Despite warmer temperatures, fall is already upon us, and that means the holidays are just around the corner. First in line is Halloween, which is a great opportunity for incorporating sustainable ideals into costumes, decorations and celebrations.
ECO-FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS
Jack-o-Lantern: Skip the grocery store varieties, and purchase pumpkins and other decorative gourds from a local farm or farmers market instead. Remember that you can make a healthy snack by scooping out and separating the seeds from the juicy membranes and roasting them at 300 degrees with some salt, garlic, or other seasonings for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to compost the rest of the flesh you remove as well. If you'd rather make decorations that can be reused year after year, try Crafting a Green World's directions for creating a solar jack-o-lantern.
Spooky Lights: Take advantage of Halloween's frightful shadows, and keep your house as dark as possible. Use solar lanterns to light the way to your door, purple or orange colored LED light strands to decorate fences or porch railings, and colored CFL's can temporarily replace your normal porch light for a ghoulish glow. Another idea for spooky lights is to save a few tin cans, like those used for canned vegetables and fruit. After removing any labels and lids, and washing the cans, use a large nail and a hammer to punch holes in the shape of a bat, a witch hat, jack-o-lantern face, or other design. Paint the cans black or orange, and place a soy tea light in each to create a flickering lantern.
Scarecrow: Nothing greets Halloween better than a lumpy scarecrow by the door. Rake up piles of dry leaves and yard clippings for the stuffing, and use old clothing for the scarecrow's costume. Pumpkin or a piece of used cardboard decorated and used as a face. Get creative and experiment with different funny outfits for your scarecrow, or consider creating an appropriately-sized scarecrow for each member of your family! When the holiday is over, simply compost the stuffing and wash the clothes.
DIY ECO-FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Your local thrift store is a treasure trove when it comes to finding affordable, eco-friendly Halloween costumes for every member of your family. Remember to be creative, and keep it simple. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Tree: Wear brown pants/skirt and shoes with a green shirt. Put leaves, vines, twigs, flowers or paper birds in your hair. Pin a sign that says "hug me" on your shirt. Now everyone can be a "tree hugger!"
Super Hero: Color-coordinated tights, shorts, a cape and a mask are all you need to be the next savior of the universe. Paint or sew a colorful emblem on your shirt that explains what you save!
Mummy: Rip an old white sheet into strips, the more ragged edges the better. Wrap them around the head, chest, and limbs, securing each long strip with a safety pin. Dust any exposed skin or hair with baby powder to give it a "mummified look."
What other DIY Halloween costumes orEco decorations have you made in the past? Share your ideas in a comment!
Beth Buczynski is a freelance copy writer and environmental blogger. She holds a Master's in Public Communication and Technology with specialization in Environmental Communication from Colorado State University, and is passionate about leaving this planet in better shape than she found it.