Trick or treating has a frightening impact on the environment. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend upwards of $5 billion on the spooky celebration annually - that adds up to a lot of plastic masks, candy wrappers, and fake tombstones. Jodi Helmer, author of The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference, offers these tips for making the black and orange holiday a little more green.
1. Green the goodies: Think of all the candy wrappers that one little goblin throws in the trash, then multiply that number by the millions of trick-or-treaters who are happily gobbling up their stash. Offer organic apples from the farmers market or buy treats in bulk to minimize packaging waste.
2. Come up with a new costume: Skip the racks of colorful costumes at the mall (most of them are made of non-renewable materials like plastic) and come up with a creative idea for a homemade costume. Add a bandana to a pair of jeans and a denim shirt for an instant cowboy costume or put on your wedding dress and go as the Bride of Frankenstein. Or, host a costume swap with the neighbors. The costumes their kids have outgrown might be the perfect fit for your little one.
3. Choose natural decorations: Bails of straw, colorful mums and a handful of gourds are great seasonal decorations that can be composted on November 1. If scary witches hanging from the oak tree and plastic pumpkins on the front step are a must-have, scour secondhand stores.
The Green Year provides 365 simple and inexpensive eco-friendly ideas for each day of the year. Organized by date, the green living tips suggest small changes and environmentally friendly ideas that make a big green impact. The Green Year is more than a calendar. It offers practical, affordable, and engaging activities that help make going green a blessing rather than a burden.
JODI HELMER is a freelance writer from Charlotte, NC, who specializes in writing about eco-friendly topics. Her work has appeared in Plenty, Yoga Journal, Women's Health, Natural Solutions, Backpacker, Woman's Day, Family Circle and American Way. She is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Careers and a professional speaker who offers workshops on green issues. For more information, visit her Web site: www.green-year.com.