Close to 35 million children in the US head out to trick-or-treat every Halloween. Halloween costumes are big business, and there’s no better time to grab fun-sized versions of your favorite candy.
It’s no secret that Halloween is a favorite holiday for many, and one of the most fun to get into when it comes to decorations. However, with all the candy wrappers and cottony wisps of fake cobwebs, Halloween is also a pretty wasteful holiday.
While some waste may be unavoidable — you want those individually wrapped Butterfingers — there are ways to elevate the holiday to a little bit of a greener place. Here’s how.
1. Recycle a costume
Nobody wants to be the same thing this year they were last year for Halloween, but wearing something only once is pretty wasteful. If you can’t mix and match old costumes to create something totally new, consider hosting a costume swap in your neighborhood. Bring together people in your community who are also experiencing a costume conundrum and swap. Then, add your own flair to your “like” new costume to make it your own.
2. Replace masks with face paint
Since most masks are made from plastic or rubber and frequently go into the trash by the end of the night, consider a more environmentally friendly alternative. If you don’t mind wearing it, replace face coverings with actual face paint. Look for products that don’t contain lead or other harmful toxins and are cruelty-free.
3. Make your own fake blood
The fake blood you buy in the store is packed full of chemicals. You also end up with more containers to either throw away or recycle. Instead, use ingredients you most likely already have at home to create your own, non-toxic recipe. There are a lot of recipes out there, but one of the easiest has only three ingredients — corn syrup, chocolate syrup, and red food coloring.
To make, combine a cup of corn syrup with two tablespoons of chocolate syrup. Add in red food coloring until you turn the mixture a deep red color, probably between 6-10 drops. That’s it. Since this is edible fake blood you can incorporate it into your makeup and even drizzle it on snacks at your own Halloween party.
4. Go au-naturel with your decor
While a pumpkin is the ultimate, all-natural Halloween decoration, many other components of your spooky decor may not be. You can make most decorations yourself though with materials around your home. Things like cardboard boxes and old sheets can quickly transform into a set of headstones and a creepy hanging ghost. You can create your own spider web and spiders with some black yarn and pipe cleaners, which create far less waste than what you’d buy at a Halloween store. Empty milk jugs can transform into ghostly sidewalk lights too. All you need is a sharpie to draw the face and battery-operated lights to put inside.
And, while we’re on the topic of lights, reconsider using a single-use candle in your jack-o-lantern. You can get reusable tea lights that will last through many spooky Halloween evenings.
5. Get locally grown pumpkins
When it comes to pumpkins, around Halloween, they’re everywhere. This includes your grocery store, but there’s no guarantee those orange beauties were grown nearby. They could have traveled far, racking up a large carbon footprint in transport. Supporting local growers, by visiting a pumpkin patch in your own community, or at a local farm, means less waste was created getting it to your doorstep.
6. Reuse your candy bag
Although Halloween stores will sell one-off candy bags, made of flimsy plastic, it’s more fun to design your own bag that you can use year after year. Take old pillowcases and a few paint pens and get creative. Pillowcases can hold a ton of candy too, so your kids will be happy to designate one as their trick-or-treating bag.
7. Offer alternatives to single-serve treats
Candy is a sensitive subject as it relates to this holiday, but if the local kids won’t trick you for handing out an alternative to lollipops and two-bite pieces of chocolate candy, go for it. You can offer up items like pencils, Halloween-themed erasers, or temporary tattoos. Anything that leaves behind less waste than those pieces of candy makes a difference.
If candy must stay on the list, look into options made from natural ingredients by companies that are already positively contributing to the environment. Supporting businesses that are taking things in a greener direction is a great way to green up Halloween as well.
A greener Halloween while on the go
It’s also possible to keep things green during Halloween, and all year round, when you need to leave home. As you drive to that local pumpkin patch or head out to a Halloween party or two, you can keep things green by fueling up at SpeedyQ Markets. Thanks to the DRIVE™ program, 30 percent of your car’s emissions are offset through SpeedyQ’s investment in certified carbon offset projects.
If, while you’re filling your tank, you run into the store to refuel yourself with a hot or cold drink, SpeedyQ offsets the carbon footprint of all their hot and cold cups as well.
As you create a greener Halloween, you can fuel up your car and refuel yourself all at once, and each act is simultaneously environmentally-friendly.