Let's not play any nasty tricks on mother nature this Halloween. Here's how to green it up:
Two problems with store-bought decorations (store-bought anything, really): 1. they are mostly made of plastic and other crappy materials, and 2. they are mostly made through sweat shop labor. So get creative and decorate with found objects. For example, convert empty paint cans or similar objects into jack-o-lanterns by painting the outside orange and making holes for the eyes and mouth. You can also make spiders out of old egg cartons, or ghosts out of old sheets. Many more ideas can be found online at hgtv.com, familyfun.go.com, and allfreecrafts.com, as well as your local library.
Natural decorations look great too, such as a collage made out of colorful leaves picked up on a leisurely autumn walk.
Always re-use Halloween decorations the same way that Christmas ornaments are used from one year to the next. I keep my decorations in a clearly-labeled cardboard box in the attic, and each October 1st my son and I get the box down and go crazy. We add one or two new decorations each year to our collection. Hopefully they will last long enough for me to pass on to him when he has a place of his own to adorn for the holidays.
When making jack-o-lanterns, put the seeds (if not roasting) and pulp in a compost bin or pile. After Halloween is over, the shell can be tossed in the bin, too - but make sure it gets there before it starts to spoil.
Another way to get really creative: make your own Halloween costumes. Sewing is not necessarily required: try thrift stores, consignment shops, or yard sales. Parents can tailor their own old clothes into costumes for kids. Keep in mind that costumes, especially for very small children, do not have to be elaborate to make them happy.Some great ideas can be found at amazingmoms.com.
Always reuse and recycle old costumes, and donate outgrown costumes to someone else to enjoy.
Dress as an environmentally friendly character and get people talking; perhaps a vegetable, theearth, someone hugging a tree, or Lisa Simpson!
TRICK OR TREATING
Use reusable bags instead of plastic disposable bags, and use rechargeable batteries for flashlights.
Purchase organic, fair trade chocolate and organic candy online or from local organic groceries and health food stores. Check outReverse Trick or Treat to learn how to spread the word about the importance of fair trade this Halloween.
Walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. If you have to drive, carpool to help reduce traffic and air pollution.
Treat the Earth: take along some extra bags and pick up litter along the way.
All of the ideas above can help to make your Halloween party greener, but you can also: have your party during the day to take advantage of natural (free and clean!) light; email your invitations; serve only whole, local, organic foods; and use all reusable dishware.
Don't forget about these sensitive little guys. Keep pets far away from loud noise, costumed strangers, candy,Halloween tricksters, and especiallypet costumes!