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3 Ways to Green Your Halloween

From plastic throw-away decorations to mass-produced costumes to discarded candy wrappers – Halloween has a scary reputation of being a wasteful and expensive holiday.The Retail Association of Canada predicts that Canadians will spend close to $1 billion on Halloween this year – more per capita than our U.S. counterparts.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Rock local décor
Skip the non-recyclable plastic pumpkins and Halloween décor from the dollar store and opt for the real deal instead: pumpkins and gourds grown right here in Nova Scotia.

Pick them in different sizes and shapes, and arrange them on your doorstep for a colourful and festive look – whether you decide to carve them or not. When you really think about it, you can find a use for almost every part of a pumpkin – and don’t forget to compost what’s left.

For your front door, opt for a bundle of ornamental corn over a plastic Halloween wreath. Still want spooky ghosts haunting your trees? Don’t buy the plastic ready-made ones: old sheets from the back of your linen closet will do the trick.

DIY costumes
There’s no reason to waste your money on a cheaply made, store-bought Halloween costume. Browse second-hand stores and flea markets for vintage options or reuse costumes you’ve worn in previous years.

Check what clothing you already have in your closet – you’ll be surprised what’s lurking there: an old uniform, bridesmaid dress or bowling shirt can be the foundation of a great costume.

Many community organizations host costume swaps for kids. Take costumes your kids have outgrown and swap them for new-to-you options. Or encourage them to get creative and make their own. Opt for non-toxic face paint over plastic or rubber Halloween masks that they’ll wear once and forget about.

Eco-friendlier treats
Finding eco-friendly Halloween treats is not as tricky as you might think. To be safe for kids, it’s key that Halloween candy is packaged – but you have some control over how much packaging. Buy individual foil or paper wrapped candies in bulk, and be sure to carry them home in your own reusable bags. Don’t divvy up the candy into single-use plastic loot bags.

If buying in bulk isn’t an option, aim to purchase candy from companies that source ingredients from sustainable sources. Palm oil is an ingredient that’s often produced in a way that causes deforestation. The Toronto Zoo recently launched a campaign to educate consumers about Halloween candy that uses sustainable sources of palm oil.

And remember: you don’t have to give out food. Stickers, pencils or temporary tattoos are healthier (and greener!) swaps for the usual Halloween junk. Parents of children with food allergies will thank you!

Don’t forget to send the kids out trick-or-treating with pillowcases or canvas bags to carry their goodies – not evil plastic bags.

What eco-friendly Halloween hack do you swear by? Tell us about it in the comment section below!