Ten ways to have a green Halloween

Halloween is almost here! As one of the best (in my personal opinion) holidays rolls around, try these tips to have a more “green” Halloween. Taken from the World Wildlife Fund’s website, these tips are easy and effective ways to reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and have a fun holiday all at the same time.

  1. Decorations: Instead of buying new decorations or materials for decorations, gather supplies, arts and crafts throughout the year. Examples include:
    • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
    • Paint foam peanuts (packing materials) and turn them into worms
    • Clean Styrofoam and make Halloween masks
    • Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones
    • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves and branches from the yard, etc.
    • Reuse your decorations from the previous year
  2. Costumes: Make your own or reuse!
    • Keep old clothes that can be used as good pieces or parts of costumes, like worn t-shirts, black pants/shorts, etc.
    • If necessary, shop at thrift shops, consignment stores and yard sales, instead of buying retail
    • Let your kids’ imaginations run wild! Make a game of turning old clothes into costumes
  3. Parties: When having a party, cut down on waste by avoiding disposable cups, plates and cutlery.  Use regular dishes or buy biodegradable ones, and use a marker (or apply cute labels) to identify cups so party-goers can keep track of theirs. If you do use disposables, try and avoid Styrofoam – plastic cups and cutlery can be recycled, and paper plates and napkins can be composted.
  4. Treats: Buy locally produced foods, candies and treats. Look for goodies with minimal packaging and/or those made packaged in recycled materials. You can also , hand out pencils made from recycled paper, erasers, nickels or dimes – be creative!
    • Check labels to see that chocolate and sugar are from sustainable sources – there are also lots of options for buying Fair Trade chocolate.
  5. Trick-or-Treat Bags: Use (and decorate) household items to collect candy in. A bucket, pillowcase, or old even an old bag can be decorated inexpensively at home – and reused year after year. When I was a kid we used pillowcases – I never complained because they are bigger than the pumpkin buckets other kids carry around!
  6. Pumpkins: Buy pumpkins from local farms or farmers’ markets. Better yet, grow your own — kids love to watch them grow!
  7. Jack-o-lanterns: Don’t throw away all the goodies from inside your pumpkin. Toast the seeds for tasty treats. Make pumpkin pie or muffins with the fruit – or compost it.
  8. Transportation: Trick or Treat by walking around your neighborhood instead of driving to another destination. Get to know your neighbors, reduce your carbon emissions and help keep the streets safe for other walkers.
  9. Compost and Recycle: From party food to treats to pumpkins, consider composting all organic matter and recycling other items.
  10. Reuse! Reuse as much as you can from year to year. Instead of throwing away an old box or bag, use it to gather all your decorations and keep for next year. Plus, you can surprise your family and friends by quickly pulling out your box and throwing an impromptu Halloween party any time of year!

Have a spooky and green Halloween! For more tips on sustainability please visit Sustainable Clark’s website: http://www.clarku.edu/offices/campussustainability/