Individually packaged candy, synthetic costumes and throwaway decorations make Halloween the scariest holiday…for the environment. Luckily, hosting a green Monster Mash is as easy as bobbing for apples. With these simple tricks, your party will be all treats!
Long gone are the days of paper invitations. Take advantage of free online sources like evite.com, regards.com or even Facebook. Creating a tailor-made digital card is fun, easy and free, plus it cuts down on paper and carbon emissions. However, if you still prefer the traditional snail mail method, try making your own cards from recycled magazines or greeting cards.
As always, think local, seasonal and fresh when it comes to your menu. Replace chips with toasted pumpkin seeds and sugary desserts with baked apples stuffed with dates, walnuts and cranberries. A ‘black and orange’ menu sets the mood and is high in flavor and fun. Try making orange bell pepper and black olive pizza. Top a pre-made pizza crust with roasted garlic, peppers and olives, drizzle with olive oil and bake. Pair with a black bean and carrot salad or shredded carrots with raisins. For the kids, a blood punch made with cranberry juice, ginger ale and limejuice can top off the meal while adults can enjoy a mixture of warm apple cider, mulling spices and dark rum.
Keeping the focus on fun rather than things is a great way to go green. Instead of wasting resources – and money – on party favors and toys you’ll use once, try some of these games to liven up your party:
Ghost in the Room: This game is a great icebreaker if you have a group of people who may not know each other well. Collect everyone in one room. One volunteer, the designated “Ghost Buster,” leaves the room. While outside, the “Ghost” is cloaked in a white sheet and everyone mixes up throughout the room. When the Buster returns, they must guess the identity of the Ghost. The Ghost then becomes the Ghost Buster, and so on, until everyone is properly introduced.
Bobbing for Apples: This iconic game is a staple come Halloween, not to mention a fun and healthy way to celebrate the season. You and your family can even make a day of it by visiting your local orchard and picking up the apples fresh the day before your party. You can float apples in a tub of water or, for a new twist, try hanging the apples from the ceiling on pieces of string.
Scary Stories: Turning off the lights will not only make ghost stories scarier, it will help reduce your electricity usage. While the classics are always fun, mix things up with www.creepypasta.com. This site is home to a plethora of new and terrifying tales that are guaranteed to have your guests scared to walk to their cars at the end of the night.
What is Halloween without costumes? Rather than getting some pricy, store-bought brand covered in unnecessary packaging, why not challenge yourself to build an outfit from Goodwill or, better yet, items you already have? It’s a great opportunity to cut down waste and get creative. Here are some fun ideas:
iPod Commercial: The iPod commercials are iconic, but they are also incredibly easy to recreate. All you need is a black shirt, black pants, black hat, black gloves and, of course, your own iPod. Tape a fluorescent poster board, which can be used for a later craft/school project, to your back, and voila!
Lady Gaga: No one is hotter than Lady Gaga right now, and her wacky wares make her an ideal costume inspiration. To mimic her now infamous Kermit the Frog dress, simply gather a bunch of stuffed animals, attach them to a mini dress, and wear with platform heels and large sunglasses. The stuffed animals can then be gifted to a local shelter.
Dirty Laundry: Find a broken or battered plastic clothes hamper, cut a hole through the bottom and place it around your hips. Fill with your own clothes. Great for the mom or dad on the go.
Green doesn’t mean decoration-free; it simply means being more creative in your selections. Skip the plastic witches in favor of sustainable and reusable items like gourds, pumpkins and apples. Fallen leaves, twigs and worn out clothes can be used to make scarecrows while soy or beeswax candles create a spooky ambiance. Toss out Styrofoam cups and plastic plates in favor of those made of recycled paper.
While keeping our environment safe is important, it is also important to relax and have fun. After all, this is a party. Try to incorporate as many of these tips into your party planning and remember – you can create lasting memories without creating a lasting carbon footprint.