by Sandra Frens
You can feel it in the air…The days are getting shorter; there’s a slight spooky feeling in the evening, and then it’s upon you! The time for bats, cats and witches’ hats draws near—IT’S HALLOWEEN!
Halloween is one of those treasured holidays enjoyed by both children and adults. The kids have their fun dressing up and going from house to house in search of holiday goodies, while adults attend fabulous parties also dressed as an assortment of ghouls, vampires and other creatures of the night. Although Halloween fun can be enjoyed by all, it is sadly one of the most wasteful holiday reveries we indulge in. Many of the decorations, costumes and candies are considered disposable, creating more rubbish to consume our already overflowing landfills.
So does this mean we have to give up our beloved night of ghoulish reverie? NO! It means we have to change the way we celebrate, but only slightly. There are plenty of ways to have an exciting Halloween and still make it sustainable. Here are a few suggestions about how you can turn your Halloween into a sustainable witchy GREEN!
Costumes: One of the most important aspects of this holiday is the dressing up as various people, creatures and oddities. Many of these costumes are purchased for the one evening and tossed out without a second thought. Instead of throwing out old costumes and buying new ones, consider trading costumes with friends. This will save you money and conserve energy. If you still insist on buying a new costume, instead of throwing out the previous year’s donate it to a thrift store. Thrift stores also make a great place to buy or make costumes for less, and again it costs us less in energy use.
Decorations: The next most important aspect to Halloween are the decorations! When purchasing your haunted treasures, choose items that can be used over and over! Thankfully, it has become easier to find long-lasting Halloween décor over the last few years. So, buy a real table cloth instead of the plastic one.
Avoid the overuse of fake spider web, unless you plan on using that same webbing next year. Refrain from buying paper crafted Halloween cutouts, and use real pumpkins and gourds. Stuff that old witch costume with old newspaper, and give her a pumpkin head! Also, when you are done with your jack-o-lanterns, other pumpkins and gourds, compost them! If you are using Halloween lights, make sure you buy LEDs as they use much less energy. Remember, keep lighting to a minimum. Halloween is supposed to be dark and spooky!
Treats: Perhaps the most noted item kids (and adults) look forward to on Halloween are the candies and treats. The sad fact is that candy wrappers also contribute much of the waste on this holiday. If you’re an adult and throwing a party versus buying pre-packed treats, make your own! Making your own cakes, candies and other Halloween delights will not cut back on waste, but it can be turned into a game with your guests!
To combat the litter created from over packaged and overpriced candy given to the kids, it is better to hand out little gifts and toys that usually have much less packaging. Stores tend to carry packs of small holiday-themed toys and goodies, or you could put together small bags yourself. Now that you have some ideas on how to create a more sustainable Halloween, you’ll waste not, haunt not! What we don’t waste this year won’t be back to haunt our environment in the future.