Thursday, October 18, 2007

Green Halloween: A Fine Line Between Eco-Friendly and Ultra Lame-O

I've been looking over the tips for having a green Halloween from various websites and I have to tell you ... they're a little damn dirty hippie-ish, even for The Green Miles. When I was growing up, if you were giving out organic fruit on Halloween, you were getting a trick.

But there are definitely some tips to help you have a greener holiday, most prominently this year: Make sure your decorations and giveaways don't contain lead. OK, so that's not really exclusively a "green" tip, but with Halloween items joining the parade of Chinese-made toys containing lead, it's probably this year's most urgent advice. Some others ...
* Give out organic or fair trade chocolate
* Instead of using paper or plastic disposable bags to collect treats, use or buy a recyclable bag
* If you're hosting a party, use re-usable plates, cups, utensils, napkins and tablecloths and make sure your guests know where your recycling bin is
* When the holiday is over, save your decorations for future years like you would Christmas lights or ornaments
To cut down on your food miles, you can also get your pumpkin at a farmers market or even at a local farm. I'm a big fan of Marker Miller Orchards in Winchester, VA.

And of course, you can cut down on waste by re-using costumes. After getting invited at the last minute to a Halloween party during a visit to New York City, I bought this giant orange pumpkin hat for $35. I thought it was a ripoff at the time, but I was desperate.

That was five years ago, and it's served me well many times since. Mostly it gets basic "look at that there big ol' hat" type laugh, but last year I managed to kick it up a notch, combining it with a shirt with "3.1428" written on it. Pumpkin pi ... get it?

To get more tips, check out or the Sierra Club's blog.
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