Have a frightfully green Halloween

by Julie Snyder

Green HalloweenIt's not about the Hulk or Kermit the Frog. A green Halloween is about being EEK-o-friendly.

Candy sales, costume shopping, and decorations add up to an industry worth almost six billion dollars a year. All those products come a hefty carbon footprint and an environmental impact that lasts long after you've see the last of those fun-size candy bars.

You can change that by being green on Halloween. All you have to do is make choices that are people-healthy, animal-friendly and earth-conscious.

You might decide to shop closer to home this year and get your pumpkin from the local pumpkin patch instead of buying one transported hundreds of miles. Buying local is a step toward going green.

Host a costume exchange on National costume Swap Day. It's the second Saturday of October. Re-using is a step towards a green Halloween.

Here are other ways you can make your holiday eco-friendly.

Steps to a green Halloween

Recycle costumes: When it comes to costumes and decorations reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do-it-yourself.

Shop green and shop early. Last-minute shopping trips limit your choices.

Treat bags can be anything -- purses, flower pots, cloth sacks, lunch bags or backpacks. For extra fun, match the bag to the costume.

Choose healthier treats. Take baby steps toward turning your Halloween treat bag organic and support fair trade. Consider pretzel, crackers or other non-sugary snack.

Reverse Trick-or-Treat. Sign up through their website to receive free samples cards that outline the program. Your kids can hand out the samples and card to adults who come to the door on Halloween.

Opt for fun treasures. Your child loves little rocks, shells and coins. Older kids might like those as well or better than candy.

Avoid disposables. If you're having a party, try not to use throw-away plates, napkins, cups and tablecloths.

Use your feet. Walk from house to house instead of driving.

Make fruit and vegetable creatures. You'll not only have a healthy snack, but you'll be making it from produce, straight from the garden or orchard, not processed.

Collect candy wrappers and help your kids turn them into gift items like picture frames, bracelets and purses. You can find directions on the internet.

Compost leftovers. Toss pumpkins and other leftover food into the compost bin.

Whether your family has been green for years or whether you're green at being green, these tips can help make your find everything you need to know to make your spooky night earth-friendly.

Do you have a great, green idea we didn't mention? We'd love to hear about it.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.