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Going Green at Halloween

Seven simple ideas for a eek-o-friendly Halloween.

1. Trick or Treat
I know that nearly everyone looks forward to candy at Halloween, but consider saving the junk food and handing out pencils, small toys or homemade treats instead. If doling out the candy is non-negotiable, check out NatureMoms. This site offers lots of great links to organic candies, lollipops and other healthy treats.

2. Cash In
Consider offering a candy buyback. Once you’ve safety checked all of the treats your kids have brought home, have them select their absolute favorites. Then, offer a cash exchange for every piece that they “sell” back to you. The going rate around here is 10 ¢ a piece.

3. Make a Trade
Start a costume swap among your family and friends. Offer up the costumes you or your kids have worn in previous years that are still in good condition, in exchange for those your friends’ kids have worn. You can host a swap in your home or simply create an email chain or utilize one of the many social media sites to offer what you have and browse for what you want or need. This not only saves money but keeps these items out of local landfills.

4. Repurpose
Shop for costumes and accessories at yard sales, flea markets or consignment stores. Clothing, jewelry and other items that someone has given away can be the perfect accent to your Halloween costume this year. It’s another great way to save money and to repurpose old items into something new and different. 

5. Go Natural
Instead of purchasing cheap plastic trinkets for decorating—trinkets that will be ruined by the end of the season—try to purchase a few good, sturdy, well-made decorations that will stand the test of time. At our home, we've been using the same items for outdoor decorating for about 10 years. For the seasonal items that can't be saved from year to year, I like to keep it simple and natural. A trip to the pumpkin patch or farmers market can yield you all that you need to create a Halloween oasis. Pumpkins, hay bales, gourds and mums can all create a beautiful holiday atmosphere. Going for a spookier look? Cut an old white sheet into six or eight smaller pieces and use cotton or scrap material to stuff the top. Tie the neck with string or twine and hang your ghost creations by your door or in a tree or bush in your yard. 

6. Bag It
Our kids use the same bag every year for collecting treats. Instead of buying one of those cheap plastic, one-use Halloween bags, try a sturdy, reusable shopping bag. A pillow case is another great way to collect treats without creating any waste. If you must buy a Halloween-themed bag, think ahead to next year. Purchase something sturdy that will last for more than one year of trick-or-treating. Hit the after-holiday sales to purchase them for up to 75 percent off.

7. Save It
Be sure to save everything you use this year, from bags to decorations, to costumes and accessories. This way, you won't have to start from scratch next Halloween. By storing everything in a clearly marked box or container, you’ll have everything on hand for next year’s celebration.

With a little creativity and repurposing you can greatly reduce the cost of your Halloween from both a financial and environmental standpoint.

Most importantly this season, be sure to keep your kids safe by going out during the township’s approved trick-or-treating hours, having an adult accompanying younger children, and being sure to stay on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks at all times.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Trish Adkins October 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I was excited to see bags of organic and low sugar treats at the grocery store!

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