Monday, October 26, 2009

A Green Halloween

With tons of sugary candy, decorations, and costumes that are often worn only once, Halloween is an especially consumer-driven holiday. Fortunately, there are countless opportunities to make earth-friendly choices with the getups we wear, the types of food we serve, and how we choose to celebrate. Here are some tips on how to make your Halloween festivities more green from start to finish:

If you are planning a Halloween party, avoid paper invitations as well as the cost of postage by using free online sources such as or even through email or Facebook. If you prefer to send invitations through the mail, make your own from recycled cards or use tree-free paper products like hemp.

When shopping for supplies and treats, always bring your own cloth or recycled plastic bags with you. If you generally drive to do errands, try to get your shopping done all at once to save on gas and money and reduce your pollution. If you can walk, ride your bike, carpool, or take public transportation, even better!

When purchasing food for your Halloween get-together, look for foods that are organic, whole, and local if possible. Going meatless also reduces your environmental impact on the planet. Be sure to compost your food scraps, including leftover pumpkins and any other natural decorations like cornstalks. Here are some ideas for healthy finger-foods with a seasonal feel:

toasted pumpkin seeds
air popped popcorn
cider made with 100% organic apple juice, simmered with cinnamon sticks
baked apples with dates/raisins, walnuts, and cranberries
pumpkin bread with organic chocolate chips
vegetables and hummus

Having a Green Halloween doesn’t mean your party has to be decoration-free. Gourds, pumpkins, apples, cornstalks, straw bales, and other items from nature make great accents on front porches and table tops. Decorations such as colorful recyclable streamers and dinnerware add holiday flare. If you’d like to use candles for ambiance, use those made of soy or beeswax instead of petroleum. Above all, if you are going to purchase items that will end up in the trash, try to find ones than can later be recycled or composted.

Get creative and make your own costume! If you don’t sew, keep things simple with old sheets, cardboard and paint, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and anything you have lying around the house. You can also visit secondhand stores (or your attic or basement) to find reusable material for your costume. For neighborhood families, host a costume-exchange party and dig out your old creations for the kids. Non-toxic, washable face pencils are suggested for decorating your child’s face.

This Halloween, think treasures instead of candy. Rather than individually-wrapped, sugary treats, hand out stickers, temporary tattoos, whistles, pencils, spinning tops, and other tokens or handmade keepsakes. For healthy food items, organic juice boxes, fruit leather, 100% honey sticks, granola/breakfast bars, boxes of raisins or dried fruits, dried veggie chips, and raw or roasted nuts make great, simple choices. If you enjoy giving out more traditional treats, organic dark chocolate is available in bite-sized pieces by companies such as Endangered Species Chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants and Endangered Species Chocolate contributes 10% of its net profits to help support struggling species and their habitats.

If you are bringing the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, let them decorate their own bags made from old pillow cases, shopping bags, purses, or hand-sewn fabric. Remember to use rechargeable batteries rather than disposables in your flashlights. Battery acid is toxic, leaching into groundwater and causing serious environmental contamination. Shakable, hand-cranked, and solar-powered flashlights are also battery-free and fun for kids to use.

As your celebrating the holiday don't forget to visit the Museum of the Earth for our spooktacular Museum in the Dark:

Museum in the Dark
Museum in the Dark
Thursday, October 29
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Presented in partnership with Cornell Astronomy and the International Year of Astronomy.
Explore the Museum after-hours Halloween-style! Make comets, go on a flashlight tour, hold some creepy crawlies, visit astronomy trick-or-treat stations, make your own cider, and more! Come dressed in your costume and we'll have a spooktacularly good time!
Members - $5 adults, $3 student/senior, $2 youth (4-17), children three and under are free
Non members - $10 adults, $7 student/senior, $5 youth (4-17), children three and under are free

We hope to see you there!

No comments: