Orange, Black and Green your Halloween!
Here are some ideas that we do to green our Halloween:
1. Buy used costumes! We have at least 20 different costumes in our house that we use year-round for dress-up, not just for Halloween. Most of them are used and were bought at consignment stores or on Craigslist. If you are looking for consignment stores in the Vancouver area, I went to MacGillicuddy's today (October 24th) and they still have a great selection of costumes in every size. There was a really cute panda for a toddler and an adorable, one-piece pumpkin for a young baby. MacGillicuddy's is at McKenzie and 33rd. On the East Side, Wee Ones Reruns is great and always has a nice selection of costumes as well. If you are looking for a specific costume, Craigslist, and other sites like it, are your best bet. Last year I bought 6 dinosaur costumes for my son's birthday party off Cragislist. Just make sure that you aren't driving out of your way to pick them up. No sense, being eco friendly in your costume choice, if you pollute the environment while picking it up!
2. You could also make costumes out of clothing you already own. I've been a pirate, cowgirl and hippy many times by combining items I already have in my closet. Each costume was made up of articles of clothing I love individually and wear regularly, but things I wouldn't normally wear together (unless I really wanted to look like a pirate, cowgirl or hippy, of course!)
3. Buy unisex costumes that you can pass down. My son was Tiger a couple of years ago and my daughter is excited to be Tiger this year. Save money and the environment at the same time! You could also hand down your costumes to other families or trade costumes with other families. When you are done with your costumes, you can resell them at consignment stores or on Craiglist or donate them to a preschool or daycare for dress-up.
Tiger & Cookie Monster
4. I love candy and chocolates but I'm not a fan of anything that is individually wrapped! I think kids should get and eat a lot of candy on Halloween and I definitely wouldn't trust anything that wasn't factory sealed, but there are always alternatives. Everyone gives out candy and chocolate, be the cool house in the neighbourhood and give out something great and useful that kids will love like markers, pencil crayons, mini-notebooks made from recycled paper, stickers, etc... There is always a fun and eco-friendly alternative to candy and chocolate.
5. Use reusable bags or pillow cases as trick-or-treating bags and use the same ones each year. There is absolutely no reason to buy a special Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag! Everyone has plenty of reusable bags they could use and if you want to do an art activity with your kids - decorate your bag or pillowcase for Halloween and reuse it every year.
6. Trick-or-Treat close to home and avoid driving from neighbourhood, to neighbourhood trying to hit all the houses with the big chocolate bars! Get to know your neighbourhood well and you'll discover the houses within walking distance that give out the best stuff. I hate to say it, but we drive quite far to trick-or-treat with close friends. On the plus side, we walk (or ride in a wagon) as soon as we get to their house and as a result of not being home to hand out candy and other treats we save quite a bit of money and waste. There are three kids that live right next door to us. This year, I am going to make up eco-friendly trick-or-treat packages for each of them so they don't miss out because we aren't home.
7. Use materials you have around the house to make Halloween decorations and reuse the same ones year-to-year. Green Planet Parties has fabulous handmade and reusable Halloween decorations. We've been using the same Halloween decorations for 8 years and they still look great. I pack them up each year in a basket and pull them out on Halloween.
8. Buy locally grown pumpkins. A trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins is always a fun way to spend the day. Our family went to the pumpkin patch on Saturday and came home with 5 perfect pumpkins to carve. Make sure to roast the pumpkin seeds, they are delicious. Also, remember to compost your pumpkins when you are done with them. The city of Vancouver picks up compost in the yard collection bins on the same day as garbage pick-up each week.
Our 2010 trip to the Pumpkin Patch.
9. Be careful about not littering! Eating candy and chocolate while trick-or-treating is part of the Halloween experience, just be sure not to drop any wrappers on the ground. Also, gum and candy can be harmful to birds and other small animals so be sure not to leave any trick-or-treating evidence behind - other than footprints and smiling faces of course!