Halloween is a holiday that celebrates all things spooky, but it doesn’t have to frighten our health, our pocketbooks or the environment…(for the most part, anyway!)::) Here are some ways to mark the occasion that play up the earthy, imaginative, resourceful side in all of us. The idea being, we make Halloween less of a commercial affair and more of an environmentally friendly, family affair.
Be resourceful when it comes to decorating, and play up the simple use of natural elements, rather than relying on all the synthetic paraphernalia from party stores. Decorate with things like driftwood, cornstalks, leaves, branches, and of course, pumpkins. These can then get tossed to the compost bin when the big day has passed, so you have nothing to store and nothing goes to waste. When carving pumpkins, save the seeds to toast and eat, or to plant again for next year. You can also put some of your recyclables or leftovers into play to create reusable Halloween décor year after year. Make use of energy efficient lights and use soy-based candles in your jack-o-lanterns.
Your most eco-friendly, yet still playful, options when it comes to costumes are to think second hand or to repurpose and make one yourself using items from around the house. It makes great sense to organize costume swaps with friends and neighbors and to shop second hand stores. Creating costumes yourself is about one of the easiest, do it yourself projects you can take on because it’s all about being creative, it only has to last for a one-time wearing, and it doesn’t have to be perfect…it just has to be FUN! Search your closets, the kitchen, the garage…all the supplies you need are right there in front of you. Pull things together and then let your child’s imagination go to work. They’ll have their own ideas on how to configure things and what kind of innovative character they want to create. Kids love to play dress up all year long, and put on shows, so a costume trunk is always worth the effort.
If you need blood, face paint, or other ooey, gooey concoctions, make them yourself. They’re inexpensive and you know exactly what you’re putting on you or your child’s skin. There are an endless number of recipes that include simple, everyday ingredients from the kitchen. The online community is an excellent resource for recipes and it’s best to try out a few to see what works best with the ingredients you have available. For recipes that call for food coloring, explore using natural colorants.
Reusable Treat Bags
For treat bags, create one from scratch that has been made out of materials from around the house, or use one that can then double as a shopping tote for the remainder of the year. Making a bag is a quick and easy do it yourself project that anyone can handle. Good materials to use from around the house include pillowcases and cloth napkins. The kids can then have fun decorating them with paints and stencils for that special Halloween touch.
Fun candy doesn’t have to mean non-healthy candy. Explore the organic, natural candies that are becoming more and more plentiful, affordable and delicious! Offer your trick or treater’s sweet treats that aren’t filled with artificial colorings, flavorings and other undesirables. You could also throw in some playful treats in place of edible ones.
And the most important tip….it’s not about being perfect with it all or sucking the fun out of things…do what you can and what works for you! Every thoughtful bit helps and keeps us more aware.
And, in spirit of the upcoming holiday…here’s a link to a few of our old creative quickies if you’d like to take a gander!
Treat Tree – To make this project even more eco-friendly, repurpose an old garden pot in place of a plastic caldron, replace the latex spray with a brush on latex, decorate with all natural elements and eliminate the individual treat bags. It’s a great way to repurpose old artificial stems, the driftwood makes it unique and it can be used year after year. The kids get a kick out of this one!
Mini Jack-O-Lanterns – Kids have a lot of fun with this one, too!
Free Style Costumes — Love when kids come to the door wearing ‘original’ costumes they rigged up themselves!