Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Halloween Celebration
Americans have many great holidays, and holiday traditions, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Many of us celebrate these holidays by decorating, having parties, giving gifts, and traveling to be with family members. Americans love our holiday celebrations, and they wouldn’t be the same without the long-standing accompanying traditions, like turkey on Thanksgiving, trick-or-treating on Halloween, or Christmas lights on Christmas. However, most of our holiday traditions and customs result in a lot of excess consumption and other activities, that have an adverse impact on the environment. One of my favorite holidays, Halloween, is right around the corner and our celebrations of this great fall holiday will have a large adverse impact on the environment. It is estimated that Americans spend over $6.5 billion dollars on Halloween each year. Most of this money is spent on candy and Halloween costumes. Although much of the candy is presumably consumed, the candy packaging is not, and many of the costumes will be disposed. These are just two small examples of the environmental impact of Halloween. We are not advocating that we do away with Halloween candy or Halloween costumes; however, there is a lot we all can do to limit the impact our Halloween celebration has on the environment.
In recent years several organizations have been created to help consumers find ways to reduce the environmental impact of their holiday celebrations. While there are several that focus on Christmas, there are few (if any) besides GreenHalloween.org, which focus entirely on minimizing the environmental impact of Halloween. Here is a list of 20 things you can do to have a Green Halloween®:
- Swap costumes with someone rather than buying a new costume. This is a great idea and one of our favorite Green Halloween Tips.
- Purchase your costume, or its components from your local thrift shop.
- Use LED Halloween lights to decorate instead of incandescent lights.
- Collect candy in a reusable container rather than a disposable bag. Or better yet, make it a fun project for your kids, by having them make their own Halloween bag out of reusable or recyclable items you have around the house.
- When trick-or-treating, walk, instead of driving door to door.
- Carry a shakable or hand-crank LED flash light instead of one that is battery powered.
- Make your own Halloween face paints.
- Make your own Halloween Decorations.
- Cut back on the candy/treats you give away - 25% makes a big difference to Mother Earth, and the kids won't notice.
- Purchase an organic pumpkin.
- Buy your pumpkin from a local farmer.
- Purchase an edible variety of pumpkin and paint, instead of carving the pumpkin. Then bake and eat the pumpkin when Halloween is done.
- Roast & eat your pumpkin seeds instead of tossing them.
- Use 100% beeswax or soy candles in your jack-o-lantern instead of paraffin candles.
- Give away healthier alternatives to conventional candy.
- Compost your leftover candy.
- Donate your leftover candy to troops overseas.
- Compost your pumpkin.
- Make crafts out of candy wrappers.
- Pack décor away carefully so that it can be reused next year.
* If you plan to decorate for Halloween you can also conserve energy by using energy efficient LED Halloween Lights, which consume up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. It’s an easy and festive way to celebrate and reduce your environmental impact.