Halloween tops the list of holidays where lots of money is spent. The U.S. alone spends a mind-boggling $7 billion on candy, costumes and decorations. Much of these Halloween accoutrements are made overseas, shipped here and disposed of shortly after. Unfortunately, this makes for unnecessary waste and carbon emissions.
Want to have a great Halloween but hate the impact all the costumes and decorating have on your health and the environment? Check out our five tips below to green your Halloween.
1. Save your child’s costume to swap with another family next year, rather than throwing it in the trash. It’s too late for this year’s first-ever Halloween Costume Swap Day, sponsored by Green Halloween, KIWI magazine, and Swap.com. But if just half the 25 million children who celebrate Halloween in the U.S. exchanged costumes, they’d reduce landfill waste by 6,250 tons.
2. Make your own Halloween makeup. Don’t buy conventional face paints marketed for Halloween dress-up. The Ecology Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit environmental organization, found one or more toxic heavy metals in 100 percent of the Halloween cosmetics they tested. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a few easy non-toxic recipes for non-toxic face paint.
3. Give out candy that doesn’t harm the environment. Avoid candy that uses palm oil. Look for organic, all-natural, dye-free ingredients that are ethically sourced and packaged with the Earth in mind—for example, candy in compostable packaging or sold in bulk. Green Halloween has ideas for alternative Halloween treats.
4. Make low-impact, recyclable Halloween decorations. Rather than raiding the dollar bin at the discount store, cut gravestones from cardboard or create spider webs from yarn or string. Decorate with bare branches, dry leaves, pumpkins, and gourds.
5. Eat or compost your pumpkin. Americans buy more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkins at Halloween, and the vast majority of those end up in the trash. If you don’t want to eat the pulpy inside of your pumpkin, at least roast the seeds. Then put the pumpkin in your compost bin. Smash the shell before composting.Or just bury it in your garden—the pumpkin will decompose quickly and add nutrients to your soil.