Green Halloween Ideas For The Last Minute Shopper

Whether you are heading out to a Halloween party, or just dressing the kids up for a round of trick-or-treating, when it comes to last minute Halloween shopping it can be tempting to rush out and buy the first cheap costume you can find.

Not only do cheap costumes end up in our landfills, usually after only a few hours of wear, but what can really make them even scarier are the toxic substances they can contain.

Many of those spooky Halloween masks are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and much of the face paint sold on costume supply shelves today contains heavy metals, such as cadmium, chromium, and even lead.

As Healthy states, “Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)”.

Furthermore, a recent article in the CBC warns parents about the dangers of Halloween face paints that can contain heavy metals.

Even as last minute shopper you can still make this Halloween green with these simple tips:

Reuse / Recycle
If you haven’t already donated, or worst case, thrown out your old costume you can always reuse or recycle it. Whether you swap old costumes with friends, or mix and match what you already have on hand, you can let your creativity flow to come up with something that is truly unique. And who knows, you may even win that costume contest.

Costume Rentals
Even though it may be last minute, you can still opt to rent a costume instead of buying one. Granted all the ‘good’ costumes may have already been picked over, but again, this is the time to get creative. Mix and match items that they have left to come up with something truly one of a kind.

Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are a great place to go last minute costume shopping. Not only will they have donated costumes that you can choose from, but they also have a wide range of clothing options that will enable you to create a costume that is truly original.

Not only can you DIY your own Halloween costumes with the tips from above, but you can also DIY your very own face paint. Best of all it won’t contain an heavy metals.

Check out this great video from Green for a greener alternative to store bough face paint:

Green Pumpkins
They may be a little harder to locate, especially last minute, but when it comes to pumpkins always go for the green ones, not the colour of course, but how it is grown.

A locally sourced, pesticide free pumpkin can be used for more than just making a scary Jack-o’-lantern. You can also use the guts for soups and roast the seeds for snacks. If you want to use the pumpkin for desserts, say like baking a fresh pumpkin pie, you can always decorate the pumpkin instead of carving it. This way you’ll have a whole pumpkin ready to go on November 1st. And don’t forget to throw out the unused pumpkin bits into the compost bin or green bin.

Lighting the Jack-o’-lantern
A green alternative to lighting your Jack-o’-lanterns is to use non-toxic candles, such as those made from soy or beeswax. You may also want to use electronic lights, so to stay green opt for those that use LED. Not only will they last longer, but they will also use less energy.

Green Trick-or-Treat Bags
As a last minute shopper, don’t buy into the cheap plastic Jack-O-Lantern pail craze. After all, everyone knows the trick-or-treat bag is not as important as the candy it will soon hold. So stay away from the cheap plastic pails and go green by reusing what is already on hand, whether it is the reusable grocery bag or the classic pillowcase.

Organic and Fair Trade Treats
Finally we come to the most important part of Halloween, the candy! Just because you are a last minute shopper that doesn’t mean you have to buy the cheap, heavily packaged, fat and sugar laden, Halloween candy from the local grocery store. Take some time to source out some healthier, green alternatives. Many organic candies and fair trade treats will not only have more responsible packaging, but they will also have a smaller ecological footprint.

It has been said that, it’s not easy being green, which can be especially true as a last minute shopper on Halloween, but with a little patience, and some creativity, anything is possible.

Happy Halloween!

Jess Lynn

About the Author
Jess Lynn Kramer is the founder of Within Your Hands, an on-line eco-store and blog that provides a wide-range of fun, modern, and functional items, as well as some tips and advice on how to make small changes for a healthier lifestyle.

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