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Green tips for celebrating Halloween

October 21, 2011
By JOHANNA BOYLE ( , Journal Ishpeming Bureau

MARQUETTE - From haunted houses to pumpkin carving to costume contests, there are almost too many activities to choose from while celebrating Halloween each fall.

No matter how you want to celebrate the spookiest day of the year, there are always opportunities to lessen the holiday's impact on the environment while still having fun.

Whether you're a kid or an adult, a big part of the Halloween festivities is picking out a costume. While running to the store to pick up a quick costume might be convenient, you can also avoid that extra packaging and purchase of a costume that will only be used once by fashioning your own costume out of items you have at home.

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Another option is to stop at a thrift store to buy a used costume. Renting a costume also increases the number of times a costume is used before it is tossed out. Organizing a costume swap between families also allows kids to wear "new" costumes each year without having to purchase new. Decorations can also be reused each year.

Decorations are also a good way to showcase locally-grown produce. Pumpkins, squashes and fall leaves are all easy to find from local sources and can all be composted after they are done serving as decor.

While decorating for a party, choose reusable table cloths, napkins and other items, along with non-disposable flatware, plates and cups.

Halloween party activities can also take advantage of reusable items, like a scarecrow making contest with clothing items you happen to have on hand or providing supplies for kids to make reusable trick or treat bags which can be used for years at a time.

For trick or treaters coming to the door Halloween night, candy might be the expected treat, but you can try branching out by offering fruit leather or locally produced treats. Honey sticks are also a fun option for kids over the age of 2. If you don't want to hand out sugary treats, try Halloween-themed pencils and erasers that kids can use the next day in school.

If you are taking your own group of costumed kids around for trick or treat, park your car in one central location and walk to each house instead of driving from door to door. Walking not only saves on gas, but makes it safer for kids who may be trying to navigate the streets.

While walking around on Halloween, encourage kids to keep any candy wrappers they have in their pockets or trick or treat bags so that less garbage ends up on lawns and streets.

For more tips on creating an environmentally-friendly Halloween, check out

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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