Easy Tips to Green Your Halloween

Halloween should be scary for the right reasons. But the waste generated by this celebration is altogether a different cause for fright. The store-bought costumes, individually wrapped treats, toxic glow sticks and spider web sprays, and disposable decorations made of plastic and vinyl, to name a few Halloween staples, make this holiday a landfill’s nightmare!  Here are a few easy tips to green your Halloween so you can reduce waste, protect your child’s health with non-toxic products, and leave a less spooky ecological footprint. 1.  Make a costume and win big for creativity and uniqueness Many store-bought costumes are made with heavily-processed materials and plastics, and are often only worn for one night. Vinyl (a.k.a.the poison plastic) is often incorporated into store bought costumes. Instead, try brainstorming for ways to create a costume from homemade materials. This will also allow for a more creative character and costume such as a vampire jack-in-the-box, a ‘random’ character, or a tooth fairy ghost. The imagination can run wild with scissors, fabric and a cardboard box! 2.  Choose candies that are healthier and/or wrapped in recyclable or biodegradeable packaging There’s little doubt that the Halloween garbage pile of wrappers, chip bags and plastics has not evolved much through the decades, despite our growing green conscience. To reduce your part in this year’s Halloween waste pile, try finding treats, such as Smarties, that are packaged in cardboard or other recyclable materials. Or, if you would prefer to skip the treats altogether, why not offer your trick-or-treaters a treasure? Stickers, international coins, gemstones, sea shells, hockey cards, tattoos, colored dice, or other small items may prove to be a novelty, and solve the packaging problem. If you are a traditionalist and still want to offer candies, there are several healthier choices on the market (not including the aptly named, Toxic Waste candies!). Look for candies that are organic or that are sweetened with fruit juice and have no preservatives, such as fruit strips and rolls, organic crispy rice bars, other healthy snack bars, honey sticks or sesame snaps. 3.  Use non-toxic products for make-up and hairsprays To avoid the heavy metals or other harmful ingredients that can be found in Halloween make-up, try making your own face paints and hair dyes. Kool Aid crystals will do a nice job of temporarily streaking hair bright colors, no toxic spray needed! As for face paints and fake blood, check caelusgreenroom.com for their easy recipe suggestions. A bit of cornstarch, food coloring, corn syrup and liquid dish soap is all you will need to transform your little ones into a princess or pirate. 4.  Use natural decorations Dollar store decorations literally litter the neighborhoods of North America on Halloween night. For a more natural exterior décor, consider decorating with nature. Haystacks, dried corn arrangements, cornstalks, scarecrows, and of course jack-o-lanterns make an enticing Halloween outdoor décor. For a spooky interior, try a black light, black gauze or cheesecloth webbing, and some downloaded Halloween tracks. A cackle or two wouldn’t hurt either. 5.  Stay safe without the glow sticks The need to be seen on the streets after dusk has given rise to wasteful disposable glow sticks. This year, opt for reflector tape that can be re-used again and again, and hand-cranked or solar-powered flashlights. A few conscious choices to use non-toxic and less wasteful products this Halloween can really help celebrate the things that go bump in the night without adding more to this already high impact holiday. ### EcoSmart Products is the North American distributor of AusPen non-toxic, refillable markers: eliminating toxins, reducing waste and saving money associated with dry-erase markers. http://www.ecosmartworld.com

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