The holiday of Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. Today it has evolved into a largely secular holiday but as with any holiday or festival, there are always options to be green. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as many as 36.4 million trick or treaters go door-to-door on Halloween among the approximate 106 million occupied housing units in search of treats.
It is a no-brainer to do this mass transport sustainably - walking or biking are obvious options with car-pooling also a viable solution. However, I like to think that part of the fun of Halloween is walk around and show off all the fabulous costumes.
There are of course many ways you can become an ethical consumer with Halloween costumes. You can make them yourself with old fabric or using old clothes in your own wardrobe. Using a little imagination and raiding second-hand clothes stores gives you a lot of inspiration when it comes to making your own unique costume. The Salvation Army and many charity shops might even have second-hand costumes on sale. Additionally, renting or borrowing a costume is also a good idea rather than buying one.
Green Halloween® is a non-profit, grassroots community initiative to create healthier and more Earth-friendly holidays, starting with Halloween. It began in the Seattle area in 2007 with backers such as Whole Foods Market and was such a huge success that in 2008, the initiative expanded nation-wide. In cities across the country, volunteer coordinators are turning their city's Halloween holiday healthy and eco-friendly, but many are also raising money for their own, local nonprofit beneficiaries via the initiative. Their websites gives plenty of options for greener costume options like Inhabitots, as well as other ideas on how to make Halloween green.
Stick to non-toxic, chemical free makeup. Check out many sustainable cosmetic brands on how to choose a more ethical brand of make-up. As always read the list of ingredients.
When it comes to decor, reuse your old ones, invest in LED lights, use recycled decorations. Support local, smaller decoration makers or make your own. Look to see what the decoration is made off and look for a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled material. Carve your own Jack-O-Lantern, it is biodegradable and eco-friendly. Light it up with a fairtrade beeswax candle.
Halloween is definitely not what it is without candy. Instead of candy, why not give away dry fruit or fairtrade chocolate dipped fruit and nuts? Check out organic or fairtrade chocolate options. Buy candy with only natural flavours and no preservatives with lower sugar content - these are also kinder on teeth.
The roots of Halloween is so Nature-based and it still plays an important role in the pagan calender. The modern festival has turned it into something so far removed from what it was. Using these green tips, Halloween can once again become a festival that is the celebration of the natural cycles of the Earth.