Compared to his favorite Halloween house that has a lawn full of inflatable witches, pirate ghosts, Frankenstein, and a giant grim reaper… I suppose our little skeletons sitting in a fall-themed wreath and one string of orange spider web LED lights is less than “spooktacular” in his eyes.
But how do you tell a child that conventional Halloween is harder to pull off when you’re trying to live more eco-consciously? Some of our Change the World Wednesday friends avoid it altogether because of all the “getting,” junk food, or their beliefs. Although conventional Christmas tends to be a consumerism fest, it at least provides an opportunity to show kids how wonderful it feels to give.
What is Halloween’s worthy cause?
Getting sugar into the hands of needy kids? The school lunch fruit cup is swimming in syrup, and it doesn’t take a holiday to warrant picking up a king size Kit-Kat in the grocery checkout. But like our friends over at Green Halloween, I’m convinced you can find a way to balance the fun of this holiday without all the frightful waste and overindulgence.
But back to the inflatables…
Our little guy still has stars in his eyes when he sees the giant black cat down the street. So I try to explain… “Yeah, they are cool and scary! But you know why most of the time they just stay in a heap on the yard? Because to keep them inflated, they have to run an electric pump all the time, and that wastes a lot of power and isn’t good for the earth.”
Feeling like I needed some backup, I asked on Twitter, “What do you think of inflatable lawn decorations for Halloween?” The answers were….
“Hideous, creepy, tacky,” from @kbhigh2u
“Not very much, bad idea,” from @BicycleBloke
@littleisland and I had a conversation about them, and she was kind enough to email me a longer quote: “I think inflatable decorations are quite tacky for any holiday; besides being “commercial” they are terrible for the environment and just end up being thrown out. Natural decorations are eco-friendly, absolutely lovely and bring in the true spirit of the season whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween.”
Eco Friendly Decorating Options
So we’ve established the inflatables are out. I remind our six-year old that he has a real black cat, and she’s the most authentic decoration of all.
What options do we have for keeping things green and still having a festive front walk on the big night? We look for ways to use things we already have for decorating — like our oldest son’s idea of dressing up our scarecrows (from years past), one as a dementor and the other in last year’s Harry Potter costume with “wand at the ready” for Expecto Partronum.
- Pumpkins (carved or not), gourds, straw, corn stalks
- Solar powered or LED lights
- Reusable decorations like the Halloween garland below or a “Boo” banner from Green Planet Parties
- Don’t buy new – head out to the thrift store to see what you can find for setting the mood at home. Things like candles, ghost or scarecrow parts, and gourds can often be found in these secondhand stores.
- Rather than buying once-a-year decorations that require storage, choose things that can be repurposed for something else after the event is over.
- Forgo one-use dishes and cups for treats and drinks and go for reusable, washable items instead to cut down on party waste.
If you are buying new items, look for eco-friendly characteristics like soy candles, recycled content streamers, and items that will be either compostable or recyclable when the party’s done.
Got more ideas to green your Halloween decorations? We’ll be sure to list them here! Let us know in the comments, or come tell us on Facebook.
The Greening Your Halloween Blog Carnival is encouraging bloggers to write about the big or small ways they are making an effort to make their halloween more eco-friendly. Costume swaps, making your own costumes, using reusable bags, reusing decorations, and rethinking candy are all ways that families can start to make a change. Want to participate? Write your post, share your tips and ideas and get Green!