Halloween is one of the most fun holidays of the year. Dating back to Celtic times, it’s the one time of the year that you can get out there, let your hair down, and have an amazing time.
The holiday is now celebrated by people the world over, and it’s generally accepted that the historical roots of Halloween originate from the British Celtic Pagan celebration of Samhain. It was at this time that people believed the spirits of the dead walked the earth, so the Celts left them offerings of food to gain their favor.
As well as this, the Celts wore scary masks to scare off any bad spirits, and it’s believed that’s where the wearing of frightening costumes derived.
Nowadays, most of us take the day far less serious than the Celts did thousands of years ago, and it’s amazing to read that according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), over 171 million Americans plan to celebrate the day this year. Add this to the fact that an individual’s annual spending on decorations, costumes, and celebrations relating to the holiday is set to be around $82.93 this year – up from $74.34 in the previous year, and you might be wondering how to keep those costs down.
It’s true that Halloween is a time of year where many of us are guilty of over-consuming and creating so much waste. However, take a look at these amazing eco-friendly Halloween ideas that will minimize harm to the planet, as well as not break the bank.
Of course, when you have kids, it’s only too easy to feel the pressure to go down to the store and buy them the latest terrifying costume fad. In fact, for many children (and adults), their Halloween costumes are store-bought, rather than homemade.
The problem with buying ready-made Halloween disguises is that most of these mass produced items are filled with chemicals and non-recyclable materials such as PVC. When they’re done with, they often end up being thrown in the trash, and then on to the landfill.
- Make your own costumes and masks. It’s so much more enjoyable, and good for the planet, to create home-made costumes and masks. That way, everyone can get involved in getting their outfits to be “just so.” Sit down with your kids, or whoever you plan to celebrate the big day with, and make a list of what you have that can be turned into a scary outfit. Also, it’s a great idea to check out thrift stores at this time of year too!
- Make home-made costumes your theme. You can even make homemade costumes a theme for your party, giving out prizes for the best and worst dressed. With a little imagination, you can help make the day extra-special. For example, you can always get an old bed sheet out for some ghostly fun, or even create a zombie look just by ripping some old clothes, and applying scary makeup.
- Rent a costume. If you’re really not the most creative of people, you could also always rent a costume. That’s a costume that’s been used and now will be used again.
Your Halloween makeup is one of the most important aspects of your outfit, so it’s important to give it a lot of thought.
- Rather than buying lots of new makeup and face paints, keep and reuse the supplies from the year before. Just keep a check on the use by dates and ingredients. A very worrying finding from a 2009 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report revealed that many kid’s Halloween face paints contain heavy metal toxins, such as chromium, cobalt, lead, and nickel, even though many of these products were labelled as FDA compliant.
- Buy organic or make your own. When buying new makeup, look for organic products only, or even look online for recipes to make your own face paints.
Decorating for Halloween is arguably almost as fun as the celebration itself.
- Keep your old decorations. Remember to keep last year’s Halloween props so you can reuse them, and perhaps even modify them to give them a brand new look.
- Use eco-friendly lighting. LED lights are excellent for adding some atmosphere while saving energy.
- Check out local farmers’ markets for hand-crafted eco-friendly decorations. You will also be helping your local economy by doing this.
- Make your own decorations. If you’re feeling like getting creative, an old bed sheet stuffed with newspapers or even leaves will make an awesome “ghost,” and balls of yarn woven over your doors make scary-looking spider webs. When it comes to decorations, your imagination is the only limit.
- Don’t discard your pumpkins after carving. Many of us rush through carving our pumpkins, discarding the insides in the trash. When you’re carving your pumpkins, ensure that nothing is wasted. Keep the leftover sweet pulp for cooking, and place the seeds aside for toasting as yummy seasonal snacks or for growing more pumpkins for future celebrations. Treated correctly, a Halloween pumpkin will just keep on giving!
One of the most exciting aspects of a Halloween celebration has to be the trick-or-treat bags.
- Rather than buying those little plastic bags from the store, use reusable shopping bags or even pillow cases. You can always paint a few decorative pictures onto them – with eco-friendly paint, of course.
Make your own treats or buy in bulk
Kids just love looking inside their trick-or-treat bags for goodies, so it’s important to ensure they’re as fun as possible, as well as being good for the environment.
- Remember to fill your party bags with tasty organic treats, rather than the prepackaged, chemical-laden kind. There are lots of recipes online that can get you started with some ideas, and again the kids can get involved. If you just don’t feel like cooking, buy organic candy instead.
- Buy in bulk. If you are buying Halloween candy, and this may be unavoidable, buy these in bulk to save on packaging waste.
- Think out-of-the-box. You can also add items like coins, small books, and useful, yet fun recyclable items to the bags, and everyone will have such an amazing time discovering what’s inside.
This year, make your Halloween celebration, as fun, frightening, and eco-friendly as you can. With a little effort, you can make your October 31 one of the most green and memorable Halloweens yet.
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