Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have a Green Halloween

Nothing says "Happy Halloween!" better than a handful of individually-plastic-wrapped, pesticide-laden, high fructose corn syrup-filled candy - well, except for these lovely goodies:

  • Locally raised organic pumpkins, carved with a peace symbol, leaf, or the usual scary (or silly) face. Bake its seeds to snack on later, dry and use to plant next year's crop, or offer them to your neighborhood birds, squirrels, or compost worms. Homemade pumpkin treats are most delicious when fresh and seasonal. Try:
  • Halloween night place a beeswax candle inside a glass or other pre-recycling container inside the pumpkin for an eerie glow without the lead and petroleum found in most candles.
  • Compost any leftover pumpkins, gourds, or other plant-based decorations.
  • Instead of purchasing new plastic decorations each year, consider using vintage holiday decorations or making your own - then reuse them.
  • Make faux headstones from recycled cardboard or packaging materials. List ecological casualties (i.e. extinct animals, the declining quality of soil, pollution and its effects, melting ice caps and sad polar bears, endangered species of plants and animals, etc.) along with a statement about how each became "extinct". For a one-two punch, also list possible future extinctions (i.e. humans, Earth). Be poetic, be funny, or be factual.

  • Hand out sweet-smelling recycled paper pencils (an uber-favorite of mine!) and add green tips that you've written or printed on recycled paper and attached with recycled or reused yarn.
  • Opt for treats with minimal packaging and maximal consciousness. Try honey sticks (may not be appropriate for all ages), organic raisins or other dried fruit, organic juice boxes or cans of carbonated fruit-flavored water, organic local apples or mini pumpkins, gift certificates to local activities or businesses, coins, organic dark chocolate or candied ginger. If you know your neighbors well, you might ask if they would mind if you gave them unwrapped homemade treats like toffee, chocolate covered pretzels, candied citrus peels, or marshmallows. If you have only a handful of special trick-or-treaters, consider giving Preserve recycled toothbrushes or eco-friendly school supplies.
  • Have fun Reverse Trick-or-Treating. Go door to door passing out fair trade, organic candy (or non-candy items, as above). At each house, offer literature (printed on recycled paper) with information about the reasons for choosing recycled, fair trade, organic, and earth-friendly options.
  • Pass out CFL's or soy (or beeswax) candles to your adult neighbors as they accompany their children (these items are not safe for children).

  • Dress as Mother Nature (or Father Nature) as you accompany your child, pass out candy at your door, or attend a costume party. (More green costume ideas here.)
  • Avoid petroleum-based face paints. They smell gross because they are! (Would you slather gasoline all over your face???) Make your own or leave more to the imagination.
  • Ditch the plastic costumes found at your local drugstore and opt for vintage or repurposed items. Old uniforms, dance recital costumes, and even last year's Halloween costume can go a long way. Swap with friends and neighbors, and get creative!
  • Bring a pillowcase (for the big kids) or a sand pail (for the little 'uns) for trick-or-treating loot. This old-fashioned method not only ensures a reusable and multi-purpose bag, but affords more goody-space!
  • If you have the option, walk while trick-or-treating and encourage the kids to do so. You'll save $$$ on gas, save the world from unnecessary pollution, and get some heart-healthy exercise while preemptively burning off those candy calories!
And for some more green Halloween ideas, visit Green Halloween.

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