A friend was telling me the other day that she can’t believe how much ‘stuff’ people in Northern California buy for Halloween. She is from a small town in Southern California and they never bought costumes or make-up. They would just make their own from old clothes and maybe put charcoal on their faces. She has a good point. Our love affair with buying things for any occasion is out of control, and likely not just in Northern California. When looking at greener solutions to your typical Halloween Holiday, consider the basics and what you really need to have fun. Is it really about the costume or the candy, or is it about having fun with friends and family? What are we buying into? Also, consider why we actually celebrate Halloween. Why do we do this every year? Is there any ancient or spiritual significance to it? Or is it just an industry made up holiday?
In ancient times, Celtic Halloween was called Samhain. It was a day where the veil between the physical and spirit world was the thinnest thus making it easier for people to be visited and guided by the spirits of their departed loved ones. If we think about how Halloween originated, it gives us a whole different view of it. It is a day where people give respect and appreciation to their beloved dead. The Day of the Dead in the Mexican culture is similar. It seems like the original Halloween was actually meant to be more of a sentimental, sobering holiday, rather than a holiday hyped up for marketing Halloween paraphernalia.
Here are some ideas below to green your Halloween. Keep in mind the basic green principals: Reduce the amount of stuff you use, re-use what you can, recycle what you have, and then buy new ‘greener’ things if you find it necessary. Have fun, and while you are at it, send some love and gratitude to your departed loved ones who will be close by you on Halloween.
Get vintage Halloween costumes from vintage stores, re-use old costumes, rent costumes, get costumes off Freecycle.com, or make your own from old clothes or fabric scraps. Keep kids away from cheap PVC costumes and masks. A fun project for kids is to make or decorate their own Halloween bag. (re-use an old bag)
•Eco-Halloween bags: www.thegreenparent.com/2008/06/05/feeling-spooky
•Eco-Halloween costumes: www.idealbite.com/tiplibrary/archives/biter_boo
•Eco-Halloween products: www.playstoretoys.com
(One mom recommended getting safe make-up from this store early. There are no Halloween products listed on-line, but you can call the store or visit it in Palo Alto, CA)
HEALTHY FOOD & TREATS
Concerned about candy from trick-or-treating? Opt-out of trick-or-treating and have an eco-Halloween party and make your own healthier snacks.
•healthy Halloween party snack ideas:
•Or try these simple treats:
nuts, crackers, energy bars, fruit leathers, raisins, and dried fruits
Plan ahead and order some online or check out your local Whole Foods, New Leaf, or Natural Food stores for fair trade and organic treats.
•Organic and fair trade Halloween candy:
•greener goodies: www.ewg.org/node/15785
Have more Green Halloween ideas? Please share!