The air is cold and crisp. Pumpkin spice everything abounds. For many of us, our favorite holiday is coming up: Halloween! On Halloween, we can pretend to be someone else for a day, throw all of our creative energies into elaborate costumes, trick-or-treat, or just enjoy handing out candy to kids. Unfortunately, Halloween creates a lot of waste: single-use candy wrappers, cheap Halloween costumes, and disposable decorations make Halloween hard on the planet. Here are eight tips be green for Halloween, and still have a great time!
- Make your own costume with clothes you already own. This seems pretty simple, but it really cuts back on a lot of waste. The fast fashion industry forces mountains of perfectly good, reusable clothing and fabric into landfills every year, and the rush for one-use, cheap costumes from the party store only makes it worse. These costumes often break after one Halloween night, and, if they don’t, were you even going to wear the same costume twice anyway? Try making a costume out of other clothes you already have, or, if worst comes to worst, go to the store and find pieces for your costume that you can wear with a pair of jeans any other day.
- Costume swap. If you really need to have a pre-made costume, try swapping costumes from previous years with a friend! This way, they’ll get recycled at least once, but you both can go out as something new.
- Get crafty. Okay, you’re tired of hearing of ways to eco-proof your costumes. But getting crafty with cardboard, rags and fabric scraps, and other things that might otherwise be thrown away is a great way to flex your sick crafting skills and put “trash” to another good use before finally sending it to the recycling center or landfill. Maybe you can even host a crafty costume contest with your friends!
- Compost. Making jack-o-lanterns? Compost your pumpkin’s innards, and roast the seeds. They’re delicious! When your awesome gourd creation starts to rot, don’t put it out for the garbage collector–if you don’t already have a compost pile, find a hidden corner on your property to dump the pumpkin. Come back to this spot with your dying Christmas tree in a few months!
- Maybe don’t give away candy. “But candy is the point of Halloween!!” I know, this one’s tough. No one will blame you if you just have to give away miniature Hershey bars. But individually wrapped candy is seriously wasteful, not to mention many chocolate companies are destroying rainforests and effectively holding their plantation employees (sometimes kids!) in slavery. Instead of candy, you could give away nickels or small eco-friendly toys.
- Use biodegradable or reusable cutlery and plates! If you’re hosting a Halloween party, please don’t use plastic forks/knives/spoons/cups/plates. Use paper! Or, if it’s a small gathering, use the plates/cups/silverware you already own!
- Donate your costume. Sorry, another one. But many schools, theater companies, and charities accept Halloween costume donations! When the fun’s over, make sure your costume isn’t going directly into the garbage.
- Reuse your decorations. If possible, don’t use plastic decorations at all. Regardless of what they’re made of, reuse your decorations next year.