Top 5 Ways to Have a Green Halloween

by Samantha on October 28, 2012

Halloween is that time of the year that both kids and parents anticipate with excitement. Between the costumes, the candy and the trick-or-treating, it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about something as important as the environment.

Now, I will not profess to being the “greenest” of parents - I use disposable items often for convenience and otherwise - but I do try to make a difference however I can, and however small. One of these ways is at Halloween.

A time of excess only rivaled by Christmas, candies and treats are in abundance, and so are the various wrappers and packaging that go along with them. This is only one aspect of Halloween that could be changed in order to make things a bit more environmentally friendly. Others include costumes, decorations and even the good old pumpkin that is the centre of the festivities.

To this end, here are some simple suggestions on how to do your part to make your Halloween celebrations a little bit greener.

The Top 5 Ways to Have a Green Halloween

1) Recycle Costumes/Costume Swap/Homemade Costumes

Dressing up in a costume is one of the best parts of Halloween for a child (besides the candies, of course). Being able to use their imaginations and become anything they want for a day is one of childhood’s great pleasures. As fun as it is, however, many parents feel that they have to purchase a new costume for their children every year. The reality is that this is not necessary. How many of us have a box of dress-up clothes for our kids? Further, how many more of us have friends with children who are of the same age as your own child? A homemade costume using many of the items that are already in our child’s dress up trunk or in our own drawers and closets is an easy and fun idea. Halloween is also a perfect time to “go green” by either making your child’s costume or trading costumes that are in good shape with other similar-minded parents. I spoke about going green before buy forming a clothing coop. How about a costume coop that is revisited every year? It’s a shame and such a waste for your child to wear their costume only once before pitching it; by sharing and trading amongst friends, you’ll be doing your part for the environment.

2) Buy Treats in Bulk

All of those candy wrappers from the various treats that our kids receive have to go somewhere. Ditto for the packaging. Unfortunately, much of the external wrapping for Halloween candies are not recyclable, and not particularly “green.” By purchasing treats in bulk, as well as looking for containers that can be recycled (e.g. cardboard), you will be decreasing the amount of waste that often ends up in landfills which a good lesson to teach to your children this time of the year as well.

3) Use All of the Pumpkin

How many of us carve up our Halloween pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns then throw out the shell after the night is over? It’s a shame, as pumpkins are one of natures most versatile fruits (yes, it is a fruit!). From pumpkin pies to the roasted seeds to pumpkin soup and more, it’s easy to get your money’s worth from this versatile food. There are many sites online that provide pumpkin-specific recipes that will help you to use as much of the fruit as possible. Seek them out and get cooking! Some great ones to start with can be found here, here and here.

4) Reusable Trick-or-Treat Bags

As cute as the plastic pumpkin and similarly decorated Halloween bags are, they’re not particularly “green.” Plastic containers and bags just add to our landfills and are not the best choice for the many children who will be trick-or-treating on the special night. Do your part to the environment by providing your children with reusable canvas or cloth bags that can be pulled out for future Halloweens for years to come. It’s economical, easy to do and will make a difference.

5) Homemade Decor and Reusable Props

Decorating the house for Halloween is one of the most exciting and fun parts of the occasion, especially for the kids. Sadly, however, this often results in a yearly trip to the store to purchase a new set of props, decorations and more. Not only is doing this expensive, but it is not environmentally friendly, either. Due to the materials (often plastic) used for much of the decor sold at the stores, yearly purchases are not the most green option available. A way to change this fact is to include the kids in making “green” Halloween decorations for the home, and using them each year. These can include the use of pumpkins and gourds that can be cooked after Halloween night, drawings and paintings on recyclable paper that can be hung in the window, and cloth items such as ghosts and ghouls that can be folded up and used the following year.

So as you can see, Halloween doesn’t have to be a celebration of unsustainable proportions. Kids and parents alike can have fun and do their part to help the environment. All it takes is a bit of planning and the desire to do your part, however small, for the planet.

And after Halloween night is over, here’s how to deal with the craziness of kids on sugar highs who are begging for yet more candy!

Post Halloween Horrors: A Top 5 How-To Guide For Parents

What are some of your suggestions for a green Halloween? Answer in the comments below!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ElectraDaddy October 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

On our third year with our reusable trick or treat bags.


Samantha October 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Good for you! We’re going to do the same from now on :)


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