Week 2

Green Halloween

Halloween is, hands down, my favorite holiday every year. People’s creativity really comes out on Halloween, and I love to see both friends and strangers come up with clever, funny and poignant costumes that I wish I would have thought of myself.

Now that I have kids, Halloween is an even bigger deal than it was in my 20s. In past years I have made their costumes (with a lot of help from my very crafty mother-in-law), but just didn’t have the time to dedicate to it this year. Plus, my oldest son wanted to be Godzilla and I wasn’t sure how to pull that off with a sweatsuit and felt.

This year, my goal is to make this holiday as green as possible. Here is how I’m planning to do that:

Costumes

I refuse to buy something that will only be worn once for many reasons. I also dislike how gendered store-bought costumes are, specifically superhero costumes for toddlers that have muscles built into them. (That’s a whole different blog!) This year, I turned to my new favorite place to shop: Facebook. I tried my neighborhood buy/sell/trade group first (over 4,000 members!) but didn’t find what I wanted there. I expanded my search to Marketplace, and found exactly what I was looking for: The Flash (sans fake muscles) for my toddler, and Godzilla (really a dinosaur costume that with slight tweaks will be perfect) for my first grader. One was shipped to me from Iowa, and my husband picked the other one up close to where he works.

The fact that I spent less than $40 total is an added bonus to keeping these one-time purchases out of the waste stream. I also sold one of my kids’ costumes from last year to another mom in my neighborhood!

Candy

Plastic wrapped in more plastic with some candy inside

Until the urban legend about razor blades in apples and poisoned candy goes away for good, individually wrapped candy bars will continue to be the norm. While we can’t control what our neighbors give away, we can pick what we give out. This year, I am opting for fruit snacks in recyclable packaging: the cardboard box they come in can be recycled curbside, and I can recycle the foil-lined wrappers through my local TerraCycle brigade (more on that in a future post). We don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters at our house, so at least I know whatever we have left over won’t end up in the trash.

Packaging isn’t the only consideration when it comes to buying candy. I recently learned about palm oil and the devastating effects that harvesting it can have on rainforests, endangered species and indigenous people. My local zoo sent out this handy chart for those who are buying traditional Halloween candy to help everyone make a responsible choice.

Pumpkins

Decorating pumpkins is one of my kids’ favorite parts about Halloween. In the past we have painted them to avoid using knives and making a giant mess, but this year we will carve them. Why? Because painted pumpkins can’t be composted. Carved ones—and all of their guts—can!

Buy local!

Oh, and be sure to buy your pumpkins from a local farm or pumpkin patch. The ones at the grocery store are tempting and could save you the added trip, but if there isn’t a sign that says they were grown locally, they probably weren’t.

What have I missed? Send me your tips on how to have a greener Halloween. I will post other ideas on Twitter and Instagram as the holiday prep continues!

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