Green Eyes On: Green Halloween Tips You May Not Have Thought Of


Photo via Smashing Magazine.

Each year Americans spend billions of dollars on Halloween candy, costumes and other Halloween related décor-type items (over $3 billion was spent in 2006 alone). They're shelling out $20-50 a piece on costumes and $10 and up on bags of candy.

But, this year more-so than in years past, people have enhanced awareness of health issues like cancer, obesity, and diabetes rates, of environmental health, and this year less people have the luxury of spending their hard earned dollars on store-bought costumes so they're being forced to look elsewhere for their ghost and goblin attire.

All of that brings us to my five tips for throwing a greener Halloween...in ways you may not have thought of.

(1) Think outside the store-bought box.

Forget the costly, typical, polyester costumes that you find at those pop-up Halloween superstores. This year, recycle what's already in your house for a more eco and original approach.

Here are four ideas that I shared recently on CNN.com/LIVE

  • Skunk: Wear a black turtleneck & tights and paste a white strip down your back

  • Spider: Wear black leotard & tights, and attach 4 extra sets of "legs" - tights stuffed with paper.

  • Ragdoll: Wear a sleeper with patches, a stocking cap, rosy cheeks and freckles

  • Jack in the Box: Wear bright tights and shirt. Attach a brightly painted box with a crank.
  • (2) Aluminum foil makes a costume and makes any costume better.

  • Good old aluminum foil like Reynolds Wrap from 100% recycled aluminum is the obvious choice. It can become the star on your daughter's fairy godmother wand or the sword in your young Jedi hand. Simply cut a star or sword from cardboard and cover both sides with aluminum foil. For the star, attach it to the top of a short dowel rod, tie on some ribbon, and voila!

  • It can become the face of your child's futuristic face mask. Cut out the mask from cardboard. Cut holes for eyes and the mouth, then cover the mask with foil and use paint, or glue on feathers or glitter to decorate.

  • Cover 3 boxes in cascading sizes with foil to make a robot costume

  • Cover cardboard fins for a Nemo-like shiny fish
  • (3) Carry two bags: one for treats and a bag for trash

    Your treat bag doesn't need to be some synthetic polyester pumpkin. Instead use a reusable grocery bag or a decorated old pillowcase.

    In addition to your treat bag, carry a second bag for litter. Each November 1st, people wake to streets and sidewalks littered with candy wrappers and discarded costumes. This Halloween, walk with a trash bag in hand and help keep our streets clean.

    (4) Choose a walking neighborhood

    Forget about stop-and-go trick-or-treat driving, walking is the more carbon-neutral, eco-friendly choice. If you don't live in a "walking" neighborhood, try carpooling, picking a different neighborhood where you can walk, or trick-or-treating at the mall.

    (5) When it's all over, donate!

    Take this year's costume and host a swap party with neighbors or school friends so you'll all have something new to wear next year.

    Or, better yet, donate your costumes to a local children's hospital. They're always so grateful for any donated books, toys, and costumes for dress up days.

    Tags: Holidays