North American’s have a weird fetish, and most don’t even know it… Halloween, the ghoulish, frightful fall spectacle which has it origins in Celtic traditions has morphed through history into a equally frightful capitalist holiday. If you think that is a harsh assessment of the holiday consider this: Americans will spend approximately $6.9 billion dollars on Halloween this year on costumes, decorations and candy. That’s all well an good many will say, and it does contribute to local economies which is undeniable, it does have an environmental impact. So to guide you through this ghoulish season, here are my suggestions to environmentally-friendly celebrations.
I think we can all agree, we have seen our fair share of Pirates, Black Cats, Supermen, 80’s Aerobics Instructors, and Vikings, so one can assume that there are numerous repeated costumes in circulation. So head over to your local thrift store, community buy & sell Facebook groups or Value Village for secondhand costume pieces. I especially recommend asking around your group of friends for hand-me-down costumes that perhaps their children have outgrown and swap costumes between all of you.
Alright, so I admit that this one is going to be unpopular with the kids, but stick with me here! As a true Canadian child, I remember having to wear my parka underneath my costume, or work it around an umbrella, complaining I was cold or wet or tired to my parents and how my pillowcase full of candy was too heavy. So why not host a costume party at your home for your friends and family and their kids? It is warm, dry and an opportunity to play games and visit with everyone! As a result you can avoid the seemingly endless wrappers from those “fun sized” chocolate bars by serving fun Halloween themed appetizers, punch and deserts! Instead of gift bags full of chocolates and candies, opt for more useful take-away’s like Halloween themed pencils and erasers.
Alright, so perhaps you’re kids would host a coup if you announced the end of trick-o-treating, and if that is the case I suggest that you forego the plastic bags or buckets for treat collection and make a fun kid-friendly DIY project. This project was created by Punkin Patterns using canvas and cotton fabric and- I suggest that you swap out the conventional canvas for upcycled fabric and/or use felt made from recycled plastic materials (sold at Michaels.)
Or if you are like me, and trick-o-treated using a household pillowcase, you can follow this adorable tutorial by Thirty Handmade Days. If you do not want to forsake one of your own household pillowcases, I suggest you pick up a few from your local secondhand store. Give it a hot wash and you will be good to go!
Package Free, Strategic Trick-O-Treating
This option takes a little planning a lot of cooperation between friends and neighbours, but if done right it can be one of the best Halloween waste solutions! This suggestion is the organization between friends and neighbours in your area to pre-make homemade treats or waste-free giveaways to hand out to the children who’s parents are part of the arrangement. Then you and your children then only go trick-o-treating to the homes who are participating in this arrangement. My suggestions are things like candied apples, rice crispy pumpkins, date bars and these adorable mandarine orange pumpkins by A Designer Life. Truthfully this suggestion would work best with young children under 6 who are less influenced by their peers and have less stamina and therefore don’t want to go to 20+ homes in an evening.
This is an excellent solution for children who have food allergies as well because you can notify your friends of said allergy and they can accommodate them! The key here is to make it safe though, so don’t put an APB out there on your community Facebook group for the whole neighbourhood, because even though we think we may know our neighbours well, we might not.
Alright, last but not least, this is an easy one! If you have local farmers markets or pumpkin patches near you, make the effort to buy one from there. The ones at the supermarket come from unknown locations, and therefore may have large transportation related carbon footprints. We picked up our pumpkins from a local family farm Aldor Acres. Not only did we only drive 4km to the farm, but we know that our money is supporting local families and economies.
Alright Guys! That’s it for now, but if I think of any other ideas this weekend will be sure to update this post!