By Christine Hill and Tina Moessner
This Halloween, scare your neighbors, but not Mother Nature with these helpful tips to make the night’s escapades less of a terror on the environment.
Many costumes and decorations are made of non-recyclable and disposable materials that often contain toxins and can harm the environment. Using some of these ideas, you can enjoy Halloween with a smaller environmental impact.
1. Rethink store-bought costumes
Store-bought costumes are often expensive, mass-produced and lack a sense of unique personality. They are also often made of disposable plastic, adding to the non-biodegradable items dumped in the landfill. By making your own costumes, you can create homemade, reusable masterpieces.
- Dress like characters from your favorite movie using thrift store finds and a little creativity.
- Make simple and cute butterfly wings for your little one using felt and poster board. See tutorial here.
- Repurpose a pair of ripped jeans you’re still holding on to, and make a tattered zombie costume. Have fun adding paint and more holes for a delightfully undead effect.
- Let kids carry reusable canvas bags instead of plastic for trick-or-treating. Choose boxed candies instead of plastic-wrapped candy to give to trick-or-treaters.
2. Halloween Make-Up
Try a homemade face paint recipe using vegetable-based dyes or natural food coloring to complete any costume. According to the Environmental Working Group, face paints can contain lead and other toxins that can have a harmful effect even at low doses.
3. Get thrifty for decor & costumes
Thrift stores are a great place to shop for reasonably priced Halloween decorations or costumes. Reuse your older Halloween decorations while tweaking or adding repurposed additions for a fresh look every year. Also, share your scares by donating old costumes after the big day.
4. Opt for local, natural materials
You can never have too many pumpkins on Halloween. Carve, paint or even wrap locally grown pumpkins in fabric for spooky or elegant effects. Add locally grown gourds or hay bales for a natural look that can be kept out for the entire fall season.
5. Repurpose paper for scary silhouettes
Get creative with recycled construction paper or repurpose old paper to make origami bats. Fabric or construction scraps can be used to make a spider silhouette for your windows. See tutorial here.
6. Know what’s in your candy
For most kids, candy is the highlight of Halloween. However, these treats can contain artificial dyes, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. It’s also often individually wrapped in plastic. All of these can impact our health and environment in harmful ways. If possible, look for candy with recyclable packaging, and encourage your kids to recycle. Also, check for harmful ingredients, and consider fairly traded chocolates, locally made goods and organic snacks to feel better about your impact on Halloween night.
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