Top Tips for a Green Halloween

By Jennifer Cox

Halloween is an excellent time to show children that eco-friendly practices are appropriate for all situations. Just as we teach our children to be thoughtful of the environment in their every day habits, so should we demonstrate ways to prevent Halloween activities from having a negative impact on the Earth. Halloween will be just as exciting when the costumes, party decorations, and refreshments are as green as possible.

The Green Way to Trick or Treat

Even the traditional activity of Trick or Treating can bedone in a more ecologically friendly manner without taking away from the elements of fun. Try these top tips to reduce waste and teach children to care about their world as they participate in this custom:

• Let the children decorate old pillow cases with markers for their own personal Halloween treat bags.

• Organize a costume swap fest with other neighboring moms to trade outgrown outfits from previous years.

• Order organic candy to eliminate some of the problem ingredients, such as dairy, eggs, soy, and gluten and look for those with recyclable wrappers.

• Limit travel and fuel consumption by staying in the neighborhood and pulling the kids in a wagon or letting them ride their own bikes.

The Green Way to Party

Begin preparing for a Halloween party early in the season. This gives time to collect the items necessary from thrift stores or yard sales. These are factors to consider when planning a Halloween party that is ecologically friendly:

• Send out invitations online to save paper.

• Eliminate disposables by collecting cups and plates in Halloween colors, such as black, orange, and red, as you find these treasures at thrift stores throughout the year.

• Make reusable cloth napkins from scraps of material left from other projects.

• Advertise a need for used Halloween decorations or costumes on FreeCycle.

• Grow organic pumpkins for carving in your own backyard patch.

• Buy non-toxic, washable paint, and let the children decorate the windows with bats, spiders, witches, and ghosts.

• Make ghosts to hang in strategic places out of old white sheets, pillow cases, or handkerchiefs wrapped around any light weight circular object (such as a tennis ball) and secured with a rubber band.

• Use corn stalks as part of the decorations, and make several huge piles of fall leaves to be used for entertainment purposes.

• Offer roasted pumpkin seeds, organic apples, hot cider, orhomemade goodies for refreshment.

• Compost all party leftovers to make fertile soil for next spring’s garden.

As parents prepare for the most eco-friendly Halloween celebration ever, they should be sure to explain their reasoning to their children. Children should be taught that it is good for the planet to reuse, recycle, and reduce waste in every situation, even during special holidays. This will help pass on the green way of living from one generation to another.

Visit www.halloweenpartyideas.org fun ideas, including party games and homemade crafts.