserving our planet.
- For your Halloween party, use reusable plates, cups and spoons instead of paper or plastic.
- Use a reusable cloth bag for treats. Personalize the bag with the child’s name or initials embroidered or painted on it.
- Serve healthy food and snacks, preferably obtained from a local farmer’s market. Look up recipes for dishes you can prepare with seasonal fruits and vegetables Fresh, locally grown food tastes better and is packed with nutrition.
- Finally, if possible, walk around your neighborhood, instead of driving, as you take your kids trick-or-treating.
…and when it’s all over, consider donating or recycling some of the costumes, decorations and accessories instead of discarding them. See? It’s not as hard as we think it is.
Do you have tips to share for a greener Halloween? Please share them with us.
Have a Happy and Green Halloween. And don’t forget to send free and green Halloween ecards!