Have a Lean, Green Halloween

EnviroGirlHalloween This year Americans are expected to spend $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes for adults, children and pets. Total spending – including candy and decorations – is expected to reach $6.9 billion.  That’s about $75.03 per household spent on costumes, decorations, candy and miscellaneous crappe. Now, much of the candy will get eaten, many of the costumes will get recycled, but a lot of packaging and excess stuff will end up in landfills. While Enviro Girl doesn’t consider herself a holiday Scrooge, she won’t spend the national average on Halloween. Consuming less and spending less can make Halloween a greener holiday.

For starters, Enviro Girl’s family will recycle costumes. Instead of buying a brand new concoction of nylon/vinyl/plastic from a Big Box Store, Enviro Girl and her family will raid the toy bin and their own closets to create costumes for trick-or-treating and parties. Enviro Girl will use lipstick and eyeliner on her sons to give them zombie/football player/vampire faces. One son will raid his brothers’ closets and use an old wig to go as Si from Duck Dynasty.  They’ll use glue, thread and safety pins to patch together their various accessories and get creative reusing stuff out of their garage and basement. Team Testosterone will go trick-or-treating using the same canvas bags they’ve used for the past five Halloweens, no need to buy treat bags or buckets.

Enviro Girl grew her own fall decorations–lots of pumpkins and gourds. She and her sons made some bats and other spooky creatures out of construction paper, paint and old egg cartons. Many websites have great ideas on how to brew up your own, unique Halloween decorating on the cheap. An old white sheet can make ghosts to hang from tree branches or drape in front of windows. Lumber can be re-purposed to create gravestones.  White chalk can outline cadavers on the driveway or etch skulls on framed photographs. Enviro Girl even filled old canning jars with beets and carrots from her garden–adding some colored water made them look like eerie science experiments. Check out Family Fun Magazine or Martha Stewart for more cheap decorating ideas.

Halloween is not for gifts–there’s no need to spend money on trifles and trinkets. The objective for this holiday is to get your spook on and raid the neighborhood for treats. To this end, Enviro Girl will give no presents–her sons will contribute home-baked goods to their classroom parties and she’ll hand out candy to the little ghouls and goblins on the front porch come Halloween night. They’ll attend a Halloween party where people will dance and play goofy games while wearing costumes. They’ll carve pumpkins and bake cookies. They’ll watch a mildly frightening movie (or two). On the consumption and waste scale, these activities rank fairly low.

Enviro Girl will spend about $30 on Halloween shopping this year–exclusively on candy and recipe ingredients, consumable goods that leave change in Enviro Girl’s pocket. Treading light on the planet means consuming less so you throw away less. You can spend less and use less while keeping Halloween fun, spooky and thrilling.

Tell us, reader. What will you spend on Halloween this year? Can you match Enviro Girl’s $30?

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4 thoughts on “Have a Lean, Green Halloween

  1. I can match it! We’re not spending ANYTHING! Of course my kids are grown so that makes it much easier! I’m also not giving out candy anymore because in our area the trick or treaters have changed from cute little kids to mostly groups of greedy adults with a token baby who shouldn’t be eating candy anyways. It’s sad.

  2. I can match or come close to matching, but it’s not really fair. My “kids” are too old to go trick or treating, so costumes aren’t an issue. Maybe. Daughter (now 26) occasionally gets invited to a grown-up Halloween party, in which case she makes a costume from Goodwill and her sewing machine.

  3. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to match the $30. My girls are working on their costume ideas and want to hit the thrift shop for bits and bobs, but I told them that I needed for them to list all the components to their costumes, then figure out what we have and what we can make. Hopefully, once they’re done with all that, the list won’t be too long.

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