Oops, I've gotten a little behind on the eight Green Halloween tips, so here are nos. two and three.
Green Halloween Tip 2: Make Do-It-Yourself Costumes
Instead of buying a Halloween costume that you or your children will wear once and throw away, make your own costumes from old clothes and other items you already have around the house.
You can also get inexpensive Halloween costume materials from thrift stores or yard sales, or your children may have fun trading Halloween costumes with their friends to get something “new” and different to wear.
By designing and making your own Halloween costumes, you and your children can masquerade as anything you can imagine. When my children were growing up, one dressed up as a garbage can one Halloween. Another dressed herself in a collection of her older sister’s clothes and put ribbons in her hair, creating a costume that happily evoked her imagination even though it was unrecognizable to anyone else.
One boy I met in Washington, DC, went trick-or-treating one year wearing khaki slacks, a blue oxford shirt with the cuffs rolled back, and a striped necktie loosened at the collar. Asked about his costume, he declared he was masquerading as his father, a prominent magazine columnist.
After Halloween, you can either wash and store your homemade costumes for use in subsequent years, trade with friends, or donate the clothing from which they were made to day care centers, homeless shelters, or charitable organizations.
Green Halloween Tip 3: Give Eco-Friendly Treats
When the neighborhood ghouls show up at your door this Halloween, give them treats that also treat the environment gently.
There is a growing variety of eco-friendly candy—from organic chocolate to organic lollipops—available online and from local organic groceries, health food stores, or consumer cooperatives. These organic candies can satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your health, and they are produced using methods that don’t damage the environment.
Choose treats that use little or no packaging that is produced using fossil fuels and cannot be recycled. Whenever possible, buy locally produced treats from local merchants. Buying locally supports your local economy, and also reduces fuel consumption and pollution associated with transporting products.
Another option is to avoid candy altogether and to give Halloween trick-or-treaters useful treats, such as colorful pencils, small boxes of crayons, erasers in fun shapes, or other inexpensive items you can find at your local dime store or dollar store.