Halloween is quite possibly the most wasteful holiday. People purchase loads of individually wrapped candy to hand out to children who eat it and get cavities. And if said people don’t get enough visitors at their house the night of Halloween, those individually wrapped candies end up being the guilty pleasure of an under-sugared housewife, or the sneaky snack of the sweet-toothed husband. And, inevitably, regret immediately follows the consumption of all that candy and that regret is followed by hours of gym time and the purchase of overpriced organic health food. Okay, so all of that just to say that I hate individually wrapped candy (although menstrual-Jane would beg to differ).
And then there are the costumes. It’s not the synthetic fibers that they are made of or even the amount of skin you have to show to wear most of them. I just do not see the value in paying approximately $100 for all of the elements of a costume that can be worn once (perhaps twice if you have weird friends) a year.
So, how do I make Halloween green? Simple. Do what I was raised to do: be innovative. I’m not big on buying pre-made costumes so for as long as I can remember I have been making my own costumes out of whatever I can find. Looking back on some of the costume choices I made, I honestly wish I had better friends at the time. Christina Aguilera? Really? Who let me wear that? And I probably pulled the “Jane… as in Tarzan and Jane” thing for at least three years in a row.
This year I am turning an obsession into my costume. In fact, I have influenced three other people to help me in executing the perfect costume (by both sustainability and fashion standards). I am going to be the classy and sassy Jackie O. My late husband JFK will be my date. And that home wrecker Marilyn Monroe will be there with her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio. Cute tribute to four wonderful historical figures, right? I think so too. Plus, it doesn’t take too much to make these costumes. For example, mine was composed of stuff I either found for cheap or bought for other purposes. Thanks to a shopping trip with my mom, I have the perfect Jackie O dress (originally purchased as an interview dress). I’ve got the sensible heals and all I need to add are three thrift store finds: black gloves, sunglasses, and some fake pearl earrings. Classy, non-slutty costume: check.
Alright, now back to the most wasteful part of this spooky day: that damn candy. I have a love-hate relationship with candy in general. I love it so much, but it will never love me back – it will only add more butt to my already-bodacious booty. And when that candy is mass-produced and individually wrapped in non-recyclable, teeny, tiny wrappers it just makes me cringe. Thinking of all the litter and waste actually gives me nightmares. So, to make my Halloween more sustainable I am making my own candy and snacks. While I can’t give it away to strangers, I can opt out of participating in the trick-or-treating in my neighborhood and just practice the tradition of filling my friends with sugar in the non-traditional, Martha Stewart kind of way. Luckily, there are about 100 million recipes for homemade candy and I already have an amazing recipe for pumpkin bread and muffins…yum (Thanks, Mom!).
Halloween is one of those days that I can’t see a bright green future for. Like Valentine’s Day and Administrative Assistants Day, these days are made for us to over purchase, over eat and over waste. And Earth Day was made for people to be reminded of the wonders of the world and what we can do to preserve them, but who celebrates that? So, I just have to believe that there are at least a thousand more dirty hippies like myself who hate the idea of buying orange and black high fructose corn syrup wrapped in plastic. In fact I’m sure there are a lot of people who hate holidays like Halloween for a lot of different reasons – religious, etc.
So I must believe that one day the world (aka America) will unite on this issue and we will take a stand against commercialized, wasteful holidays. But for now, while the rest of the country continues to waste, I will bake… and taste test. Duh.