Tag Archives: halloween

Green Your Halloween with Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Green Your Halloween with Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Halloween is a fun holiday and one that has picked up quite a bit on the consumerism side. It can generate scary amounts of waste. And while it’s really fun seeing all the houses decorated and the kids dressed up in costumes, avoiding waste is still a worthwhile goal. You can green your Halloween if you remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.


Just don’t buy so much stuff.

If you have Halloween decorations, use them of course! If you’re bored with yours, see about trading around with other family members or friends. You can make things look different without buying a lot of new things.

When you do buy new decorations, make sure they’re things that should last for years. Quality matters. If something is going to wear out after just one use, what’s the point?

Consider natural decorations. It’s also an excuse to not rake the lawn for a little, if you like. Hay bales, gourds, and pumpkins can be used as decorations beyond just a jack o lantern.

A dried gourd can be reused from year to year. My husband has some he carved up like you would a jack o lantern, and they look amazing. They will last for many years to come.

Think more carefully about how many treats you need for trick or treaters. How much overage do you really need anyhow? If you’re really into it, look into fair trade or organic candy.

You also don’t need to buy special buckets for trick or treating. Pillowcases have worked well in that area for many years. Any reusable shopping bags you have may also work well. They hold more candy too, which the kids will love.

If you’re having a Halloween party, send invitations by Evite, email or text message. Do your best to keep the waste of the party down to by using regular dishes where possible. Markers to label disposable cups will help people keep track of those if they’re necessary.


I said it before: reuse the decorations you already have. But if you really need new ones, think about making them. Some construction paper, glue, markers, paint, or other art supplies you may have around the house can combine well to make creative Halloween crafts to decorate your home inside and out.

You can also find Halloween costumes or parts to create your own at thrift stores or your own closets. A homemade costume will stand out far more than one of the many store bought ones. It’s a lot of fun planning costumes. My son has a steampunk costume he improves a little bit each year, for example. By keeping it to accessories he can attach to his clothes, he can use the dress shirt and pants for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.

Another option for costumes is to do a costume swap with friends. Arrange costumes by size and see who can get a new to them costume out of the deal. This can also work for kids’ dress up clothes throughout the year.

If you do buy one from the store, try to be sure that you either send it to the thrift store after or get one good enough that the kids can play dress up in it after Halloween. Why buy a costume to be worn only once?


Start with your pumpkin. Roast the seeds and consider saving some if you want to grow your own pumpkin next year. Make sure its remains make it into the compost bin rather than the trash.

Halloween only creates so much recyclable trash, but keep your eyes open for possibilities. If you aren’t going to reuse those costumes, send them off to the thrift store and maybe someone else will.

If you made your own decorations with paper, make sure that any that aren’t in good enough condition to be reused next year hit the recycle bin.

Dead leaves can make for great Halloween decorations, then be composted as well.

What other ideas do you have for a green Halloween?

Frustrated with Halloween

I love Halloween. I really do. I make my kids’ costumes as much as they’ll let me, and I have to say my son’s spider-monkey costume came out great this year. Combination spider and monkey costume, and it took some work.

It turns out that our neighborhood is the big place to go for trick or treat. I don’t exactly know why, although a few houses do a really good job of decorating. But it was crazy. I was warned of the crowds by a neighbor, and had what I thought was a lot of candy.

It lasted an hour and a half, maybe 300 kids. My front door was rarely closed for even a minute during that time. The flow of children had barely slowed when I had to shut down for lack of candy.

That’s not what frustrated me. What frustrated me was the number of parents driving their kids for trick or treating or following them in their cars. What happened to walking?

A good number did walk, of course, but I was shocked by the numbers who drove. One family even had their kids getting in and out of the car at each house, driving in between.

This wasn’t all for little kids either. My husband said one car was trailing a group of about 10 girls who looked to be 13 or so. I’d expect a group of kids that big to be just fine without their parents following them, even on foot, never mind in a car.

First of all, the sheer waste of driving a car all around. Most people are quite capable of walking the usual distances for trick or treating. It can’t be good for the car’s engine to go at such low speed for so long, as well as how much idling there would be. What a polluting waste of fuel!

Second, they’re making it less safe for other trick or treaters by driving around. That’s more chance that one will make a mistake and hit someone else’s child. It would be low speed, most likely, but that’s still a risk.

Third, for the kids young enough to need a parent along for trick or treating, you’re missing out on the best part of going trick or treating with your kids, the interaction with them. You don’t have to go to the door with them, especially beyond the age where they’re comfortable doing so on their own.

You also miss out on chatting with other parents going the same way. Get the kids into a group and have fun chatting with the parents you know. More fun for all involved. That’s also good for having a group of kids for your own to go with once they’re old enough they don’t need an adult along.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I don’t let the frustrations keep me from enjoying it. At the same time, I certainly prefer how it went in our old neighborhood. More fun in general, even though there weren’t nearly as many kids out.

It’s Pumpkin Time!

We went to our local pumpkin patch here in Yucaipa this weekend. It’s called Live Oak Canyon and it’s a pretty fun place.

yellow pumpkinOne of the employees told us that they grow the majority of what they sell there, but a few varieties came from other local growers. The variety of pumpkins, other winter squash and gourds was pretty amazing. So much more than your classic plain orange pumpkin, or even the white ones.

My daughter picked a yellow one. My son was just too tired as the day was a touch warm, so we’ll probably be back this weekend for his. Prices weren’t too bad either – a bit higher than grocery stores, but you just don’t get that kind of selection at the store.

They have a lot of fun stuff for the kids too. There’s a petting zoo, which we didn’t go into but my kids did get quite a kick out of the goat who had made his way to the top of some equipment they had. There’s a corn maze, some bounce houses and things like that. A bit pricey overall, but a bit pricey is typical for these kinds of places in my experience. We just used it as a chance for the kids to learn to budget their tickets to pick the things they wanted to do most of all.

Overall, it was fun. As I said, we’re going back for another pumpkin soon.

Getting Ready for Halloween

Somehow it’s October already. I have no idea how that happened. But that means figuring out Halloween costumes for my kids.

Most years I’ve made their Halloween costumes. It’s fun. This year I’m not so sure I can, which is a real disappointment.

The baby’s costume isn’t a problem. She has a handmedown dragon costume from a cousin.

My son wants to be Bumblebee from Transformers. He’s never seen the movie or the shows, but he’s completely obsessed with that character, just from seeing the toys in the store as near as I can tell. Amazing how that works.

Making that costume to suit him is likely a bit beyond my skills, though.

My daughter was going to be Wonder Woman until I pointed out that evenings in late October here are likely to be on the cool side. That’s a pretty tough costume to warm up. So now she’s thinking vampire.

With any luck at all, I’ll have some good choices for them at one thrift store or another. Things like costumes I really don’t like getting new when they aren’t too likely to make it into the rotation for playing dress up.

Our neighborhood is looking really promising for trick or treating, I must say. Lots of houses with decorations going up already.

Beyond the Sugar Crazed Rush of Halloween

Goodness, my kids had too much sugar yesterday. Considering that under normal circumstances, if we have candy they get one piece a day, and yesterday we pretty much didn’t worry about consumption…

homemade halloween costumes

Let’s just say kids on a sugar high are pretty interesting.

It’s one of the few days a year that I allow so much freedom with sugar. It’s going to take months to eat everything they picked up trick or treating last night, because the one piece a day rule goes right back into effect.

They got an early start too. We took them to my husband’s parents’ house for a visit, and they took the kids across the street to show off the costumes to a neighbor. Who of course gave them little bags of candy.

When we got back home, so did a neighbor, because she wasn’t going to be home to see them in the evening.

Overall, this makes me really glad I don’t give them access to a lot of candy all year. Not to mention how nice it is that Halloween was on a Friday, so they have two days to wind back down before school is in session again. They need it.

All this makes me really glad that I do so much cooking from scratch. Much easier to avoid HFCS and such in other foods when you do that. Besides, homemade bread is so much better tasting!

I am a believer in moderation, but with things like HFCS moderation is more challenging than many think. I pretty much accept that it’s going to be in most of the candy my kids got for Halloween, as is food coloring.

Cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables, making my own sauces and spice mixes, allowing only 100% fruit juice when they have juice, and so forth, cuts back the potential sources delightfully.

I know some people would soonest avoid it altogether, and either don’t do trick or treating, or take or trade away the candy so obtained, but that’s just not me.

As for winding the kids down, just now they’re painting. I’m encouraging a lot of creative and active play today to work the excitement out of their systems. Seems to be working. They’ve gone from arguing all morning to playing very nicely together this afternoon.