What about Halloween?

By October 31, 2010 No Comments

I received a few emails and comments asking how we plan to celebrate Halloween. Frankly, I really have a hard time with Halloween. I like the activities, but in a perfect world, the celebration would be a non-commercial, waste-free, treasure-sharing (see “treasures” below), costume festival, that I would fully support. Until then…

Our kids are still at an age where they want to share the fun with their friends and join them in trick-or-treating. And yet, I want to keep the tradition as sustainable as possible. But how? When in doubt, I apply the obvious rule: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. After discussing an approach with the kids, here is the plan that we came up with:


-Plastic toys or favors when trick-or-treating, the kids will pick recyclable or compostable items instead.


-Instead of doing a whole neighborhood, we plan to trick-or-treat one street. It helps being invited to a party before or after to reduce time spent going door to door.


-Costumes: Coming up with a homemade outfit is our first choice but it is also a challenge in a minimalist home (probably the only downside of living with less). When we strike-out of ideas, we go to the thrift store, and on the spot choose or make up a costume. I expect thrift shops to be most busy this time of year!

By the way, I am not crazy about dressing up for Halloween: I have enough fun reinventing my wardrobe everyday of the year 😉

-As you would expect, we keep our decorating minimal (What can I say: I did not grow up with this tradition), with just a few tiny pumpkins that I make into a soup the next day and serve sprinkled with its roasted seeds.

-We plan to participate in the Halloween Candy Buy Back for the non-recyclable treats, this year for the first time. This is the most motivating program I have found for my 2 boys to give away their candy;)


– When possible, the kids will choose treats in cardboard: Dots, Milk Duds, Nerds or Raisins (but I doubt that we’ll run in many of those).


-To state the obvious, the rinds of our pumpkins used for making soup will get composted.

-I made a watermelon brain for a potluck buffet tonight. Hopefully, it will get completely eaten. If not, and if it gets too picked on, I’ll take the leftovers home to compost.

In case you were wondering, our front door is 36 steps from the street, so by nature we do not get trick-or-treaters (sometimes, life just simplifies itself;). If we did, this website gives some good alternatives to candy. Here is the revised list with my waste-free favorites, in alphabetical order:

Food items (“treats”): Boxes of organic raisins, Fruit (like mandarins), Licorice Root Stick (I loved to chew on these as a kid).

Non-food items (“treasures”) are also a great alternative to treats: Bracelets made with a natural fiber or yarn, Coins (US or non-US: I know my kids would get exited about getting a penny), Feathers, Lavender sachet, Polished rocks or skipping stones, Printed items (jokes, word games, word search or cross word puzzles), Seashells, Seed packets or plantable paper, Soap (unpackaged of course), Stamps from foreign countries.

How do you celebrate Halloween with your kids?

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