1. Choose a DIY Costume or Host a Costume Swap
Halloween costumes come in all shapes and sizes—from the one-piece banana costume to the ‘Wear a White Shirt and Roll up the Sleeves Guy from Grease’ to Dorothy and her crew. This Halloween, why not try to create a costume that you can make with items you already have around the house? Or, if you have a few dollars to spare, head to a local thrift store for ideas–you will be surprised as to how easy (and cheap!) it will be to put something together. If you happen to have a bunch of really creative friends who have nailed Halloween in the past, organize and host a costume swap in which everyone brings a past Halloween costume to exchange with someone else. This is great for kids, who probably grew out of their costume anyway!
2. Concoct Your Own Fake Blood and Face Paint
In 2009, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent ten kid’s make-up sets to a lab, and the results were VERY scary. All ten of them contained lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium. Most of them contained levels of these metals that far exceed safety standards. And the worst part is, these ingredients are not listed on product labels. Fake blood isn’t any better—so this year play it safe and make your own!
To make your own face paint, all you need is corn starch, water, cold cream, and food coloring! Fake blood is just as simple—mix white corn syrup, food coloring and a little dish soap! Take a look at the recipes here.
3. Green Your Treats
Sure–mini, bite sized candy bars are convenient, but have you ever thought about how much waste is created by all that individually packaged candy? Especially on Halloween, when over 40 million kids go trick-or-treating! If you have the time and the resources, try making your own bite sized treats to give out on Halloween instead. If you can use organic ingredients, you’ll get an even bigger gold star!
4. Decorate Sustainably
Second only to Christmas, Halloween is one of the biggest decorating holidays of the year. Unfortunately, many of these decorations include non-recyclable plastics and materials. Cut down on your decorating waste this year by repurposing items around your house and buy or grow organic pumpkins and gourds to use as decorations. Turn old bed sheets and pillowcases into ghosts by stuffing them with leaves or newspaper and shred black pantyhose to use as spider webs! If you choose to carve pumpkins, be sure to save the seeds and roast them with a little oil and light salt! The pulp can be saved as well and used to bake pies, muffins, and even soaps. Finally, when buying Halloween decorative lights, always make sure they are LED.
5. Repurpose Shopping Canvas Totes for Candy Collecting
Lastly, be sure to swap out that obnoxious plastic jack-o-lantern for a reusable grocery tote or pillow case to use to collect candy. If you’re feeling really crafty, you can decorate the canvas totes and customize them with your name and a spooky character!
When Halloween has past, donate your costume to a local clothing drive or thrift store so that someone else can use it next year. Make sure your pumpkins end up in a compost pile, and don’t forget to remove decorations from trees and bushes and recycle whatever you can.