A Green — and Cheap — Halloween: Top Ten Tips

Here are the top ten tips for a “green” Halloween. They’ll save you money, too!

Costume 1. Reuse costumes. Tap into the treasures hidden in your closet or attic to pull together a fun, no-cost costume (it won’t take any longer than going to the mall, and will be a lot cheaper). Trade costumes with friends and family if you don’t want to wear last year’s get-up. Shop for accessories at yard sales or resale stores. Use your imagination but don’t obsess. The point is to have fun, not be fashionable!

2. Trick and treat.  In lieu of junk food, hand out pencils made from recycled paper, erasers, nickels or dimes – be creative!. My husband used to live in the same neighborhood as baseball legend Casey Stengel – he gave out silver dollars. My neighbor started doling out small cups of apple cider when she realized how much kids love a drink of something when they’re running around like banshees. NatureMoms offers lots of great links to organic lollipops and other fun and healthy treats.

3.  Reverse trick and treating. Global Exchange is encouraging kids to help educate adults about Fair Trade cocoa by handing Fair Trade chocolates back as they trick or treat. The chocolates are attached to a card explaining why Fair Trade offers an alternative to child labor, low wages for farmers and a healthier environment. Order by October 13.

Pumpkins_2  4. Have a party. If you opt to celebrate at home in lieu of trick or treating, put out bowls of snacks rather than serve up individual throwaway treat bags. Offer pop corn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips, fresh apple cider, bat-shaped cookies and muffins. Kids will enjoy painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on “flashlight hunts” in the yard (if the party’s after dark) for hidden Halloween surprises. Send electronic invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.

5. Decorate with Nature. A trip to your yard or the farmers market will provide everything you need to dress up your house for Halloween: leaves and branches, hay bales, gourds, pumpkins, mums, dried flowers.

6.  Light up the night. If you string lights (especially to keep walkways safe for kids), use strands of LEDs like these fun spider lights. They use much less energy than conventional holiday twinklers. Illuminate carved pumpkins with candles from beeswax or soy . Decorate windows and glass door panes with these beautiful non-toxic window paints from Hearthsong. If kids need flashlights to get around in the dark, try the BOGO light recharged with solar energy.

7. Turn it over to the kids. Forget the store-bought hanging witches and skeletons. Have your kids make hand print spiders for the walls and windows. Recycle egg cartons into bats. Carve and paint pumpkins.

Chico_halloween_bag 8. Try a new bag. The best option for candy collectors is last year’s bag; a pillowcase; or a reusable shopping bag with handles. But if you need something new, try the reusable Chico Halloween Bag. Kids will love its spooky design. You’ll love that it only costs $5.

9. Save for next year. When Halloween is over, pack up costumes, treat bags, lights, and decorations in one big box or bag. Store everything in an easy-to-find place so next year, you don’t have to start completely from scratch.

10. Get even more ideas. Between Green Halloween and the Green Moms Carnival , you’ll find everything you need to know to make your spooky night as eco as possible.

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8 Responses to A Green — and Cheap — Halloween: Top Ten Tips

  1. Rodney North October 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    The Portable Baby Blog also lists a number of organic, Fair Trade and/or more-natural snacks to hand out (ie w/fewer or no synthetic ingredients and what not).
    http://www.theportablebaby.com/2008/10/buy-safe-organic-eco-friendly-candy.html

  2. Joan Elmore Nutting October 11, 2008 at 10:13 am #

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  3. Mike Driehorst October 14, 2008 at 5:22 am #

    Those are all very good ideas, Ms. MacEachern.
    While we’ve not yet recycled costumes, we are trying to get more use out of them with our four (kids 10yoa and younger). My wife started a “dress up tub” — a large plastic tub where we put many of the costumes the kids have outgrown, along with other dress up items.
    They come in handy throughout the year — not just Oct. 31.
    Take care,
    Mike

  4. Diane MacEachern October 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Thanks for all the great tips and suggestions!

  5. Beth from Avenue Z October 24, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    Nice! Sometimes I get caught up in a holiday and forget about what’s important. Thanks for reminding me to stay grounded when it comes to costumes and decorating.

  6. Diane MacEachern October 24, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    You’re welcome. Have a fun Halloween!

  7. Chic and Green November 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm #

    I love that Halloween treat bag! It is so adorable!

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  1. Green Your Halloween! Top Tips from Eco-Experts - HealthyGreenSavvy - October 15, 2015

    […] Diane at Big Green Purse has many excellent suggestions and reminds us that being green actually saves rather than costs money.  Also check out her tips […]

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