Is it really possible to throw the best Halloween party on the block and still be environmentally responsible? The answer is yes — it is not only possible; it is relatively easy. The following ideas may help to stimulate the necessary creativity to make your Halloween festivities a howling eco-friendly success, rather than an example of wasteful spending:
Halloween is a wonderful time to use renewable resources to transform a party venue into an area with a spooky atmosphere. Think about the natural resources in your area, as well as items you already have at home, and you are certain to find inexpensive decorations that will not add to landfills when they are discarded. These suggestions are just ideas of what might be available in your location:
- Spaghetti that can be draped over string
- Barren tree limbs or water-marked logs that are strategically placed
- Old handkerchiefs or sheets that are wrapped around old balls to make ghosts for hanging from trees
- Pumpkins in various sizes for carving spooky scenes
- Old Styrofoam or cardboard left over from packed appliances to form tombstones
- Leftover bits of yarn or thread to form spider webs
- Silhouettes of owls, bats, spiders, and crows made from cardboard boxes and colored black
Eco-friendly Party Foods
Keep in mind the idea of seasonal, local or organic produce as you choose a menu that will be good for your guests and great for the environment. The following are examples of what might work well:
- Save the seeds when carving your pumpkins, and roast these with a little oil and paprika for a tasty snack.
- Put out a bowl of sliced apples into which you have cut a wicked grin and attached raisin eyes with a dab of frosting.
- Make a hot punch using local apple juice or cider with cinnamon and other spices.
- Make organic oatmeal cookies in the shape of a tombstone and use chocolate syrup to write epitaphs or RIP.
- Make cupcakes and ice with white frosting. Use chocolate or strawberry ice cream topping to make three circles on top of each cupcake, each larger than the other. Draw a knife through the icing as if you were cutting a pie to create wonderful spider webs on top.
- Freeze peeled grapes in lemon juice in ice trays. Drop these frozen eyeballs into glasses of water or fruit punch for a spooky, refreshing drink.
- Use corn stalks and pumpkins in a corner and string a spider’s web using white yarn.
- Make a warming soup using pumpkin and other seasonal vegetables.
More Green Ideas
Other ways to keep Halloween green include:
- Sending your invites online to save on paper. Remember to tell your guests that it is an eco-themed party, and perhaps you could hold a competition for the most imaginative eco-friendly outfit.
- Making costumes, such as a hobo’s outfit or a scarecrow’s attire, out of old clothing. Another idea is to raid your recycling and use your creativity. For example, with a bit of imagination, anyone can make a person into a box of popcorn using an old box with a hole in the top for the head and holes cut into the sides for arms. Cotton balls can then be stuck on to overflow the top and sides.
- Using regular plates, bowls and glasses that can be reused, rather than disposable items. You might even be able to find old crockery in Halloween colors by scouring thrift stores and yard sales! Any items you buy can be saved and used again next year, or donated to someone else on Freecycle.
- Playing traditional games, such as bobbing for apples or pin the broom on the witch can be environmentally friendly and great fun.
You can find lots more tips at www.halloweenpartyideas.org, such as fun games to play and crafts to make.
This article has been contributed by Elizabeth Pullen, who believes it’s important to be environmentally aware all year round, especially during holidays when there’s a temptation to buy a lot of one-use items that will end up in landfill. She is looking forward to a green Halloween!