Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and October is one of my favorite months because it has my birthday and Halloween.
Crazedparent at Maya’s Mom (love that tag) asked that we visit Green Halloween for Blog Action Day. Even though I missed the Blog Action Day fun, I thought I would still share some ideas for an eco-friendly Halloween. Besides, I can share this post in Scribbit’s Winter Carnival.
This is a great month to think about the environment because it is harvest time! I am living in an agricultural area and we’ve had a great time visiting local farm stands and going to corn mazes. I think one of the best things parents can do for the environment it to show their children the joy and beauty of our planet. And buying local helps the local economy, saves gas for transportation in huge refrigerated trucks, and encourages you to work with produce that is in season.
Hiking through the never ending corn maze.
Checking out the pumpkin patch.
Here are some ideas if you want a Green Halloween:
- Focus on the harvest aspect of the month with your child: Visit local farm stands, talk about where your food comes from and how buying local reduces the stress on the environment (with older children, this is a great opportunity to do some practical math). Collect leaves and create art projects. Learn how to dry and press flowers. Find out how cider is made. Make some preserves before those local berries go completely out of season. Prepare your herb and vegetable garden for the winter or consider planning one to plant next spring.
Make Paper Bag Masks, Hats, and Headresses: Check out this cool book: What Can You Do with a Paper Bag?
- Avoid Plastic, Go Re-Usable: On Mamanista, I already mentioned how you can Trick or Treat in Eco Friendly Style with this Cute Kitty Cat Trick or Treat Bag ($16.95). This felt bag is designed to last for years, saving both money and landfill and it also comes in Frankenstein, Skeleton Bones, Miss Pumpkin, or Mr. Pumpkin styles.
- Think About the Animals: Adopt a Vampire Bat, a Meerkat (my favorite), or any one of over six dozen animals through the Word Wildlife Federation ($50 or $100) and you’ll get a FREE Trick or Treat bag and a soft plush version of the adopted animal. Make your donation by 10pm EST, Wednesday, October 17, 2007 for delivery by Halloween. Later adoptions may arrive in time, but order now to be on the safe side.
- Shop around local thrift stores (or Grandma’s closet) for costume inspiration: Be a hippie, a mod maven, a gangster, a Southern belle, or whatever strikes your fancy when you browse the racks. Also try Freecycle or Craigslist since most kids’ costumes are only worn once!
- Candy Alternatives: Try to convince your kids to take just one or two pieces of candy from each house (good luck with that) and to trick or treat for UNICEF. It is hard to avoid all of the individually wrapped candy or cheap plastic toys for trick or treaters, but try to limit it at the party if you are hosting one. Get local apples for caramel apples, make pumpkin bread and toasted seeds from the inside of your jack o’ lantern.
- Make your costume yourself: check out this link for some ideas for DIY costumes, like giant bag of jellybeans.
- Re-use household materials for decorations: old pillow cases or plastic supermarket bags turned inside out become ghosts (just tie them tight so they don’t fly away and cause more garbage), old clothes are perfect for a scarecrow, use toilet paper rolls to make a bat or a pumpkin, just look around for inspiration and I’m sure will find some. HGTV also has some ideas for crafts and costumes.
- Re-use cans and jars for a candle-lit path: cut the tops off cleaned out tin cans or use cleaned glass jars. If you use tin cans, you can use an old-fashioned can opener to make a spooky face. Use small votive candles and melt the bottom a little to make sure the candle is stuck to the bottom. Make sure not to place on a stable surface and avoid over-dry grass.
- Creepy Glassware: While you are at the thrift store, pick up cheap glasses and paint the outside with non-toxic paint (spiders, ghosts, etc.). For adults and older children, you can serve the beverages in these cups. For younger kids, you can fill with water and food dye and place high up out of reach. Light from behind and it becomes a decoration. These are reusable year after year!