When we were kids, my sister and I had some of the most original costumes on the block. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but that didn’t stop our parents from creating some truly awesome Halloween costumes. A big part of the costume process, was finding items from around the house and incorporating them into the costume. Coming up with costume ideas and then being able to participate in the making of those costumes was a ton of fun, and a creative way to spend a little family time together. If you happen to be interested in having some fun creating green Halloween costumes with your kids this year, check out this article from Seventh Generation, which has a few ideas for costumes made from recycled materials.
A Green Halloween: Kids Costumes from Recycled Materials
From fall foliage to pumpkin picking, October is always an exciting month. With all of that fun, the days seem to pass by a little too quickly, and next thing you know, Halloween night is right around the corner! We’ve found some easy, adorable costume ideas made from recycled materials that are sure to have your little ones be the talk of the neighborhood.
Created out of recycled boxes and paint, this tutorial features step-by-step instructions with photos, creating a WALL-E version that may me more adorable than the original. No empty boxes around? This dad found his supplies out behind his office.
With a little imagination, Oh Happy Day shows us how to turn brown craft paper and cardboard into the perfect garden critter costume. Instructions for both the shell with a headband of antennas, this snail is sure to stand out!
Penny of Mother Natured gives a step-by-step tutorial for creating bat wings from an umbrella – perfect for recycling a broken umbrella you may still have tucked away. Pair with black clothing and this bat is ready to spook its way throughout the neighborhood.
This Thursday, the streets will be full of ghosts, witches, monsters, and just about anything else you can imagine. Halloween is a time to scare and be scared. Let’s face it, when else is it acceptable to wear tattered clothes stained in blood while wielding an axe? Unfortunately, the real scary stuff comes after the candy, costumes and parties………the clean-up! Luckily, the good people at Enviro Maids, have some tips on how to tackle the post-Halloween mess.
Cleaning up after Halloween
Ghouls and goblins aren’t the only things that’ll give you a fright this Halloween. After a night of trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and mischief (thanks to the neighborhood kids egging your house) you’ll be left with the frightening task of cleaning up after the festivities are over. With the help of House Logic and All You, we’ll show you how to get rid of the sticky wax, glittery makeup, rolls of toilet paper and more. Luckily all you need is a little elbow grease and products that you probably already have on hand. Now that’s our idea of a treat!
Candles help create the dimly-lit, spooky mood associated with Halloween. But once you blow out the candles and turn on the lights, you may have to deal with the horror of wax drippings. Remove wax from carpeting by first waiting until it’s completely hardened; carefully scrape as much wax as you can with a dull knife. To remove remaining wax, place a flat piece of paper bag on the waxy area and smooth a warm iron over the paper bag that’s covering the stain. The wax should transfer to the paper bag.
To remove candle wax spills from wood furniture or floors, avoid using a knife as the blade can scratch the wood. A safer way is to soften the wax using a hairdryer set to medium heat. When the wax starts to melt, wipe it off with a soft cloth. Finish by wiping the area with a white vinegar and warm water solution.
Glitter is a must-have accessory when putting on the finishing touches to a fairy princess costume. But once you’ve put your little one’s princess costume away, you begin to regret your decision to use glitter since it’s still showing up everywhere. Just when you think you’ve tackled all the glitter, the sparkling bits seem to reappear out of nowhere. Vacuum up as much glitter you can, using a soft brush attachment to vacuum furniture. To pick up any remaining sparkles, roll a lint rollerball or some mailing tape over the sparkly areas.
One of the most common sights of Halloween are the tree-lined front yards “decorated” with endless ribbons of toilet paper. If your yard has been TP’d, try to remove the toilet paper as soon as possible. Toilet paper that becomes wet from dew or rainfall is painstakingly challenging to remove. If the toilet paper is already damp, wait until it’s dry before attempting removal. To reach toilet paper high up in a tree, use a rake to scrape it down, or a leaf blower to blow it free from the branches. Another method is to wrap duct tape around a stick (sticky side up) and use it for hard to reach areas.
Perhaps the most burdensome task of all Halloween cleanups is egg removal. The key to successfully removing egg from the siding of your house is to act fast. Once dried, the caked-on mess sticks like glue to the surface, making it much more difficult to remove. Never use hot water, as hot water will cook the egg making it stick to the surface. Point the nozzle of a hose above the splattered mess to carefully flush the egg down the siding. If eggs are already stuck on, place a rag soaked in half water, half vinegar on the area for about 15 minutes; rinse. For stubborn stains, a power washer and a solution of one part warm water, one part white vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent is your best ally.
Last week we talked about some eco-friendly Halloween costume ideas. These were costumes that could be homemade, or costumes that didn’t use things that weren’t biodegradable, like plastic masks and synthetic wigs. It’s just as important to think about the environment when you’re decorating your home for Halloween as well. Luckily, there are plenty of environmentally friendly decoration ideas for this spooky holiday. Here are a few ideas and tips to help cut back on some the waste, but none of the fun, this Halloween.
“Jack-O-Lantern”- Yes, one of the most popular and oldest Halloween decorations is also one of the most eco-friendly. The whole family can enjoy creating their own spooky or silly pumpkin carving. And, when it’s time to dispose of the rotting pumpkins, you can simply use them for mulch.
“Straw, Corn Stalks and Gourds”- Just like the Jack-o-lantern, these decorations really give your home a nice old-fashioned Halloween vibe. They are also all natural, and can be disposed of in the very same way as the pumpkins.
“Reuse”- Instead of going out and purchasing new decorations, use what you already have tucked away in boxes from previous years. If you do have to buy decorations, try buying them from a secondhand store. Not only will this save you money, it’s also lessening waste.
“Candles”- Set the Halloween mood by lighting home with candles. Not only will this allow you to cut back on some electricity used in certain rooms but it also gives your home a nice spooky glow.
“LED Lights”- If you decide you want to string up lights as part of your decoration, try using solar powered LED lights instead of traditional holiday lights. They use far less energy and are just as effective.
“DIY Decorations”- If you’re feeling creative and want to have some fun with the family, have everyone create their own decoration using just their imagination and whatever is lying around the house or the backyard.
With Halloween just two weeks away, it’s time for both children and adult to start thinking about what they want to be this year. I always loved Halloween, and still do, it’s a blast trying to outdo your friends on who can come up with the most outrageous or ridiculous costume. I always try to go for laughs instead of screams when it comes to my Halloween costumes, but whether you’re out for laughs or out to scare, you don’t have to use products that are harmful to the environment or break the bank. Here’s an article from GreenYour, with some tips for eco-friendly and cost efficient Halloween costume ideas.
Dress up with an eco-friendly costume
Don’t give the earth a reason to scream. Finding or making your eco-friendly costume is not as scary as you might think.
Ideas for an eco-friendly costume
Warm up your wand and get ready to summon up some magical Halloween costumes, the green way:
Shazam! Costumes on the cheap: Go to a secondhand store, pick up some used clothing for an inexpensive version of Tarzan or Jane and you’ll prevent new resources from being used to create virgin apparel. When you’re done, simply re-donate the clothing so that someone else can use it next Halloween.
Pow! Transformational magic: There are many ways to create your own costume using items found around the house. While you can certainly sew your own (with or without a pattern) from eco-fabrics like bamboo, organic cotton, silk, or hemp, making one from closet-bound items is a great way to recycle, and low-cost, too! Look for supplies in the attic, your junk drawer, seasonal closets, the toolbox, or even kitchen cupboards.
Why not convert that old prom or bridesmaid dress into something more festive, like Tinkerbelle?
Stockings stuffed with socks make great spider or turtle legs
Grab a black cape and add a scarf, a tree branch (for a wand), and glasses to turn your 12 year old into Harry Potter
Poof! Recycling box to the rescue: Don’t forget that there are costumes-in-the-making in your recycle bin. Use boxes,cans, bottles, tissue paper, milk jugs, and plastic bags to make a fire truck, cotton candy, or a candy bar outfit. Don’t forget the masks!
Kawabunga, Dude! Costume rentals: Renting allows you to dress up in a a high-end costume without creating any new waste. And although renting from a local costume shop is better (in terms of transport emissions) than having something shipped from several states away, if there are no local rental stores near you, Costume Holiday House, Costumes Galore, Boston Costume, and Children’s Party Productions all offer nationwide delivery.
With Halloween just days away, I’m sure many of you have already got your costumes, decorations, and treats for the kids. If you still have yet to do so, however, here are a few helpful tips from EarthShare on how to have a happy, healthy Halloween this year.
Tips to have a green Halloween
Like many of our holidays, Halloween can be an expensive and wasteful experience. Don’t let the commercialism take all the fun or eco-friendly opportunities out of it! Check out our simple tips to make sure you don’t spook Mother Nature this October. Want more ideas? Visit our friends at Green Halloween®, a nonprofit community initiative aimed at creating healthier and more Earth-friendly holidays.
Green Halloween Costumes
Consider reusing or recycling costumes from previous years to make new costumes, or recycling old clothing into new costumes. Before you set out your paper recycling, set aside cardboard boxes and large pieces of paper that you can use to fashion costumes. Instructions for great handmade costumes can be found at places like craftzine and The Daily Green.
This Halloween, make a green Halloween costume box and throw old clothes, interesting props and other recyclable materials into it throughout the year. By next Halloween, you’ll have lots of eco-friendly materials to make into new costume ideas.
Green Halloween Treats
Instead of giving out high-sugar candy, consider giving pennies for UNICEF, pencils, erasers, or temporary tattoos. Besides reducing the waste of all the single-serving packaging, you’ll be providing a healthy alternative to candy. If your kids won’t let you give up food treats, consider small boxes of raisins which have recyclable paper packaging.
Halloween decorations can be natural and non-commercial, with gourds, pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns! Lower your emissions on Halloween by buying locally grown pumpkins, and then lower your waste by composting them after Halloween is over. Use recycled paper to make window decorations, and then send them on for another round of recycling after the holiday. Paper grocery bags can be cut and molded into spooky Halloween trees, masks, and painted white for ghostly effects.
Green Halloween Trick-or-Treating
Send your children trick-or-treating with reusable buckets, canvas bags or pillow cases. Lower emissions by trick-or-treating in your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors better by inviting them over for an old fashioned bobbing-for-apples competition at your house.
Green Halloween Party
Send electronic invitations instead of paper to lower waste. Instead of using plastic plates, cups and utensils, compostable silverware and party plates are now widely available. Go to your neighborhood Goodwill and purchase a pile of mismatched cloth napkins and then have guests toss them in a bin for washing and reusing at your next party. Be sure to recycle bottles and cans, and compost leftovers.
Green Halloween Cleanup
Once Halloween is over, recycle your pumpkins, the straw you used to build scarecrows and any other organic material by composting it. For inedible items, add them to your composting pile (or start composting now!) for great, nutrient rich soil in the spring.
Halloween is right around the corner and if you’ve been looking for ways to make your Halloween celebrations healthier for your family and the planet, then check out our ten tips to green your Halloween.
1. Carpool and Walk
Walk your own neighborhood and then carpool with friends and family to go Trick or Treating in other areas. Park strategically near the entrance of a neighborhood or subdivision and walk through it.
2. Use natural products for outdoor decorations
A great way to green your Halloween is to use natural items like straw, corn, corn stalks, pumpkins and squash in place of plastic one time use decorations from the party supply store. Farmers Markets and local farms are great places to look for these fall harvest items. Not only will you reduce your impact on the local landfill with plastic garbage but you will also be helping out your local farmers and the local economy.
3. Compost your outdoor décor
If you used natural items like the ones listed above then you can compost them and use the compost in your vegetable garden or flower bed in the spring. Watch this video for easy Halloween composting tips.
4. Bag those treats responsibly!
Use reusable grocery bags or an old pillow case for holding treats. You can also get creative here and make the bag part of the costume. An old backpack for your little zombie hiker or an old purse for your little princess. You can also purchase reusable trick or treat bags. These can then double as extra reusable grocery bags.
5. Get creative with your costume
Use old clothes and household items as props instead of plastic one time use costumes from the pharmacy. This approach does require a bit of creativity but it’s a great way to spend some quality time with the kids. Another advantage of using old clothes and household knick-knacks is that they are reusable and perfect for a costume swap. Talk to friends and family members to see if they have any of their children’s older costumes that they could swap. Also, check out the National Costume Swap Day™ website for ideas on how to set up a swap.
6. Donate your leftover Halloween candy to a good cause
Instead of throwing away leftover candy that is still edible, where it will end up in a landfill, donate it to a good cause. You can have your candy sent to the troops overseas by donating to Operation Gratitude or Any Soldier. Food pantries, children’s hospitals, and nursing homes will generally accept donations, including candy. Keep in mind that all candy that you donate should be in its original wrapping.
via Stretch Island Fruit Co.
7. Think outside of the candy box
You don’t have to give conventional candy. There are lots of organic and unconventional sweet treats that you can give. Check out the real fruit strips from Stretch Island Fruit Company. Lärabar makes healthy whole food bars. They are also having Halloween sale!
Trinkets and collectables from local businesses and giftshops are great too, especially if they are made locally too. Kids like unique things like polished rocks or some other unique keepsake. Buying locally also strengthens our local economy.
8. Use beeswax candles
Light up your Jack-O-Lanterns with beeswax candles. They are all natural while paraffin candles are a petroleum byproduct. There are lots of online websites selling beeswax candles. If you want to buy locally consider asking around at your local Farmers Market or contact the local apiary.
9. Choose ethical and sustainable chocolate
Choose Rainforest Alliance Certified™ chocolate for Halloween treats. To help support healthy farmlands, forests and wildlife habitat — as well as the well-being of farm workers and their communities — look for chocolate that features the Rainforest Alliance Certified green frog seal! Find certified chocolate here.
10. Throwing a Halloween party? Skip the single-use dinnerware.
GreenHalloween.org has lots of great tips, ideas and suggestions to help make your Halloween fun, healthy and green. What other green ideas are you employing to green your Halloween? Share with us in the comments.