We’re talking green for Halloween and we don’t mean a wicked witch or Hulk costume. Halloween has transformed from an ancient celebration of the harvest to one of the most commercial holiday events of the year. From costumes to candy and decorations, it’s a spooky environmental nightmare. But it’s also easy to give the holiday a big, green makeover.Halloween classics like spooky tales about things that go bump in the night, dressing up as ghosts and goblins and eating yummy treats don’t have to come with scary, giant-size trash bags.
Costumes – if feel a little lightheaded in the Halloween costume aisle, it’s not fear, it’s more likely that you’re overwhelmed with all the fumes coming off the vinyl. Opt for a make-your-own costume, organize a costume swap, or check online for rental or used costumes; all are better options than the smelly store bought varieties.
Carrying the loot – ditch the plastic pumpkin in favor of a reusable canvas bag. Buy a blank one and let your little ones decorate their own with non-toxic paints.
Give it a green glow – nothing says spooky quite like a flickering candle, so make yours less environmentally scary with beeswax or soy. You can also opt for strings of colored LEDs, or solar-powered lights for your walk.
Jack – o’ Lantern, that is. Pick up a pumpkin from a local farm, or opt for a ceramic reusable one. If you go for the real deal, make the most of Jack – roast the seeds for a healthy snack, compost the rest of the innards and the remains of your pumpkin after the holiday is over.
Décor – embrace the harvest theme with lots of gourds, corn stalks and other natural materials. You’ll save money and get the added bonus of compostable materials after the holiday!
Sure, you’re going to pick up some plastic spiders, dangling skeletons and other spooky creepy-crawlies. Go for reusable decorations that you can store and use again and again instead of paper disposable ones. Try to find decorations made from recycled materials if possible.
It doesn’t take a big DIY streak to make your own floating ghosts from old sheets (if you don’t have them, find them at a second-hand shop) or a cool, life-size scarecrow out of old clothes (stuff it with more old clothes and pillows, then add straw around the neck and cuffs).
Decide on a style that works for you – do you want a spooky gothic graveyard, classic Victorian vampires and witches, a zombie apocalypse, or do you prefer cartoon-like spooks? Build on your décor each year by choosing pieces that are made from recycled or reclaimed materials and that will last for years.
No matter what your style, start with natural elements and add in your favorite spooky Halloween pieces to create your very own haunted harvest. Once the holiday is over, you can box up the creepy-crawlies and leave the harvest theme up for Thanksgiving, giving you two holidays for the eco-impact of one.
Oh, one last thing… the sugar rush. Halloween just wouldn’t be right without way too many sweets. If you’re hosting a party at home, you can opt for make-your-own treats that are good for you and the environment but still satisfy even the scariest sweet tooth. If you get trick-or-treaters at your door, you’ll need to opt for wrapped treats, so look for healthy options like fair trade candies, snack bars and popcorn.
Inspired Habitat is written by local environmentally-conscious lifestyle website Bambeco, a company committed to advancing a more sustainable world.
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