How to Stay Spooky, Sustainably
Halloween is right around the corner, and while it can be quite easy (and fun!) to sink into the decorating chaos, we should strive to keep in mind the environmental impact that even just one exciting day can have for our planet, and do our best to have fun in innovative ways that are cognizant of and try to limit any unnecessary waste. Here are some tips on how to limit waste this year while still staying true to the Halloween spirit (or spirits!)
- Reuse or revamp old decorations and give them a new life in new and interesting ways rather than throwing them away in favor of new ones or make your own decor from things you have around the house. Throw on a little paint and you can make some really cute decorations that nobody would know didn't come from the store! Here are a few links to come articles with some great examples of homemade or upcycled Halloween decorations, and a quick Google search will undoubtedly give you many more great sustainable ideas. (Note that J. H. Appleseed is in no way affiliated with these links nor do we benefit from them in any way, we just wanted to provide some fun & eco-friendly Halloween ideas without taking credit from anyone!)
- Shop for decorations at thrift stores, garage sales, or other second-hand marketplaces. As people's decorating tastes often change, you can find many very cheap or even free like-new decorations available around the holidays that people have cast off that could be perfect for your home. You'd be surprised what cute and good quality stuff is available if you pick your times right, at an even lower cost to both you and your environment. Since they're also cheaper, you may feel more free to experiment with them in new ways, paint them, or otherwise change them into decorations that truly fit your aesthetic.
- Reuse your old costumes in new exciting ways or accessorize new ones with things from home. Even if you don't make the whole thing yourself (because honestly, who has that sort of time anymore?) you can reuse old costumes as new characters or reuse old accessories, pieces of clothing, or some old face paint rather than buying that extra headband or belt that happens to match the costume when you have plenty like it at home. Were you or your daughter a princess one year, but you'll never use the costume again? Try adding some fake blood and a few rips to make a horrifying zombie ballerina. A little devil in red? Try a modern take on little red riding hood. There are plenty more ideas like this, and again a quick Google or a few minutes of thought can surely come up with some more great suggestions. Click here for one good article I found with some simple examples.
- Take advantage of like-new secondhand costumes because while other used clothes may be a little worn, we can expect that most of these costumes (especially children's costumes) have only really ever been worn one time, for one Halloween, and are definitely in good enough condition to wear again. While we would never want to ostracize our kids and expose them to taunts over old or used costumes, many of these costumes available on Facebook Marketplace or similar sources are truly like-new and your child (or others) will never know the difference. And you can save some money as well as the planet! Not only are you saving the unnecessary production of a whole new costume and all of the materials and waste that entails, but you are also saving one of those big heavy duty plastic bags they all seem to come in. Since they will also be much cheaper than new costumes (which can be really annoyingly expensive for some reason) you can also have more liberty to cut them up or alter them to your needs, adding or taking away bits to truly customize your costumes to your personality.
- Do what you can do boost the sustainability aspect of your holiday parties so you can still celebrate with your friends in fun & spooky ways without any of the accompanying guilt. Use reusable plates and cutlery to avoid all of the plastics and wax-coated (non-recyclable) paper products. Don't want to deal with all of the dishes? Try some recycled, recyclable, or compostable party supplies like found here or similar to minimize your waste. Try composting your food waste, make sure to seal up leftovers before they go bad and actually eat them or give them to people who will, and of course, always make sure to recycle what you can.
- BUY IN BULK, whether it be decorations like streamers and balloons or even Halloween face paint, buy in larger sizes if you know that you will want to use it again next year or for your next party. Buying in bulk will not only save you money but can also significantly reduce the amount of wasteful plastic packaging that you are paying for. If you use balloons for every party, get that 100 pack rather than the 50. If you're always buying signs and banners, splurge for some reusable chalkboards or letter boards that you can customize and reuse for each gathering. Even candy, if you plan on letting kids take 2 or 3 pieces each, then why not spring for the full-size bars? The kids will be ecstatic and you'll save the extra wrapper waste from all of the minis.
I hope you like these tips and find them helpful, make sure to share if you do! Stay tuned for another article coming soon with a sustainable gifting/holiday guide!