When I was a little girl Halloween costumes that were store-bought were a luxury that not everyone could afford, or wanted. More often than not, your costumes were made by your mom or grandmother; the “treats” were homemade cookies, popcorn balls, and maybe some store-bought candy like lollipops when you were lucky. When I was a girl I always wanted those store-bought costumes or candies because they were the exception to the rule… not anymore.
Halloween has become a top American consumer holiday in the last three decades; the National Retail Federation just posted an article (Ghouls and Ghosts Galore, 158 Million People to Celebrate Halloween This Year, According to NRF) about the expected consumer spending on Halloween for 2013. “with the average celebrant expected to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy and fun… Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.”
Over $6.9 BILLION is spent on Halloween now? Is this really the way our holidays have become… entirely store-bought consumer-driven operations with nothing being handmade, homemade or sustainable???
Well this isn’t how I think Halloween has to be… and there are ways that YOU CAN HELP!
Yes, we all want to celebrate Halloween with unique costumes, great decorations and yummy food and we all can do this while being more environmentally conscious. Lets take the three biggest ways money is spent and waste is generated for Halloween… Candy, Costumes and Decorations, and let’s turn the Halloween cycle back to one that is homemade-with-love and sustainable-for-a-reason this month!
First, Candy… with all the candy that is sold by the Super-Size-Me packages at every store from the grocery stores to the local pharmacy to even your neighborhood convenience store… here are some options for a more sustainable candy option.
Store bought packages of candy…
- -instead try- making cupcakes, cookies or candy for home parties
- -instead try- buying treats made by local businesses!
- -instead try- buying or printing off paper coupons from local restaurants/stores (avoid plastic gift cards)
Second, Costumes… there are now a myriad of places to purchase costumes from online to almost any retail store that sells fashion… here are some better options for making a unique and wonderful costume instead this Halloween!
-instead try- shopping your local thrift store, and reusing already made/bought costumes so that they have multiple life cycles! Besides, thrift stores often support nonprofits and give back to the communities around you AND they often have wonderful and unique ideas for creating a costume that are specialized to fit YOUR PERSONALITY! Don’t be the 13th Zombie at the party… stand out in your own way!
-instead try- making your own costume! Try purchasing crafty and artistic-based costumes or accessories for your costumes from local artisans on places like Etsy.com. Just give yourself some time to create your masterpiece, buy the items or find them in the thrift stores or on Etsy.com and try using as many pieces of your costume that are upcycled and/or can be recycled afterwards!
Third, Decorations. I know, I know… you want your office cubical, home or dorm to win the Halloween prize and all those super-cute Pumpkins at your local store look so tempting! But what’s wrong with making your own Halloween decorations out of found, upcycled or even NATURAL items?!
-instead try- shopping at your local thrift store, again try and support those nonprofits that you believe in AND the stores often save their Halloween items all year long and if you get there early enough in the month you will get great items for a lower cost over brand new retail!
-instead try- making your own! Try using old torn bed sheets, finding or salvaging old sticks or pieces of wood and paint them for signage, maybe even go out and pick some real fall-colored leaves or go have fun at a local pumpkin patch with your family or friends and pick up those pumpkins for your party decorations! You will find that just by making your Halloween more NATURAL you will be making memories!
For more ways to GREEN your HALLOWEEN try some ideas from these wonderful websites!