Halloween is coming up this Saturday, and it may look different due to COVID-19. However, it is still a favorite holiday with the children. I can remember taking Bryan, my son, every year to the store for him to pick out a costume. Most years, I would make his costume from what we had at home. He also loved to decorate the house outside to make it scary for the children passing by. He would help me give out candy for a while, and then we would go around throughout our neighborhood so he could have a little fun and get candy.
Here’s a spooky Halloween fact: Last year alone, more than 41.1 million kids went trick-or-treating. There were 122.4 million potential stops for trick-or-treaters who went to homes, door to door in 2019. All that trick or treating really adds up to a considerable amount of material and, unfortunately, waste with ghoulish impacts on our environment as well as our pocketbooks. Halloween is big business. As you’ve probably figured out from walking into any store for months now, Halloween can become a nightmare for our environment if we are not careful. Even with COVID-19, you still see the entire yard transformed into a lit-up plastic graveyard or manufactured plastic costumes.
Now you may wonder, with the excessive commercialism tied directly to Halloween, is it possible to have an environmentally-friendlier “HallowGreen Holiday?” I believe it can be done. Here are some really great tips from The Wilderness Society that any environmentally-conscious witch, mummy, or zombie would approve of.
Costumes: Leave the toxic Halloween costumes on the rack: Halloween costumes are supposed to be fun-scary, not scary-scary. Yet, store-bought costumes are often made up of nonrecyclable petro-chemical based plastic and synthetic fibers. Those Halloween costumes can include one of the scariest plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic, and known chemical releasing harmful toxins in its creation. Avoid these toxic Halloween costumes and go for a green Halloween costume made of natural fabrics and materials. Make it yourself out of stuff around the house. If you are not that creative, look at Pinterest sites for loads of cute and easy ideas. Your kids will love you for it.
Know what’s in your Halloween face paint: Did you know that Halloween face paints labeled as “safe,” “FDA-approved,” “hypoallergenic,” or “non-toxic” can still contain dangerous, skin-irritating metals such as lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium? This is according to Sheryl Ryan in their article Babies & Kids, Ditch The Toxins. Just what you want seeping into your kid’s pores as they run around from house to house collecting their sugary treats, right? Look for natural face paints tinted with natural pigments from fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other botanicals. It’s also a good idea to check the makeup brand’s website to make sure they have all their ingredients independently tested for safety and purity. You can try online homemade recipes for your green Halloween face paint.
Create your own fake blood: Like face paint, fake blood can contain stuff that’s not so nice. Try making your own fake blood from natural products like cream cheese and cherry juice or cornstarch.
Shop the ultimate green Halloween markets: All those plastic costumes for Halloween and the packaging they come in create enormous amounts of waste. Consider having some fun sorting through costume selections at thrift shops like Goodwill. Or consider having a swap party or hand me down effort with other neighborhood, school, or church families.
Select not-so-scary Trick-or-treat bags: Avoid the universal bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns that have no chance at ever breaking down in a landfill. Instead, use reusable shopping bags or canvas totes. Make them memorable by decorating them with your kids.
Choose green Halloween treats with less packaging: In this day and age, treats need to come in individual packaging for safety reasons, especially during COVID-19. You can decrease candy packaging waste by buying in bulk and selecting Halloween candy that uses the least packaging. Candies that come in individual boxes can get recycled, whereas those that come in plastic don’t.
Give organic Halloween candy: Yes, it’s a bit pricier but positively less scary for the environment. Organic means less environmental damage during production, transportation, and healthier ingredients; for example, Yummy Earth sells certified organic individually wrapped lollipops.
Green up your Halloween Pumpkins: Buy organic, if possible. Save seeds for roasting with a little oil and light salt. Save the pulp for pies, muffins, or homemade Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Consider composting your pumpkins, so they don’t add to the landfill.
Make your own green Halloween decorations. Halloween is the second-biggest decorating holiday of the year. So many of the decorations being sold are made of nonrecyclable plastics. If you buy new items, at least choose durable non-petroleum based things that will last for many years. Otherwise, make a dent in the waste by creating your own homemade decorations with recycled household items. How about a giant spider? Use black trash bags for a giant tarantula (stuff with garden leaves or newspapers, but be sure to recycle the newspapers and trash bags when you’re done). You can create spider webs with shredded black pantyhose or cotton balls instead of the synthetic ones you buy. If you’re extra crafty, weave a web of yarn near your entryway from eco-friendly yarns. The ideas are endless, and you can find more ideas online and in plenty of magazines at this time of year. With just a little effort, this can be your ‘greenest’ Halloween ever!
Make every day an environmentally-kind day by making a difference with Keep Liberty Beautiful. You can call us at (912) 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also check out our website www.keeplibertybeautiful.org. Happy HallowGreen!