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Scare up a Green Halloween with These 6 Tips

It’s finally October, my favorite month of the year – and that means Halloween is right around the corner. Like many other holidays, Halloween can be pretty wasteful.  There’s a lot of trash left behind once the holiday is over including candy wrappers and flimsy plastic costumes, not to mention the energy used to power electric decorations and the pesticides in conventional pumpkins.  You can still enjoy Halloween and avoid these eco-foibles, though – check out these 6 tips, which are chock full of resources for green Halloween fun.

Use what you’ve already got at home, or shop at the thrift store for costume components.  Never buy those cheap throwaway costumes that fall apart after one night.  You can easily put together something far more impressive just by getting a little creative with your materials, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money.  Get creative with scrap fabric, thrift store clothing and accessories, and even cardboard.  If you’re looking for some non-toxic, vegan Halloween make-up, Etsy shop Pink Quartz Minerals is a great place to start.

Buy organic pumpkins, and use every part of them.  Don’t let those seeds go to waste! They’re delicious roasted, or you can simply allow them to dry and leave them out for birds to eat – they’re a high-protein snack.  Once Halloween is over, break the pumpkin apart into pieces with a hammer and scatter them in your yard where wildlife can enjoy them.  You could also simply add them to your compost bin, if you have one.

Pass out healthy, fair-trade candy to the trick-or-treaters that come knocking on your door.  Endangered Species chocolate has a line of Halloween-themed candies including ‘Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites’.  Other ideas include organic fruit leather, dried fruit and fair trade chocolate ‘gold coins’. For more ideas, check out the ‘Eco Friendly Halloween’ post on the Nature Moms blog.

Don’t buy tons of plastic and paper decorations that’ll get tossed on November 1st.  Choose decorations that will last for years to come, so you won’t have to keep buying new ones. Use rechargable batteries to power battery-operated decorations, and check out a great list of solar-powered Halloween lights over at InventorSpot.

Give your costume away when you’re done with it, or trade it for a new one. Post an ad on a classifieds site like Craigslist.com asking to trade your costume with one in a similar size.  It might just help you get past that whole “I don’t know what I want to be this year” conundrum, because you’ll get all kinds of wacky offers.  This is also a great way to get new costumes for your kids – get hand-me-downs from friends and co-workers with kids that are a little older than yours.

Don’t drive the kids from house to house for trick-or-treating.  If you live in a neighborhood where homes are spaced far apart, you’re better off driving to a more densely populated neighborhood.  You’ll use less gas, and the kids will get the full experience.  Sitting in the car in between stops is not nearly as fun as walking down street, clutching their little treat bags and peering up into the trees, letting their imaginations run wild.

Photo by Flickr user Just-Us-3

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.