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