I am assuming that you sporty readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors think the environment is precious and wonderful. I know I do.

I am also assuming that you make daily choices in your lives to minimize waste and pollution. You may compost, collect rain water, recycle, buy used clothes and use cloth grocery store bags, etc.

So if my assumption is correct that you are those type of people, perhaps you will be interested in the following question: How can we make Halloween and less wasteful?

Seriously. Millions of little candy wrappers (and I won’t even get in to how terrible it is that kids are eating pounds and pounds of sugar) that can’t be recycled, thrown into landfills everywhere. And then there are the plastic buckets that can’t be recycled, costumes designed for single use, etc. You get my point.

Does this bother anyone but me? What can we do about it?

I have been brainstorming and I have a few suggestions for total FUN Halloween participation that is less wasteful, less harmful, more green.

1. Use REAL locally grown pumpkins

Go to the patch so that kids can make the connection – farm, pumpkin, grow, fun!

Carve real pumpkins and teach kids that there are many uses for a pumpkin: save and bake seeds, explain how the pumpkin flesh can be eaten later, etc.

2. Use a Basket or bag, not a plastic pumpkin thing

Send kids out with a reusable trick or treat bag / basket. A reusable grocery bag is great in-case kids are likely to drop, fall trip and candy may spill out. A good old fashion basket is also a great idea. Try to avoid single use plastic items that will sit in a landfill for the next 900 years.

3. Give an alternative to candy

No, I am not suggesting you be the house that kids avoid because you give popcorn balls, apples or tooth brushes. I am suggesting you be the house kids love because you give something awesome, like:

  • Money – Quarters (we used to love the lady that gave us $.50)
  • Juice box that has actual fruit juice and can be recycled
  • Coupons for a sandwich or something they can enjoy later
  • Granola bar or dried fruit treat individually wrapped

As a parent, wouldn’t you rather pack those treats in a lunch box the next day? Something better than 3000 calories of sugar?

4.  Trade costumes

I understand that kiddos have requests on costumes – so start early. Borrow, trade and share with friends and family. Try to make something that can be re-used and won’t be thrown away minutes after Halloween. Buy used if you have to buy (hello – eBay). A friend of mine just found 2 great used costumes on eBay.

5. Old fashion games and treats

Bobbing for apples anyone? Can you get more green then fruit in a tub with water? Cost is probably $4 compared to some pin the tail on the dracula game that is made of all plastic, and will be in mush within minutes.

I know it sounds odd to think about this stuff or write about it weeks in advance, but, if you want to be more green, it takes planning.

I ran across this great website with specific ideas that I think is worth reading:

Hope to see you out in a few weeks. I will be the lady with a big bucket of fruit thingies or granola bars – watching kids turn up their noses and parents smile as one less candy bar is placed in their little hands.

Places to Go, Things to See: