Step out your front door the day after Halloween, and you’ll likely find a wasteland of toilet paper tangled in trees, discarded plastic belts and Dracula fangs, and candy wrappers dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see. As fun as Halloween can be, it doesn’t exactly rank high on the eco-conscious scale. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are just a few ways to make your Halloween a little more green – and healthy, too.
Although it’s unlikely you’ll ever manage to convince the kids that dried fruit makes a great substitute for candy (hey, it’s sweet!), there are some candies that are better than others. Fair trade, organic chocolate, for example, has all the taste while still promoting sustainable and ethical growing and production practices. Almost every type of candy is available in fair trade and organic form, so peruse your local or online health store for more.
When baking treats for school celebrations, you might want to consider swapping white sugar for agave nectar or coconut sugar, which rank lower on the glycemic index but taste just as good (if not better), and white flour for whole grain.
From plastic spiders to paper maché pumpkins, Halloween decorations create a lot of waste. Try recycling plastic decorations from last year rather than buying them brand new every year. However, if new decorations are a must, look for recycled, durable materials or try your hand at making your own green decorations, whether that means having the kids collect pine cones for a wreath, turning old jars into a candle holder, or decorating with local produce like squash and gourds.
Like decorations, Halloween costumes also tend to come with a lot of plastic, and to be for single use. You can make Halloween costumes green by reusing elements of last year’s costume, like a cape or a crown, to make something new. For a costume that’s new to your child (if not the world), try visiting a costume exchange, where parents can both donate and buy old, unwanted costumes on the cheap. And of course, don’t forget to give kids a reusable bag or a pillowcase to collect candy rather than a plastic bag.
Going green on Halloween is easier than you might think. Just get a little creative. So…trick or treat, eco-style!