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20 Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Halloween Celebration

Americans have many great holidays and holiday traditions including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Many of us celebrate these holidays by decorating, having parties, giving gifts, and traveling to be with family members. Americans love our holiday celebrations and they wouldn’t be the same without the long-standing accompanying traditions like turkey on Thanksgiving, trick-or-treating on Halloween, or Christmas lights on Christmas. However, most of our holiday traditions and customs result in a lot of excess consumption and other activities that have an adverse impact on the environment. One of my favorite holidays, Halloween, is right around the corner and our celebrations of this great fall holiday will have a large adverse impact on the environment. It is estimated that Americans spend over $6.5 billion dollars on Halloween each year. Most of this money is spent on candy and Halloween costumes. Although much of the candy is presumably consumed, the candy packaging is not and many of the costumes will be disposed. These are just two small examples of the environmental impact of Halloween. We are not advocating that we do away with Halloween candy or Halloween costumes; however, there is a lot we all can do to limit the impact our Halloween celebration has on the environment.

In recent years several organizations have been created to help consumers find ways to reduce the environmental impact of their holiday celebrations. While there are several that focus on Christmas, there are few (if any) besides GreenHalloween.org which focus entirely on minimizing the environmental impact of Halloween. I recently spoke with Corey Colwell-Lipson, the founder and director of GreenHalloween.org, and asked her what people can do to minimize the environmental impact of their Halloween celebrations. Here is a list of 20 things you can do to have a Green Halloween®:

  1. Swap costumes with someone rather than buying a new costume. This is a great idea and one of our favorite Green Halloween Tips.
  2. Purchase your costume, or its components from your local thrift shop.
  3. Use LED Halloween lights to decorate instead of incandescents.
  4. Collect candy in a reusable container rather than a disposable bag. Or better yet, make a fun project for your kids by having them make their own Halloween bag out of reusable or recyclable items you have around the house.
  5. When trick-or-treating, walk, instead of driving door to door.
  6. Carry a shakable or hand-crank LED flash light instead of one that is battery powered.
  7. Make your own Halloween face paints.
  8. Give away one piece of candy instead of handfuls.
  9. Purchase an organic pumpkin.
  10. Buy your pumpkin from a local farmer.
  11. Purchase an edible variety of pumpkin and paint, instead of carving the pumpkin. Then bake and eat the pumpkin when Halloween is done.
  12. Roast & eat your pumpkin seeds instead of tossing them.
  13. Use 100% beeswax or soy candles in your jack-o-lantern instead of paraffin candles.
  14. Give away healthier alternatives to conventional candy.
  15. Compost your leftover candy.
  16. Donate your leftover candy to troops overseas.
  17. Compost your pumpkin.
  18. Make crafts out of candy wrappers.
  19. Pack décor away carefully so that it can be reused next year.
  20. Text “Boo 5” to 27138 to donate $5 to support the Green Halloween® initiative.

In an effort to support the initiatives of GreenHalloween.org and promote a more environmentally friendly Halloween, HolidayLEDs.com is sponsoring a Green Halloween pledge drive. Any one can participate in the pledge drive and its very simple. All you have to do to participate is commit to taking at least five specific actions this Halloween that will lessen the impact your Halloween celebration has on our planet. You can simply select five items from our list our come up with your own. Once you have decided what actions you will pledge to do this Halloween go online and complete our pledge form submission to confirm your pledge. Each person who makes the Green Halloween Pledge will receive one entry in a drawing to win a $150 gift certificate from HolidayLEDs.com. Participants can earn additional entries in the drawing by helping us promote the initiative and reporting those in their initial submission. For example, a participant will be given an additional entry by sharing the post about this initiative on FaceBook or other social media. Those who are interested should visit our Green Halloween Pledge page to learn about all the details of the contest. The pledge drive will begin on October 1, 2010 and submissions will not be accepted after October 29th. The winner of the $150 gift will be selected on November 1, 2010.