It’s that time of the year! When its easy to produce a scary amount of trash without even realizing.
We’ll leave you in charge of the treats, but here’s some tricks to making Halloween a little less orange and black and a lot more green :)
Most frightening costume goes to...
We all know the best part of Halloween is the costumes! Superheroes, idols, ghosts, movie characters, clowns and even food costumes all bring some frightening facts to light.
One step in a Halloween store and we’re frightened. And not just by the costumes. The shelves are stocked with costumes, face paint, decorations, and all things in the spirit of Halloween.
Everyone wants a new costume to outdo their old ones. However, It’s estimated that the textile and apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of the world’s entire carbon impact. Producing new costumes every year requires the use of resources and leads to increased carbon dioxide emissions. Not only that, but it also requires a price tag. The National Retail Federation estimates that Halloween spending comes out to an average of $75.03 per person.
Most packaged Halloween costumes are made with cheap and mass-produced flame-resistant fabrics that wont catch fire or can be extinguished quickly. While we do want to protect the young ones (and old ones) who run around near candlelit Jack-o-Lanterns in flowing capes or garments, these fabrics do bring up other concerns. There is growing evidence that link flame retardants with adverse health effects, including hormone disruption, reproductive issues and brain development.
You might be thinking that you’re only wearing it for one night, you won’t be affected. However, since most costumes end up at the bottom of the closet pit before they get sent to landfills, these toxic chemicals end up leeching into the environment.
The Green Alternative:
Look for “PVC-free” or “phthalate-free” costumes. Ask your friends to do a costume swap and change it up with your own style. Or better yet, assemble your own creative costume with old clothes or things found around the house. Check out a local thrift store for some new (but old) materials and don’t be afraid to look to a Halloween store for some inspiration. Save money and dabble in your creativity, who knows you might get some extra points in a costume contest.
P.S. get the most of your candy by using a pillow case or turning an old t-shirt into a bag :)
Trick or treat?
We prefer treats. But the sustainable kind of treats, of course.
Many Halloween treats are made with palm oil, which is cheap to ship and produce but is harmful to the environment. The burning of forests for palm oil plantations are not only emitting tons of greenhouse gases, but it is also one of the leading causes of deforestation, air pollution, destruction of wildlife and natural habitats.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 30 percent of municipal solid waste in the U.S. comes in the form of packaging, including the fun-size candy wrappers for Halloween Treats.
Unfortunately, candy wrappers are not as easily recyclable as other types of paper and plastic because they’re comprised of mixed materials and are often left with candy leftovers.
Let’s give the trick-or-treaters a REAL treat that doesn’t compromise their environment.
The Green Alternative:
⁃ Bulk Candy: Buy treats in bulk at your local candy store or (ironically) health food store. This reduces the amount of single use and plastic packaging. You can hand them out in paper goodie bags or cardboard treat boxes. Even go the extra mile and let the neighborhood kids know to bring their own jars or containers!
⁃ Aluminum: Aluminum candy or mint tins can either be recycled or reused by trick-or-treaters. Canned drinks or soda are a sweet treat and the aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable.
⁃ Fruits/ Veggies: Fruits or veggies are a great way to encourage a balanced plate. From oranges to avocados, try to choose produce with secure coverings, lets give the kids a healthy treat.
⁃ Maybe not such a treat Treats: It doesn’t have to be a treat to be a sweet surprise! Practical and sustainable school supplies such as pencils or crayons can be used beyond Halloween. Bamboo straws or toothbrushes are another creative way to share eco-living!
Jack-o-(the trade)Lantern 🎃
It’s not Halloween without a pumpkin (especially not a pumpkin emoji). Halloween spirit means going to your local pumpkin patch to find the perfect carving canvas. However, 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins go to waste after Halloween each year. Keep your carvings out of the landfill. Pumpkins are Jack of the trades too, not just lanterns.
The Green Alternative:
Eat them: Pumpkins are more than a Halloween trend, they’re also a vegetable! You can eat our jack-o-lanterns after Halloween, provided the weather stays cool enough to preserve them. Purée them for pies, soups, sauces and so much more. Just make sure to rinse it off, clean and remove the seeds first. Enjoy the seeds roasted or make your own pumpkin seed butter!
Compost Them: Like any other fruit or vegetable, you can compost your pumpkin! If you don’t have a compost bin, find a sunny spot in your yard to place your pumpkins. Slice them up to make it easier to break down and cover with leaves to speed the process. Or, find out of there’s a local composting garden or facility. Most farms or gardens should allow you to bring your compost by!
Holidays are a time that can make it a bit more difficult to try out sustainable alternatives. It can get busy and stressful but its also the most important time that we green up our routines, it’ll make all other days seem much easier.
We hope these tricks and treats make it a little easier to make your Halloween green!