We LOVE Halloween, but many of the consumerist traditions are more trick than treat.
Holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family and friends and create lasting memories, but they're also an opportunity to role model our values.
Instead of contributing to an environmental nightmare, here are 10 Tips for a Green Halloween, shared from Wilderness.org!
1. Green Halloween Costumes: Leave the toxic Halloween costumes on the rack: Halloween costumes are supposed to be fun-scary, not scary-scary. Yet, store-bought costumes are often made up of nonrecyclable petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers. Those Halloween costumes can include one of the scariest plastics--polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic and known carcinogen that releases harmful toxins in its creation and breakdown. Avoid these toxic Halloween costumes and go for a green Halloween costume made of natural fabrics and materials.
2. Know what's in your Halloween face paint: In their recent Pretty Scary report, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent ten kid's make-up sets to a lab and found that all ten contained lead, which can lead to nuerological damages in children, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium. Six out of ten contained cobalt and/or chromium at levels far exceeding safety standards. These metals are not listed on product labels. Look for organic, non-toxic facepaints that comply with standards set by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics or try a homemade recipes for your green Halloween face paint.
3. Concoct your own fake blood: Similar to facepaint, fake blood can contain stuff that's not so nice. Try making your own fake blood from natural products like cream cheese and cherry juice or cornstarch and natural food coloring.
4. Shop the ultimate green Halloween markets: Last year alone 41 million kids went trick-or-treating, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a lot of Halloween costumes, not to mention the packaging they come in. Decrease the waste and have some fun sorting through costume selections at thrift shops like Good Will or ARC. These places have clearly beefed up their Halloween selections over the years, offering an inspiring selection of used costumes and period pieces these days.
5. Hold a green Halloween costume swap: Arrange a Halloween costume swap at your school, church or community center, or do it in your neighborhood.
6. Select not-so-scary Trick-or-treat bags: Avoid the ubiquitous bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns that have no chance at ever breaking down in a landfill. Instead use reusable shopping bags, canvas totes or the ole pillowcase trick. A funky thriftshop handbag can add a fun twist to a green Halloween costume as well.
7. Choose green Halloween treats with less packaging: Decrease candy packgaging waste by buying in bulk and selecting Halloween candy that uses the least packaging. Candies that come in individual boxes have a chance at getting recycled, whereas those that come in plastic don’t. Other waste-less ideas include pencils made from recycled money, small coins or recyclable items that will find a useful place in a kid's life--as opposed to a home at the bottom of the garbage bin. One of our staff members reports of a neighbor who hands out books every year. Not a bad idea if you live in a neighborhood with light Halloween traffic.
8. Give organic Halloween candy: Yes, it's a bit pricier but certainly less scarier for the environment. Organic means less environmental damage during production and transportion, as well as healthier ingredients.
9. Green up your Halloween Pumpkins: Buy organic. Save seeds for roasting with a little oil and light salt. Save the pulp for pies, muffins, soup and other recipes. Yum! Compost your pumpkins so they don’t add to the landfill where they will produce methane gas, a dangerous greenhouse gas.
10. Make your own green Halloween decorations. Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year, and so many of the decorations being peddled are made of non-recyclable plastics. If you do buy new items, at least choose durable non-petroleum based items that will last for many years. Otherwise, make a dent in the waste by creating your own homemade decorations with recycled household items.