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Tuesday, October 16th by Junkluggers
First celebrated in Europe many centuries ago, Halloween has now become a distinctly American holiday. In fact, last year it is estimated by the National Retail Federation that Americans spent nearly seven billion dollars on candy, costumes, and decorations for Halloween.
We want to encourage you to find fun ways to celebrate this fun-filled fall occasion while minimizing any negative effects on the environment.
So, we’ve prepared a list for you of the top seven easy ways you can celebrate with both adults and children in a cleaner and greener way. (And you don’t want to miss our clean, green candy section at the bottom):
While it sometimes seems like a time-saving opportunity to dash to the store and grab a prepackaged plastic costume, there are hidden costs to your health and the environment. PVC in plastic has been shown to be harmful to humans. Also, people are less likely to be able to reuse a plastic costume.
What you can do: Make a costume out of items you already have or buy costume parts that you can wear in the future. You can even consider making a costume out of recycled products.
No matter if you are drawing cat whiskers on your five-year old or putting on dark lipstick for your witch outfit, you probably have heard that conventional makeup products have chemicals that aren’t good for human bodies and our eco-system.
What you can do: Choose makeups that don’t have multi-syllable chemical compounds. Some good choices are Physicians Formula Organic Wear and Body Shop, Cover Girl NatureLuxe and Burt’s Bees.
If you want to decorate your home to celebrate in spooky style, try opting for decorations that you can reuse for years (just like Christmas ornaments). You can even make crafts from easy items you have around the house like these egg carton bats, which could be fun for the whole family.
And if you are going to use candles, we highly recommend using soy-based candles, rather than the typical petroleum based candles.
Another way to keep things green and healthy is to skip trick-or-treating entirely. You could have a party at home and offer popcorn, hummus and pita chips, veggies and dips, fresh apple cider, and bat-shaped cookies and muffins.
You could have activities for adults and kids like painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on “flashlight hunts” in the yard (if the party’s after dark) for hidden Halloween surprises.
And you could send electronic invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.
We know that trick or treating is a Halloween staple, and so we would be silly to not have recommendations in this category.
First thing’s first, make sure that you or your young friends or children have an eco-friendly bag. From pillowcases to totes, bags for Halloween can come in diverse forms. You can even use those made from recycled water bottles or plastic bags for extra credit! And kids can decorate plain bags to make sure that they feel like they really are celebrating.
Not every house needs to give candy. Maybe you can bring back the tricking part of Halloween. Of course, you can get creative with this. Many of us might remember vividly touching “eye balls” made of peeled grapes and “intestines” of spaghetti in haunted houses.
And if you want to give a non-food treat, try giving out interesting shells, smooth colorful rocks, or even fun-patterned recycled pencils. We definitely know both boys and girls who treasure small keepsakes. And it might be nice to have one memento from a Halloween full of disposables.
To really consider greening your treats, try opting for candy with fair trade chocolate. Our favorite now is Unreal candy, which is available at most CVS stores in the Northeast. Their candy’s mimic popular candy brands like Snickers, M&Ms, and Reese’s, while sourcing better ingredients and leaving out harmful chemical dyes that can cause health problems in some children.
Other green Halloween celebrants have recommended passing out chips and popcorn.
We know that kids can be a bit picky, but we hope you try at least one of these options.
Also, if you will be distributing candy, chips, or energy bars, you can recycle these wrappers by sticking them (sorted) in boxes and mailing them for free to an organization like Terracycle. We are starting to recycle all sorts of wrappers and products in our office thanks to Terracycle’s brigade program. So, feel free to contact us if you have questions about the process.
So, that’s it for our list of ways to clean and green your Halloween. Hope you learned something new or got at least some inspiration to apply at least one greening strategy to your celebration.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips, comments, or successes you want to share. Hope you have a clean, green Halloween!
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