Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eco-ize your Halloween

The night of spooks and boogymen is almost upon us! Halloween is the candy-lover's oyster, and the one night of the year it's okay to invite random kids to your doorstep with the lure of tootsie pops and chocolate bars! Children love it for the excuse to pig out on candy, despite shudders from their dentists, as well as for seeking out that perfectly hideous costume to go out Trick-or-Treating in. The older set still get to enjoy the festivities with their own parties and costumes; which brings about the question: how can one throw a green Halloween bash? Here's how to keep an ethical impact in mind while hosting this year!

1.) The ultimate eco-friendly party starts, as with any other, in the delivery of the invites. Snail mail and the paper it wastes is so passe, so take your party into the current millennium and send e-vites! Go online to create wickedly fun invitations to send to your guests; you'll save on stamps and save the trees too!

2.) Next comes the decor, so forget plunking down a bunch of money on store-bought ghosts and ghouls, and instead use what you've got on hand. Bust out those Crayola's, scissors, and paper bags or scrap paper, and with a little creative energy, cut out black cats, vampires, and other Halloween staples to hang about the room. Of course what party wouldn't be complete without the pumpkins? So pick them up at a local farmer's market along with some gourds and apples to add to the ambiance. You can even strategically sprinkle candy and other edible goodies around for a splash of color.

3.) Use all of that pumpkin! You've carved that Jack-o-Lantern and filled his belly with a soy candle (wax ones release toxic chemicals) but what to do with all that scooped out pulp and seeds? Well, bake those seeds and later serve them as snacks, and add the rest to the compost pile.

4.) Eco-style that costume. Don't spend a fortune on a cheap looking plastic Elvira get-up; take the same ingenuity you applied to the decorating and use it to create your costume. If you've simply got nothing to use, head to Goodwill or another consignment shop. And remember, making a ghost can be as easy as simply cutting some holes in an old sheet!

5.) Cater to a greener Earth. Provide some delicious grub to your party-goers on reusable utensils and in recyclable paper cups. Use cloth tablecloths, and there are plenty of Halloween inspired ones sold at stores and online that won't break the bank if you don't already have a suitable one.

6.) Send those kids (and young at heart) out with an awesome Trick-or-Treat bag! Ditch those plastic collection bags and tubs, and instead recycle what you've already got. Take a paper bag and decorate it with a Halloween theme, or use a recyclable cloth bag and throw some paint on it.

7.) As for the sweets themselves, do your best to stick with 'healthier' options, or at least go organic. There are candy companies that sell their products in wrappers and packaging that can later be turned to compost instead of added to a landfill. Not only that, but you'll be passing on ingredients and preservatives so long and complex you can't even pronounce them! For your party, you can serve up fresh and dried fruits, popcorn, and serve apple cedar.

You will you be saving a lot of money by passing on the plastic decorations, expensive costumes, and the rest of it, and by throwing your Halloween party as green as possible, will be applying the same ethical impact you strive to achieve in the rest of your life. Happy spooking!

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