22 Green Halloween Ideas
Autumn sneaks up fast and those of us wishing to have a Green Halloween are struggling to keep up with what feels like a highly wasteful, or even meaningless, holiday. But it only takes a few halloween ideas to create a sustainable and fun holiday for everyone.
Add Meaning to the Fun
Part of what leaves die-hard environmentalists in a tizzy is just how wasteful the holiday can become. Although its origins are in the celebration of harvest, life and death, its current message is more closely related to consumption. Creating a more meaningful tradition can create a holiday that is not only fun but deeply affecting as well.
November 1st, designated as El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead or All Souls Day) is used to commemorate friends or loved ones who have passed on. Using Halloween as an fun opening to celebrate our ancestors brings both joy and love to the season.Focusing on the seasons - the ending of summer and the fall harvest - can also bring more tradition and rhythm into your life. Creating seasonal foods, carving interesting pumpkins (or appointing a pumpkin carving judge), or autumn-inspired crafts can bring the focus toward the family and the home. And remember: have fun! That's what all these Halloween ideas are about!
I personally LOVE Halloween! I wish I had an excuse to dress up and go out in public at least once a month. (Okay, maybe twice a year. Need enough time to get creative with my costumes.) To me the holiday holds value because it creates fun, laughter, and connection in our relationships. Even as an adult, it's still about being silly, relaxing, and playing. We could all use more of that!
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. - Dale Carnegie
Here are some ideas to create a Green Halloween we can all enjoy:
Green Halloween Costumes:
- Have friends over for a Costume Swap. Organize the clothing by sizes and allow your kiddos to shop through gently (usually one-time!) used dress-up for a new-to-them costume.
- Mix and match odd items from Halloween's past for a hodge-podge look. Throw on a sign a "Recycled" sign and make a "Green" statement!
- Hit the thrift stores for ghoulish hand-me-downs or shop your closet for mix-and-match items that can make your perfect costume.
- Make Your Own! I'll never forget a school mate inside a giant box decorated as a washing machine or a man pinning a fake chicken to his shirt and calling himself a Chick Magnet.
Green Halloween Parties:
- Email your party invites using an online invitation service, like Evite.com.
- Instead of Styrofoam plates, opt for compostable plates made from renewable sources. If your party is small enough, use your household plates and do an extra load of dishes. You could even invite others to bring their own reusable plates and cups but be prepared for non-greenies (brownies?) to not find the idea so exciting.
- Use cloth napkins and tablecloths, instead of disposable.
- Purchase locally grown and/or organic food to feed your creepy crowd. (Yes, this can totally be done in your budget.)
- Keep recycling bins easily accessible to avoid plastics, paper or glass being trashed.
- Avoid buying new decorations by purchasing used from a second-hand store or borrowing from friends and family. Keep your own decorations properly stored to reuse again next year.
- Get crafty: a bed sheet for a ghost, paper mache monsters from recycled newspapers, jack-o-lanterns from milk cartons, or spiders made from rocks and twigs.
Halloween Trick-or-treating Ideas:
- Purchase organic, free trade chocolates made without soy lecithin or organic lollipops from YummyEarth.
- If you're looking for alternatives to sugary treats, try halloween ideas like barrettes, matchbox cars, coins, organic fruit leathers or juice boxes, cookie cutters, toothbrushes, etc. Avoid cheap plastic toys. Look for items with minimal packaging.
- Trick or treat, right?? Show the kids a magic trick! (Just be prepared to remain outside a little longer that night to avoid angry egg-toting children.)
- Walk, bike ride, carpool or take the bus to trick-or-treat hot spots.
- Keep candy wrappers or other trash from littering the sidewalk and gutters as you hop from house to house. Parents can even bring an extra bag to pick up other trash they see along the way.
- Create a new Halloween tradition. Instead of dressing up or handing out candy, head out for a movie, dinner with friends or rentals, caramel popcorn and a warm spot on the couch.
- Worried about too much candy? Invite your kids to offer up their treats to the sugar-crazy Halloween Fairy. In exchange, the fairy leaves a gift - a favorite toy, movie, game, or gift certificate. This Halloween idea is always a fave with kids!
There are an estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters in the U.S. every year!
- Light your pumpkins with beeswax candles, instead of soy or paraffin-based waxes.
- Don't dump those pumpkin seeds after carving! Clean, salt and roast them for a real treat.
- Compost those old jack-o-lanterns, food scraps and fallen leaves for great soil next spring. If you don't have your own compost pile, look for local pumpkin recycling.
- Next year try growing your own organic pumpkins in the backyard for an especially Green Halloween!