Planning Ahead to Green Halloween

It's never too early to start planning your Halloween fun. (Photo: Tetiana Lukerievas/Shutterstock)

I know, I know. It's not even October yet, and here I am writing about greening Halloween. Trust me, I'm not usually this far ahead of the game when it comes to planning. But one thing I've learned over the years is that the best way to reduce the eco-impact of the Halloween festivities (while still enjoying the holiday) is to plan ahead. Costumes and decorations are easy to find around the house or at the thrift store, but not usually on the day before the big event. Filling your trick-or-treat bowl with eco-treats is another good way to go green, but options may be limited or expensive in your area. Think ahead and you can bulk packages of your favorite green goodies that won't break the bank.

So think of this as a Green Halloween primer. There will be lots more to come this month with costume ideas, kids crafts and party tips. But here are a few things to start thinking about now:

Treats: Stock your treat bowl with organic, natural treats instead of the standard commercial fare to reduce kids’ exposure to chemicals and preservatives. Fair trade chocolates, organic candies, or sweets made with pure cane sugar, fruit juice, and natural colors are just that much sweeter because they’re healthier for kids and the planet. Another option is to skip the candy altogether and hand out small toys, stickers, pencils, or soy crayons. Keep the costs down by purchasing these items in bulk now, before the Halloween rush begins.

Decorations: Think green before you break out the orange and black decorations. Natural items like pumpkins, gourds, straw bales and corn husks are inexpensive and festive and can be tossed in the compost pile after the holiday to minimize waste. Reusable decorations that can be used from year to year also help save money and reduce waste over the long run.

Costumes: Start scouring your home or your local thrift store to find great costume ideas and supplies. Think about what you can put together from the items you already have around the house (wrap recycled cardboard in aluminum foil to make wands, swords or tiaras; or make a cape for your princess or wizard out of an old pillowcase) instead of buying new.