Come on the colors are orange and black! I love, love, love Halloween. I love the time of year and the cool fall nights. I love the idea that I don’t have to buy gifts and wrap them up for everyone but I can still celebrate and have fun. Goblins, ghosts, and gremlins are part of the fun perhaps and the idea of being a bit scared but really being safe. I liked that as a kid. I loved dressing up and going door to door for candy. I may be a green mom but I’m not going to take this away from my children. I loved it too much to not have them experience dressing up and trick or treating. If I eliminated candy my son would probably cry just like he is in this picture!
This, however, does not imply that I can’t green up the holiday a bit and make it a healthier and less of a plastic commercialization, sugar fest! How in the green earth is this possible? Here are my tips for still having a fun holiday without going over board on the green bandwagon.
1. Reuse costumes. My son is using his same blue dinosaur costume for the third year in a row. It still looks brand new and he plays with it often. It’s also not plastic and therefore won’t go into a landfill. I can resale it or give it to charity and the material can be reused because it is of good quality and washable.
2. Garage sale or visit resale shops for costumes. Don’t buy the cheap plastic costumes that rip, tear and aren’t safe most of the time anyhow. Imagine, breathing through that cheap plastic mask? Gross. If you use your imagination you can make some great costumes with items at home. Become a farmer with some bibs, cowboy hat and boot.
3. Try finding a costume swap in your area or swap costumes with friends. The children don’t know and it will seem new to them.
4. Have a Halloween or fall party at your home, instead of trick or treating. You can have small candy bags with a few sugared treats but then have healthy snacks at the party. Pop corn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips. There are lots of creative ways to make the party festive without it being a junk food fest. We provide caramel apples, have hot homemade soup, fresh apple cider, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins and then paint pumpkins and play games. The children have a ton of fun and don’t miss trick or treating because they still get to dress up and see their friends! Adults too! I get to visit with my friends and not freeze by buns off walking from door to door.
5. If you give out candy maybe decide to give out something healthier. There still is the plastic wrappings but it’s at least healthier. Raisin packets are an option, my son frowned at this idea and I can’t blame him. Fruit cups, apple sauce cups, organic fruit juice boxes, fruit leathers, cheese and cracker packs or organic lolly pops. More expensive, I know but it is an option if this is how you decide to green your holiday. If you pass out these types of items it might help to pass out less and realize you could be helping to give a child a healthy snack or lunch one day? Shift your thinking and perhaps that might help you compensate for spending more or spending the same amount and buying less but healthier. Visit Amy over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess for her healthy snack ideas.
6. Not all children love candy or have to have candy. My son likes candy and yes, he gets to eat candy from time to time. He also loves tattoos and there are some great non-toxic ones out on the market. He adores stickers and books. He’d love to get this in his trick or treat bag. Kids Health, surveyed children and found that children would love to get something other then candy.
7. Don’t buy into the commercialization of the holiday and buy every super hero costume or plastic decoration or gimmick. What I like best about Halloween is how there is so much you can use in nature to decorate and have fun with. Leaves, acorns, gourdes, pumpkins, and mums. Have your children paint pictures of spiders to hang up or recycle some old egg cartons and make bats to hang up. Make hand print spider and hang them on the walls. Be creative and resourceful and don’t spend money when it isn’t necessary, that is part of making any holiday more green.
8. Realize that every holiday or celebration, Halloween included, can also be a lesson in being more environmentally friendly. Teaching children not to litter their candy wrappers or why you are reusing the costumes or going to a resale shop. Why you aren’t stringing lights all over the house to light up the neighborhood or how you’re going to compost the pumpkin and why. Teach your children about harvesting, pumpkins and cooking with fresh vegetables. Help them understand the science behind a pumpkin seed.
Halloween’s traditionally black and orange but every holiday or celebration and can use a splash of green and it isn’t hard to do. With the economy the way it is and budgets smaller, it might be a good idea to cut back less, save the dollars and start reusing, recycling and reducing. The candy, plastic junk and decorations aren’t as important as enjoying the company of our friends, healthy food and all the while still having some Halloween fun. Moderation and some common sense using the Three R’s will go a long ways in making your Halloween a bit greener this year.