Halloween is all about the candy and costume…right? As I walk the aisles at my local grocery store, I feel a little overwhelmed by the great wall of candy, the shelves of disposable decorations and the racks of costumes. Halloween has quickly become one of the biggest holidays of the entire year. Is it possible for a holiday that has such a huge emphasis on consumption really be eco-friendly? What is the environmental impact of Halloween and what choices can we make to help lessen the garbage this holiday produces? We’ve gathered together some tips for ways that families can have a fun Halloween and have a green Halloween.
The Decorations Try and think about the long term, when it comes to purchasing Halloween decorations. Pick up a large storage bin and keep Halloween decorations clean and organized – this way they will last for many years. At our house, we bring out the same skeletons, ghosts, ceramic jack o’lanterns and scarecrows every fall. By decorating with reusable decor items not only is this cutting down on the number of disposable Halloween items, it also creates fun traditions for your family. When I was a little girl I remember my mom bringing out the same haunted house candle every year…she never burned it…it was our little tradition.
Kid Made Fun Children love getting creative for Halloween. With a few sheets of construction paper and some crayons kids can make all sorts of fabulous Halloween pieces of art for the walls and windows of your home. When Halloween is over, store the kid’s art in a large resealable bag and pop them in the Halloween storage bin. Gather up some sticks from the yard and craft a silly spider from natural materials and recyclables. We love pulling out the girls’ Halloween artwork. The ghost at the bottom of the picture was made by my eldest daughter in 2006..she was 3 years old! Priceless.
Know When Enough is Enough Yes, it is fun filling up endless bags with candies on Halloween night. However, there is no prize for the kid who comes home with the most candy. Determine what a reasonable amount of candy is before you head out. If your kids are older and are heading out on their own, this is a tough one to control. Setting limits is okay. All the candy that comes into your house is more garbage (and more calories) for you. Enjoy being out with your kids on Halloween night, getting out and chatting with neighbours is all part of the magic.
Compost In our neighbourhood we can put pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns in the compost. Check and see if your town picks up pumpkins…or compost in your own home compost pile. If composting at home, cut it up first, to help it decompose faster. Don’t forget to bake your pumpkin seeds! When you are cleaning out your pumpkin, keep the seeds. Check out this simple recipe for oven roasted pumpkin seeds.
Does your family have any tips on ways to make Halloween a little greener?
As part of our Family Eco-Challenge, our family is planning on making choices that will help us have a green Halloween this year.
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