Halloween, a popular day among children and adults a like, falls on October thirty-first each year. Participants dress up, dodge witches and skeletons and ghosts and hit the neighborhood to roam from door to door, asking for a “trick or treat”. Rarely does one receive a “trick” but rather finds their basket or bag being filled with sweets and candies. At the end of the night everyone returns home to sort and count their candy before popping several pieces in their mouths. With such a large number of people participating in the events, there are some things that can be done to help make the day (or rather the night) to be more “green”.
Many costumes available for sale at department and convenience stores are primarily made of weak plastic that rips or breaks. The costume is meant for one night of use and then is to be discarded. Plastics take a very long time to decompose and fill up our trash and landfills very quickly. Plastics also can be harmful to animals that become tangled or try to ingest the waste. Instead of purchasing these costumes, consider making one that can be reused or given to a friend following Halloween. Shop at thrift stores to find parts of the costume so that clothing is being reused and you save money while putting together an outfit.
Many trick-or-treaters leave their neighborhood to seek more candy or visit a safer area. Their parents often drive children from house to house or neighborhood to neighborhood. This uses gasoline and emits fumes and emissions into the air. It is advisable to have an adult nearby, especially for small children, but consider parking the car and walking a street before moving to the next. Also, consider riding a bike or sticking to your neighborhood where you can simply walk. Furthermore, in some areas shopping centers and malls providing trick-or-treating experiences, with each store distributing candy. Not only is this a safe and convenient option, it allows for you to park your car for the duration of the event.
Candy given out on Halloween is typically individually wrapped and results in a large amount of trash. If you will be handing out candy, try to purchase types with the least amount of wrapping and plastic. Consider those in small, cardboard boxes. Although these boxes are typically waxy, they decompose a lot faster than the plastic wrappers. Things like suckers result in more trash (plastic covering and plastic or cardboard stick). If you live in a small and friendly neighborhood, consider handing out fruits or other items that do not have a wrapping (however, this is often regarded as unsafe by some parents or unsatisfactory by the children who would rather sweets).
As the recipient of the candy, be very careful not to litter the small wrappers as you sneak a few pieces while still trick-or-treating. Place the wrappers in your pocket or your bag and dispose of them properly when you get home. Recycle any wrapper that you possibly can.
Each trick-or-treater needs something in which to collect their candies and sweets. If you purchase one of the ever-popular pumpkin-shaped carriers, make sure you hold on to it for future use in other years. Also, consider using a cloth shopping bag instead of plastic or paper bag that will be worn and torn and then thrown away.
Cards and Invitations
Although it is nice to send a brightly-colored Halloween card or printed invitation for a party, there are more environmentally friendly ways to announce your celebration for the day. Cards result in paper waste and may be pricey to purchase and mail. Most are quickly thrown away or recycled by the recipient. Consider announcing your party or love for the holiday by email or Internet invitation sites. Your potential guests will receive the message in their Inbox and can easily be reminded as the day draws near. This is not only more efficient and cheaper, but helps the planet in the reduction of paper use.
If your child needs Halloween cards for school, try to find ones that are printed on recycled paper. These are reusing our valuable resources and will be recycled once again following the party at school.
Halloween is a fun night shared by children and parents a like. Try to employ the tips mentioned above so that the night will be environmentally friendly and as good for the planet as possible. You also will find that by saving your costume and candy holders that the next year will be easier and cheaper still, resulting in more savings for the planet as well. It is up to us to make sure that even the days we enjoy very much have the Earth in mind.
Happy Halloween and safe trick-or-treating! Beware of the witches and goblins!
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