I confess. I don’t like Halloween. There. That wasn’t so bad. I guess you can call me Mrs. Halloween Scrooge. I just don’t like all the waste that this “unusual” holiday creates. Plastic pumpkins, candy wrappers, paper bags, plastic bags, and so on. Also, what other country in the world has a holiday where you dress up as a character, supposedly scary, and threaten people for candies? And then, throw half of them out when you get home because they are considered, “unsafe”? I mean, you practically hold them up for candies with your scary costumes; what do you expect?
But I have kids and I don’t want them to be deprived of this strange cultural experience, if you can call it that, so I compromise. I give out healthy snacks like individual bags of carrots and mini popcorn baggies. I can imagine “trick-or-treaters” wanting to play tricks on me after receiving my goodies as they shuffle away, grumbling. My kids swear that trick-or-treaters stopped coming by our house since I gave out the bags of carrots. Popcorn baggies were a little better but since the kids were scarred from the carrots, they don’t trust me with popcorn baggies either.
This year, I’m making eco friendly Halloween Treat bags instead of giving out junk food or carrots (that they might throw out even before they hit the next victim.) I’ll fill them up with party favors and hand out the treat bags instead of candies. Even if they hate my goodies, at least they’ll have a treat bag to use for things like marbles, playing cards, rocks or whatever the kids collect. Give them something useful, I say.
Which leads me to the next topic; Greening Your Halloween.
Don’t be scared. It’s really easy. And cheap!
If you can follow even a couple of ideas below, you’ll make a huge difference in reducing Halloween related waste and carbon footprint.
Have a costume swap party with your friends and neighbors. Sponsor one at school.
I always thought buying Halloween costumes every year that the kids grow out of on November 1st, is a total waste. They only wear them for what, a couple of hours? All that polyester from crude oil, down the trash can. It pains me to think about it. So, I swap them with my friends. There are so many kids who would love to have that Cinderella dress or the Darth Vader cape and mask. They never go out of style. So make some calls. Get your friends involved. Have a Pre-Halloween party by having a costume swap party. (You can never have enough reasons to have a party.)
Speaking of parties….Having a Halloween party? Instead of paper Halloween party invitations, try using inexpensive party favors or transform a Halloween treat bag, maybe a pillow case, into a unique party invitation by simply writing all the party information right on the bag. Have the kids bring their bag to the party so they can fill it with treats as party favors. Make reusable party decoration as much as possible. Don’t waste paper.
FOR TRICK OR TREATERS
Do what I’m doing this year. Use reusable cloth treat bags instead of disposable plastic bags. Same goes for party favors if you are having a party. A lot of candy wrappers, plastic, and paper get thrown out during Halloween. Use the reusable cloth ones that the trick or treaters can use as baggies for little sacs for their collectibles.
EXERCISE WHILE TRICK OR TREATING
I know a lot of you follow your kids in your car while they go up and down the street. Don’t lie. Leave the car at home and don’t waste gas and money. Walk with your kids. You’ll get some exercise while scaring your neighbors and keeping an eye on your kids.
FOR YOUR OWN TRICK-OR-TREATERS
If your kids are planning to head out for trick-or-treating, give them a Halloween themed gift or treat bag to use for collecting their candy instead of the traditional plastic pumpkin or a cheap plastic bag. Usually the pumpkin gets discarded after awhile anyway and the plastic bag gets ripped. Use a decorated pillowcase or a sturdy fabric tote instead. They are reusable and they hold more candies!
SAVE ON ELECTRICITY
Use L.E.D. Halloween lights for decorations. L.E.D. Halloween lights burn brighter, cooler, longer and more efficiently than their traditional counterparts. Because L.E.D. Halloween lights burn cooler than incandescent lights, the risk of someone being burned by them is all but eliminated also. L.E.D. lights last years longer than incandescent (up to twelve depending on the color). This means you won’t be throwing away lights and replacing them with new ones as often. You’ll be keeping waste down and saving money.
I admit; I had the best time trick or treating when I was growing up. My friends and I canvased three tall apartment buildings and by the time we came home, we had enough candies to last until Easter the following year. We got so sick of the last remnants of unwanted candies that by January, we vowed never to eat another candy corn ever again….until that Halloween and we’d start the cycle all over again.
And then there was my favorite costume, “Cousin Itt”. One year when I ran out of ideas for a costume (in those days, you actually made costumes and not buy cheap polyester ones), I pulled my long black hair down in front of me, wore a hat and dressed in my “Little House on the Prairie” type of a pajama dress and went as “Cousin Itt.” It was the best homemade costume ever.
I’m sure your kids will have a great time on Halloween this year.
Just try to be a little more prudent in planning and have a safe, Green and Eco Friendly Halloween!!
And here is a little tune to get you started from my favorite house to go trick or treating on Halloween.
Mwha wha wha wha wha!!!!!!