With more than $9 billion spent each year—costumes, candy, and decorations—Halloween makes no small footprint on the planet. Being mindful of plastics and chemicals in the costumes to rainforest-destroying palm oil in many candies, consumers can be agents of change for good by the choices they make. Consider these eco-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday in a way that is not just good for the planet, but for your family too.
- Look for candy made with certified sustainable palm oil. Companies like Nestle and Mars use palm oil that is sustainably grown and produced in Malaysia. Also look for Fair Trade chocolates.
- Host a costume swap with neighbors and friends. This is a fun and free way to get a costume, but it also will keep once-used costumes containing non-recyclable plastics like PVC out of landfills for another cycle around the sun.
- Use non-toxic face paint for your loved ones. Kiss Freely, GoGreen, Kooalo, and Luna Star offer all natural, hypoallergenic, non-toxic makeup made in the USA.
- Support your local farmer’s market and buy natural decorations for the fall. Pumpkins, gourds, hay/straw, and potted mums make great fall inspirations inside and out. To add to your yard décor, ask local farmers if they won’t mind selling you their corn stalks.
- Instead of buying new trick or treat bags/buckets/bowls, which is just more plastic, reuse the ones from last year, or that little wicker basket with a handle, or decorate a paper gift bag. For a great reusable candy collector year after year, sew up a fabric bag: fold a rectangle of fabric in half and simply sew up the sides. Use a ribbon, shoelace, or twine as a handle. If sewing isn’t your thing, use hot glue on some felt pieces or paint a pillowcase.
- Recycle your old pumpkins instead of throwing them away. Cut them up and use in the compost pile for your garden, put them out for wildlife (not too close to the house), or give to local farmers for their livestock.
- Don’t throw away your pumpkin seeds. Soak them overnight in salt water and roast them for a tasty and nutritional snack. Allrecipes.com has great ideas for culinary re-purposing. If that’s not your thing, the birds will thank you for sharing with them.
- On November 1, consider donating your costume to a local theater troupe, school, or charity. Many kids in foster care have only the clothes on their backs and these programs rely on charities for toys and dress-up play things on hand to offer families who help the vulnerable in our community.
- Think outside the box and give coins, small books, or a coupon for an ice cream cone. Not all kids are allowed to keep all the candy and will enjoy having something they can use or play with that won’t disappear in the overnight raid by mom and dad.