5 Tips for a Greener Halloween

With a little more than a week left until Halloween, our neighborhood's festooned with fake spiderwebs, witches, and pumpkins that will welcome costumed trick or treaters in their annual quest to collect candy. And then? Most of those decorations and costumes will go in the garbage. Here are some ways to make this holiday a little less black and orange and a little more green...

  • Treats: Gone are the days when you could give out apples or unwrapped cookies. The safest and most welcome treats are individually wrapped candies. To minimize waste, buy the largest packages you can find and and try to buy organic if possible. Collect your treats in a recyclable bag.
  • Tricks: Small treats generate a lot of wrappers. Recycle yours via Terracycle; organize your child's school to collect the wrappers and bring them in and you can collect raise money for the school. For more information, click here.
  • Boo: Homemade costumes are not only more creative, they're environmentally friendly too. Pull something together from stuff you already have around the house or from stuff that can go on to have a second life: a mop head makes a great wig; an old sheet is a classic ghost costume; an old suit plus a greasepaint mustache and a hat equals Charlie Chaplin; collect ace bandages for a mummy costume. Not feeling it? Try swapping costumes with friends or check out your local thrift store.
  • Haunted House: When it comes to decorating, think old school: pumpkins, piles of apples, bales of hay, twisted squash and gourds, unshucked corn, colorful leaves and bare branches. Plus they're compostable. Light your house or walkway with soy candles or solar lights (and if you carry a flashlight, make it a rechargeable or solar powered one)
  • Creepy footsteps: Halloween's a night to leave the car at home while you walk around and get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors. You'll also get a little excercise in the process.

[image: Merelymel13, from their Flickr, with a Creative Commons License]