Thursday, October 9, 2008

Incorporating Sustainability Into Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite celebrations. But how can we make it more sustainable? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Parties - Decorate with LED lighting, don't use disposable plates, cups, and utensils, email your invitations, and support the farmer's market when purchasing pumpkins, apples, and food. Use your waste and recyclables (such as styrofoam, cardboard, tin cans, and other items) to create decorations.

  • Pass out Fair Trade chocolate - Fair Trade chocolates come from organically grown cocoa in rainforests around the world. Through Fair Trade practices, these chocolates benefit cooperatives and small family farms, allowing for a commitment of social justice as you make a direct contribution to the livelihood of the farmers and workers.

  • Skip the candy - pass out healthy food treats or non-food items, such as Halloween party favor bubbles, rings, erasers, temporary tattoos, etc.

  • Homemade costumes - instead of buying more stuff you don't really need, why not create a unique one-of-a-kind costume from materials you already have at home? If you must buy items for your costume, visit the resale and thrift shops. And be sure to skip the makeup and face paint.

  • Reverse trick-or-treat - as your children go door-to-door, they will pass out Fair Trade chocolate along with a card with information on problems faced by cocoa-growing communities, such as poverty, child labor and environmental degradation.

  • Donate candy - do your children really need to eat all that candy they collected? Donate your extra candy to foodbanks, schools, churches, shelters/agencies that work with children, Ronald McDonald houses, pediatric hospitals, nursing or veterans' homes, or Meals on Wheels.

  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF - as you go door-to-door, collect money for UNICEF that will be used to help children around the world.

  • Walk or go to a one-stop trick-or-treating site - if walking, make sure you have your BoGo flashlight (which donates one flashlight to those in the developing world for each one you purchase). Or go to a one-stop trick-or-treating location rather than driving around.

  • Green Halloween - organize, host, or attend a Green Halloween event in your community. "Think outside the candy box" and make Halloween something meaningful.

  • SightNight - participate in SightNight for the Gift of Sight Foundation and Lions Club International by collecting used eyeware during trick-or-treat.

  • Donate treats to the troops - donate your extra candy to one of the many organizations, dentists, or orthodontists that will send it to our troops.

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