Halloween leaves me Hollow


Remember when Halloween was simple and fun?

For the past couple of years I have noticed that Halloween paraphernalia is everywhere. You can’t hide  or run from the numerous goblins, ghost, jack-o’-lanterns, or witches.  They will track you down in your grocery stores, drug stores and garden stores.   They even have their own club in the name of “The Halloween Store.” Am I stuck in a  Freddie Krueger movie from September to  Halloween?

What amazes me is why do we need to have thousands of items to decorate our houses?  Some houses are decorated as much as they are for Christmas. Lights, pumpkins, scary music, and ghosts galore.  Halloween is definitely competing with Christmas for the amount of decorations used.

When I was a child, we had a pumpkin.  Period.  I am curious as to why Halloween has been elevated in status.  Is it because Halloween brings out the kids in us?  Do we define fun by how much we can buy to decorate our lives?  Is it all window dressing, readers?

Don’t get me wrong. Halloween is a lot of fun, but it has turned into such a commercial event. What happened to the joys of craving a pumpkin, making a home-made costume  based upon what was in the house, collecting money for UNICEFF, and rushing to the door to give out candy to greet those scary Halloween visitors?

Now, it has been replaced with globs of home decor items just for Halloween, store bought costumes ( you must have something different each year), and keeping up with the Jones to give out the best candy in the neighborhood.

I will never forgot one Halloween when my kids returned home from trick or treating, and proclaimed that so and so’s house was THE Trick or Treat house since they were giving out big chocolate bars. They vowed to return to that house again next Halloween.  Without missing a beat, they exclaimed, “they must be rich!”  They turned their noses up at the pencils or tooth brushes they were given. Chocolate was king and a Big Chocolate bars was a straight flush.

So, is it possible to have a fun, healthier, and greener Halloween minus all the commerical strings attached to this holiday?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Look around your house for ideas to make your costumes rather than buy a new one every year or revamp an old costume.  How? By accessorizing it!
  • Check out the article “Get up and Go” in Cookie, for some no sew new ideas ( via  Brain Fog Blog).  In addition, look for thrift store finds or swap costumes with friends. Heck, have a Halloween swap party for adult costumes as well.
  • Look for bulk organic candy at the stores such as organic lollipops( such as Pure fun or  Yummy Earth . I have tried both and they are great. ) Perhaps consider a package of organic popcorn. For additional organic treats, check out The Green Guides’ article. (Note, that it was written in 2005, so there may be additional organic candies to choose from.)
  • Check out DIY tips, organic treats, party ideas, and more via The Green Halloween site. This is a great site and is jam packed with ideas.
  • Start a collection at school for your child’s candy to be given to our US troops, shelter for kids who may not have a Halloween,  or other places in need.  In years past, I have donated the candy to children’s hospitals to give the kids a little treat.  Check out this story on how a Naples Dentist paid the kids $1 per pound of candy to help reduce tooth decay. In turn the candy was sent to our US Troops.
  • Give out pencils made out of scented reycled materials such as Smencils.  Doing homework might be fun again with these scented pencils.  (Okay, I am dreaming …)
  • Collect pennies for UNICEFF.   Start a collection with your girl or boy scout troop or school.  As a kid, I loved collecting pennies.
  • Make roasted pumpkin seeds from the inside of the pumpkins.  See a recipe here on BumpkinPumpkins.  When Halloween is over, cut up the Pumpkin and throw it in the composter.
  • Use an old pillowcase as a Halloween bag rather than buying a  new plastic one. I also keep old sturdy plastic bags that I received just for Halloween.
  • Use a LED tea light in lieu of a candle for inside your pumpkin.  You can reuse this tea light for years. You can purchase them here. If you like candles, use a non-GMO soy candle since they provide less soot and are not made of petroleum products like paraffin candles.
  • Make bats out of egg cartons (via Green and Clean Mom).
  • Make Tissue Ghosts to hang from your trees.  See how here.
  • The night before Halloween snuggle with your family and rent, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  I love that movie.  If you are into scary movies, then consider this list of the top 20 scariest movies.  Note these movies are  R-rated.
  • Take a family trip and  pick out your pumpkins at a local farm.  While you are there do a little apple picking.
  • Consider participating in Global Exchange’s  Reverse trick or treat campaign.  Organization must sign up by October 1 and individuals must sign up by October 13 in order to receive  fair trade chocolate to distribute to adults while trick or treating .  You only pay for the shipping. Each chocolate will have a message promoting the practice of fair trade in connection with the sale of chocolate. I have signed up as an individual to distribute 20 messages to my neighbors.

Readers, what ideas do you have to have a healthier, greener, Halloween without all the hype?

This post is part of the Green Moms’ carnival being featured this month at Green Bean Dreams. Take the time to visit all of the posts of my fellow “moms” and “dads,” for it will surely be a treat!

Photo by foundphotoslj

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  1. 1


    Thank you so much for including our site, http://www.GreenHalloween.org in your article! For some reason the link doesn’t seem to be working, though. I think this is the page you were suggesting:


    Also, I just wanted to let you know that we have a new site dedicated to all holidays and special occasions: http://www.celebrategreen.net.

    Thanks for the great post!

    Founder, Green Halloween

  2. 5


    I love these ideas. Both of my kids are looking at reusing costumes from previous years. Both homemade too. I’ve been having a bit of time getting my daughter to see where standing out from the usual store bought stuff can be fun, but I think she’s getting it.

    Stephanie – Green SAHMs last blog post..Planning My Fall Garden

  3. 6


    Let me begin by saying that we have a 10 by 6 storage room for our Halloween decorations. It is my wife’s favorite holiday and we have a huge party every year. Its the one time where you can be anything you want. I remember doing the tissue ghosts when I was a kid. Great list for green decorations.

    Charless last blog post..Monterey Auction

  4. 8


    Great post! Last year I gave out organic raisins and the kids LOVED them. I was shocked (my husband was sure we were going to get egged!) but everyone seemed genuinely happy to have a real snack to give them energy for trick-or-treating. Thanks for all of these great ideas to make Halloween even greener. Can’t wait to try them.

  5. 10


    It is so true! Suddenly, Halloween is as big here as Christmas. As many lights, decorations, fog machines. There used to be a house or two that did that but now it’s nearly every house. And make your own costumes? We’re going to give it a go for my son this year but I’m sure he’ll be the only one in his class not dressed in a made in China Sponge Bob costume.

    Green Beans last blog post..Three Tricks to Greener Treats

  6. 12

    Green Talk says

    No, but I did look like those kids back when I trick or treated. I gave attribution to the owner of the photo at the bottom of the post. Anna


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