5 Ways to Be Green for Halloween

PumpkinHalloween brings to mind costumes, jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses and treats, but with concerns for the environment on the rise, I've realized that we also need to think about how we can be eek-o-friendly. How do you celebrate Halloween without harming the planet? Here are five ways to be green for Halloween.

1. Don't buy a new costume. Generally, costumes are worn once and discarded and many are made with non-biodegradable materials. Instead of buying a new costume this year, decrease waste by participating in a costume swapping event like National Costume Swap Day. With the typical costume costing anywhere from $20 and up, swapping a costume is also a money saver. Why not consider organizing a costume swapping event in your community?

Related: No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating

2. Make your own costume. A great costume can be made with items you have at home or buy at thrift stores. Goodwill has a Halloween Boutique, featuring gently used, fully- assembled costumes and mix 'n match accessories. It also offers decorations and home goods. When Halloween is over, recycle by donating them back to charity.

3. Reusable trick-or-treat bags. Kids can create their own custom reusable trick-or-treat bags using reusable bags or recycled biodegradable brown paper bags. This is a great way for kids to learn that being green can also be fun. Some cereal companies are offering free bags with the purchase of a box of their cereal.

4. Trick-or-treat with shakable flashlights. Using a shakable flashlight not only saves batteries, but also avoids the risk that batteries will die out, leaving kids in the dark so it makes for a greener and a safer night. By lighting porches and walkways and decorating with LED and/or solar lights, you'll also save money and energy.

Related: Magical Halloween Decorating

5. Pick pumpkins at local patches. Buying locally grown goods cuts down on food transportation and decreases carbon emissions and therefore is better for the environment. When you buy directly from the patch, you know you're getting fresher pumpkins, so Halloween treats taste better and Jack-O-Lanterns last longer. Compost pumpkins with fall leaves for fertilizer for your flowers and garden in the spring.

How do you make your Halloween more green? Tell me in the comments!

-By Darlene Feliciano

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