As everyone tries to reduce their carbon footprint and have a smaller impact on our environment, having an Eco-Halloween can certainly help.
It is easy to get caught up in all the packaging, candy wrappers, Halloween bags, costumes and decorations each year, but if you have seen the garbage bags at the end of the driveway when the holiday is over, it does make you think.
If you would like to try and have an eco-friendly Halloween then try and plan a little bit ahead of time so that you are not running to the store for last minute Halloween treats or items for that party. Start by using your imagination and creating some things for this goolish night from home.
Instead of getting a cheap quality new plastic costume every year for yourself or kids, that just ends up in the trash because it has fallen apart by the end of the evening, consider renting a good quality costume from a rental store. This way it has been used a few times. Or have one that can easily be adjusted to be handed down each year. Or simply use a bit of makeup and a few old clothes.
This way there are not endless plastic costumes in the trash each year. I have seen this a lot in my own area, and many of these cheaper plastic costumes that rip, cannot be recycled, so they just add to the trash.
Pumpkins make great Bird Feeders – Once the holiday is over, instead of just putting your pumpkin in the garbage, try composting it along with some fall leaves. If you don’t have a composter, then consider using the empty pumpkin as a bird or squirrel feeder for the winter, and then digging it into the ground of your garden come the spring time when it is mushy. Simply sit it where you can see it, and fill it with bird seed. The pumpkin shell will freeze for the winter, making it a great container for the bird seed and they will also pick at the inside of the pumpkin for food.
Carpooling – If you can stick to your own neighbourhood for the trick or treating with your kids, and not use the car, then obviously this is a much better way to go. Make sure the kids are wearing warm clothing and shoes that allows them to walk.
If you must use the car, then get a few families together and car pool to a specific neighbourhood and park the car. I know many neighbours in my area that would leave their car idling at the curb of each house as their kids went door to door so that they would get more candy and not tire out, but just how much candy do they really need? Let them walk, and you walk with them if the kids are younger. Foot power is the way to go, and leave your car at home if possible or simply park it at another area. Try to avoid the idling of the car at the curbside. It is hard on the environment, your pocketbook for fuel, and dangerous with all the trick or treaters on the road.
Candy – Get as much quality candy in the least amount of packaging. Many of the health food stores sell quality candies with less chemicals and in minimal recycled packaging.
Or simply give them something other than candy, such as recycled colouring books and crayons for example, they will get lots of candy so giving out a useable gift can be a nice addition.
Eco-Halloween Party – Stay away from paper plates and plastic cutlery if possible. Yes it does mean some dishes, but have you ever seen the pile of used paper plates, foam cups and plastic glasses left over after a party? Get some of the friends to help with dishes afterwards, or if you must use the paper, find recycled paper plates that have been made from recycled materials.
Plastic Plates - It can get very expensive to use paper or disposable products. Try to substitute regular dishes and cups as much as possible, or get plastic plates and plastic cups that can be reused over and over again if you are concerned about breakage, they are not much more in cost than the disposable ones.
Wash them and then keep them in their own cupboard or container and label it for the next party. This is a great way to get eco- friendly at that next party. You will know where they are, and there will not be that last minute dash to the store to get poor quality supplies that end up in the trash afterwards.
Halloween Decorations – Spend the money on quality ones that can be brought out again year after year. Or consider making your own from things around the house. You can use fall vegetables, such as squash and pumpkins to decorate the table or front porch as well as tall grasses from the garden or farmers markets, hay, or even stuff old clothes with newspapers to sit on a chair near the door to scare the trick or treaters.
You can simply undress it afterwards, wash the old clothes and put them away again for the next year. Keep all your supplies in a Halloween tub that can be brought out again each year. It has become quite easy to purchase disposable decorations each year, but if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint on this earth then we all need to do our part and reduce the amount of waste that goes on from these holidays.
Solar Lighting – You can use solar lights to light the pathway to your house, or to use as part of a Halloween decoration on the front yard. This saves on electricity and the extension cords that go with it. Solar lights have come a long way, and there are many decorative ones that work well and change colours and can add to your ambiance of the night without having to plug in.
Having an Eco-Halloween is just one way to reduce your footprint, and yet you can still have fun without creating havoc on the environment.
It is much easier on your pocketbook, and creates much less waste.