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Trick or Greening?
By Victoria Randolph   View more articles by this author
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October 21

Halloween can be a scary time for many reasons—ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires, or mummies and monsters to name a few. Scarier still are the effects of the holiday on our children and our planet. Billions of dollars find their way out of our pockets, and millions of pounds of trash find their way into our already over-crowded landfills.


Parents of sugar-sensitive children shudder at the thought of what trick-or-treating means at their house. Even Mother Earth begins to shake in her green boots when it comes to All Hallows Eve. Not to worry--there is a cauldron of options out there for having a greener Halloween.


When it comes to green costumes, the ideas are endless. Back when I was a kid, half the fun of the holiday was coming up with the most unique ideas and creating our own costumes. At first, there were the traditional white sheet “ghost” and toilet paper “mummy.” Then, to bump it up a notch, came the robot fashioned from aluminum foil and cardboard and the homemade tree, complete with real branches.


One of my unique homemade costumes resulted in my most memorable Halloween moment.One year, I fashioned myself a die (you know, like dice, except there was only one of me). The white cardboard cube even had a center black dot that opened up like a door for treat collection--I was so cool! I love to tell my daughter about the night I wore that costume--I got stuck in the neighbor’s bushes because the box wouldn’t fit through the path! 


Clearly, you can’t go wrong letting kids think up their own creative costumes. You may be surprised by what they come up with! Don’t forget consignment shops and costume swaps, which are becoming more and more popular in our recent economy. If all else fails, let grandma sew an easy Dracula’s cape or princess dress.


The possibilities for recycled, homemade costumes are endless. Just say “no” to spending money on petroleum-based, one-time-use costumes that have a negative impact on the planet. Want to really go green? Try thinking up eco-costumes such as tying long white balloons together in a spiral and becoming a live CFL bulb. Or become a tree hugger. Use your eco-imagination and you’re sure to win a prize at the next costume party.


Halloween is one of the easiest holidays to make decorations for without buying commercial products. Kleenex ghosts and cardboard tombstones are a cinch, and you can skip your house cleaning for the month if you want natural spider webs! Give children construction paper, scissors and glue for adorable and spooky creations they will enjoy putting together on their own. If you still feel the compelling need to buy something at the store for the occasion, get a set of orange LED lights that will last for many years and use very little energy.


When it comes to trick-or-treating, there’s no need for parents to drive around leaving the car engine idling at a string of houses all night long. Simply park the car and get some exercise while lowering your trick-or-treating carbon emissions.


So you see, October 31st doesn’t have to be so scary after all. It’s painless: just go green this Halloween!

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