Halloween is a favorite holiday for most kids, but it can be even better if your family takes steps to make your Halloween festivities just a little more green. No, I don’t mean dressing up as Frankenstein or a dancing cucumber. I’m suggesting that you green up your Halloween by making it just a little more environment-friendly with one of these easy tips.
Halloween costumes have less plastic content than they used to, but they are still typically disposable, single-use items, often packaged in clear plastic bags. You can shop smarter. Look for sturdy costumes that will hold up well for play after Halloween, and reduce the plastic props and wigs that might not be necessary to complete the look.
My twins loved to play in their costumes all year long, and had a chest full of different outfits for dress-up play. Now that they are older, their costumes have been passed down to their little sister, who seems to prefer being the Incredible Hulk over Cinderella. Someday, we’ll pass the costumes along to another family, and hopefully they’ll be used and passed on until they fall apart.
Trade with friends
Hardly anyone wants to wear the same costume year after year, but some costumes are too great to only wear once. Why not borrow some elements from friends and put your own spin on a great costume from a year or two back?
Hit the thrift store
One of the best ideas I ever had was to set my kids loose in a Goodwill store and let them choose their own Halloween costumes. They’d had trouble deciding what to be that year, and a trip to the pop-up Halloween store didn’t help. At Goodwill, my daughter found a prom dress and a tiara and my son found the makings of a great cowboy getup, all for less than $20. Not bad.
A friend of mine made her son’s costume last year from a cardboard box and paints. He was a character from Minecraft, the popular blockhead-filled game practically everyone is playing. He wore regular clothes and the painted box for a mask, and he looked awesome. Better yet, virtually zero impact on the environment.
Avoid the plastic pumpkin
I love the sound of candy plunking in the orange plastic pumpkin carried by so many trick-or-treaters. But unless you already have one of these sitting around, they are a silly thing to buy. Skip the pumpkin and opt for a recycled sack or a pillowcase instead.
Skip trick-or-treating altogether
I grew up trick-or-treating, and I loved it. Really, I did. I looked forward to it all year, or at least from the day school started. But as candy prices skyrocket and fewer and fewer turn on their porch lights, trick-or-treating has lost a lot of its appeal. While I kind of mourn the loss of this tradition, I have to acknowledge that all the plastic generated by those individually wrapped miniature candies sure is wasteful.
Have a party instead
What’s better than trick-or-treating? A Halloween party! We’re going to two Halloween parties this year. One will feature a cookout and games, and the other will include lots of homemade goodies from trusted parents. Both will be great opportunities for the kids to dress up in costume and have fun.
Avoid Happy Meals
From early October through Halloween, while supplies last, McDonald’s restaurants offer plastic buckets with their Happy Meals. Over the years, we threw away probably a dozen of these buckets before I started avoiding Happy Meals in October. If you can reuse them in a useful way, great, but I never did.
Donate extra candy
Instead of throwing away extra candy, along with all those wrappers, why not donate it to the troops or to senior citizens in a nursing home? At least that way, the candy gets eaten by folks who will enjoy it before the wrappers go in the trash. Check around your community or contact your local Blue Star Mothers to see how you can send candy to the troops.
More by Tavia:
6 things kids can do with extra Halloween candy
Can your kids play in their Halloween costume?
Is Halloween Too Frightening for Your Little Ghoul?