Green your Halloween: easy tips

Halloween has evolved from a Celtic harvest celebration to an American consumerist celebration.  But the green blogosphere is buzzing with creative ideas to give your holiday a smaller footprint.

GreenHalloween.org is leading the way with advice for kids, parents, and schools.  Meanwhile, Treehugger and its sister site Planet Green have even more handy tips.  Here are some of my favorite ideas from around the Web.

  • Make your own costume. DIY costumes are one of the latest trends in green.  All you need is some old clothes, recycled aluminum foil, and creativity.
  • Carry two bags: one for treats and one for trash.  Decorate a reusable bag for the candy and carry a second one to help keep the streets clean of wrappers and other litter.
  • Choose a “walking” neighborhood. If that’s not possible, consider carpooling as alternative way to reduce your Halloween pollution.
  • Instead of the traditional sweets, look for brands that are natural, organic, or Fair Trade-sourced.  Better yet, give out homemade treats!
  • Light your jack-o-lanterns with soy candles, which last longer than wax candles and come from renewable crops.
  • Eat and decorate locally.  Pumpkins, gourds, straw bales, and corn husks can often be found at local farmers’ markets.  If you host a party, serve up snacks made from fresh, seasonal produce.  Pumpkin pie, squash soup, carrot cake, and apple cider are a few examples.  Check Local Harvest to find farms near you.
  • Go reusable! Who needs disposable plastic cups and plates when you have real dishes.  If you must use plastic, be sure it’s recyclable.
  • Support Fair Trade with ‘reverse trick-or-treating.’ As a way to highlight the plight of cocoa farmers and to showcase the benefits of Fair Trade, the folks at Global Exchange have started a Reverse Trick-or-Treating program to help raise awareness while collecting goodies on Halloween. It’s really easy. Sign-up through the ‘Reverse Trick-or-Treating website to receive samples of Fair Trade chocolates, along with some cards that outline the program. Kids hand out the cards and samples to adults when they go to the door on Halloween.

And if you need a reason to green your Halloween — and the rest of your life — think about this.  The kids whom you see trick-or-treating will grow up to face the impacts of our actions today.  Every generation inherits the mistakes — and the smarter choices — of those before it.  Even small actions, like greening your holidays, can add up to make a big difference for you and for them.

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