Green Tip – Green Your Halloween

by Wendy Gabriel

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Ideal BiteChristopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

GREEN TIP: Have a fun, safe, healthy and green Halloween.

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. Let’s endevour to make it fun, safe, HEALTHY (or, at least, healthier) and GREEN this year.

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Instead create your own with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild. Once Upon A Child, for example, has gently-used costumes for sale.

More resources:
Last Halloween I blogged about making your own costumes, Make Your Halloween Green.
Jenn Savedge with Mother Nature Network has some great ideas for easy eco-costumes, Green Halloween costumes.
Greenfeet has some great ideas for a Green Halloween including some great homemade costume ideas.

The Treats:

Instead of unhealthy candy treats, hand out organic candies, pencils, stickers, crayons, fake tatoos or small toys.

More resources:
Beth Swanson at Kiwi Magazine unmasks The Scary Side of Halloween.
Halloween’s Hidden Impacts by Julie Starkel, MS, MBA, RD

The Trick or Treating Bags:

Your Trick or Treat bag could be anything. Use your imagination. You could use a bucket, purse, basket or cloth bag that you decorate to enhance your costume. For example, this year my littlest is going to be an adorable piggy (note: costume was a gift from Grandma for our oldest daughter many years ago). The treat “bag” she’ll be using is a little decorative silver bucket that we use for storage, it looks like a farmer’s feed bucket. Perfect.

The Decorations:

Use natural decorations like pumpkins, squash, gourds and hay bales. And when, for example, your pumpkin has done it’s duty as a jack-o-lantern, toss it in the compost bin. Or buy decorations that can be used year after year. You’ll save money and the environment.

My Green Side’s weekly website pick:

Green Halloween
Green Halloween is a program of Treeswing, a Seattle non-profit working to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Through innovative programs and partnerships, Treeswing improves the health of children and is working toward building generations of healthy, active communities. Learn more at

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  1. Alison Kerr’s avatar

    Thanks for the timely green tips. I love homemade costumes – most of the ones I see in the store are so unimaginative and “plastic”. For many years October was about the only time of year I got my sewing machine out. My kids used to take turns at getting an elaborate costume made for them. The other year, when it wasn’t their turn, they had to wear something imaginative but simple. Since I had to do a fair bit of work to make the costumes I designed some parts to be used as clothes afterward. The more elaborate costume parts went into our dressing up clothes box and were used over and over.

    My two favorite tips are to fabric paint a white t-shirt and to use quality face paints. It’s amazing what you can produce with some fabric paint and a little imagination; likewise with the face paint. I posted at my homeschooling blog today about some great books to use for Halloween:

    The books I wrote about are available from your local Usborne consultant or check for them at your library.

  2. Carole’s avatar

    It’s so great to be reminded that we don’t have to succumb to the “Hallmark holiday” notion that we need to spend a lot of money buying stuff that will only end up in a landfill. Thank you.


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