an eco-friendly halloween

It’s October, which means one of my favorite holidays is almost here. While Halloween is by tradition a day of spooky festivities, one of the scariest things about it is the amount of resources spent on cheap plastic costumes and decorations. So instead of being freaked out over all the petroleum-laden junk associated with the holiday, I’ve rounded up a few tips for having a more green Halloween.



Costumes

Instead of breathing in toxic fumes from that George W. mask you were thinking of wearing, try one of these thrifty and eco-friendly costume ideas (adapted from Halloween on the Web):

  • Pair o’ dice lost: This one requires a partner. Each of you wear a cubical cardboard box painted white with black dots to match a pair of dice. Carry a road map and look confused
  • A work of art: Recreate a famous painting on a big piece of cardboard (such as Munch’s The Scream, the Mona Lisa, or American Gothic). Cut out a hole where the face would be, then put your face through it
  • Two heads are better than one: Get an XXXL sweatshirt and a friend. Get inside — et voila! — you’re conjoined twins
  • Hari, Hari: Cover your hair with pantyhose (yeah, this is usually petroleum based) and cut a hole in the top. Bring your hair out of the hole (this even works with short — but not buzzed — hair). Wear a toga and carry a tambourine
  • Cartoon flashback: Get a bunch of friends together and go as characters from your favorite cartoon. Scooby Doo is a good example… some of my friends did this last year. You can probably find all the clothes you’ll need at the local consignment shop or on eBay

More crafty costume ideas from iVillage.

For thrift stores in your area, check here.

If you’re not feeling creative, you can also get used costumes on eBay.

DIY Makeup

  • General face paint: 1 tsp corn starch, 1/2 tsp water, 1/2 tsp cold cream, 2 drops food coloring. Mix well
  • Blood: Combine red food coloring and corn syrup. Drip the blood where you’d like, but don’t let the edges smear and give it plenty of time to dry
  • Blood and gore: Use red food coloring, corn syrup, and chunky peanut butter

[via Halloween on the Web]

(Side note: I’m normally not an advocate of corn syrup, but well, it’s Halloween, it may be the least toxic makeup option, and you’re not ingesting it!)

Find more DIY Halloween makeup tips here.

Want to do it like a pro? According to Make mag’s blog, Etsy will be giving a Halloween makeup how-to in Brooklyn, 10/27 and 10/28 (a testament to the level of professionalism at right)

Decorations

Please, I beg you, don’t buy one of those giant blow-up lawn ornaments made from PVC. Try one of these ideas instead:

  • Jack o’ Lantern (no kidding!). But how ’bout a solar powered one?
  • Make a scarecrow from old jeans, flannel shirt, t-shirt, and pillowcase (another version here)
  • Cut a piece of cardboard into a tombstone, paint it grey and decorate as you wish
  • Cut shapes of bats, spiders, or cats from cardboard and black paint. Set up lights behind them to cast creepy shadows
  • Use an old sheet as a backdrop. Paint a scary scene or cut and sew felt or other scrap fabric onto it to create a unique Halloween scene
  • If you want to get fancy, rent a fog machine which uses non-toxic, water-based fog fluid. OR make one yourself! (If you end up buying one, and don’t think you’ll use it again, donate it to a school or local theater when you’re done).

For the serious DIY’er, more decor ideas from Instructables.

And for the kids
Discover Halloween tricks and treats for kids at NatureMoms.

One last note. Be sure to recycle all the elements of your costume and decor. Compost your pumpkin guts and toast the seeds. Have fun and Happy Halloween!

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2 Responses to “an eco-friendly halloween”

  1. patty, GH Says:

    check out these great chocolate sources-http://www.gatheringhome.com/2008/10/halloween-only.html

  2. Liz Says:

    thanks for the info!

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