Americans will spend an average of $66.28 on Halloween this year if past years are any indicator–a grand total of $6 billion! A portion of that $66.28 will get spent on consumable stuff, mostly candy. The rest will get spent on costumes, decorations and miscellaneous crappe. Now, much of the candy will get eaten, many of the costumes will get recycled, but a lot of packaging and excess stuff will end up in landfills. While Enviro Girl doesn’t consider herself a huge holiday Scrooge, she won’t spend the average on Halloween. Consuming less and spending less can make Halloween a greener holiday.
For starters, Enviro Girl’s family will recycle costumes. Instead of buying a brand new concoction of nylon/vinyl/plastic from a Big Box Store, Enviro Girl and her family will raid the toy bin and their own closets to create costumes for trick-or-treating and parties. Enviro Girl will use lipstick and eyeliner on her sons to give them zombie/football player/vampire faces. They’ll use glue, thread and safety pins to patch together their various accessories and get creative reusing stuff out of their garage and basement. Team Testosterone will go trick-or-treating using the same canvas bags they’ve used for the past 4 Halloweens, no need to buy treat bags or buckets.
Enviro Girl grew her own fall decorations–lots of pumpkins and gourds. She and her sons made some bats and other spooky creatures out of construction paper, paint and old egg cartons. Many websites have great ideas on how to brew up your own, unique Halloween decorating on the cheap. An old white sheet can make ghosts that hang from tree branches or drape in front of windows. White chalk can outline cadavers on the driveway or etch skulls on framed photographs. Enviro Girl even filled old canning jars with beets and carrots from her garden–adding some colored water made them look like eerie science experiments. Check out Family Fun Magazine or Martha Stewart for more cheap decorating ideas.
Halloween is not for gifts–there’s no need to spend money on trifles and trinkets. The objective for this holiday is to get your spook on and raid the neighborhood for treats. To this end, Enviro Girl will give no presents–her sons will contribute home-baked goods to their classroom parties and she’ll give candy to the little ghouls and goblins on the front porch come Halloween night. Her family will go trick-or-treating and the boys will load up on candy. This October they’ll go to a “haunted zoo” to enjoy a scary hayride while admiring the carved pumpkins and animals all over the zoo. They’ll attend a few Halloween parties where people will dance and play goofy games while wearing costumes. They’ll carve pumpkins and bake cookies. They’ll watch a mildly frightening movie (or two). On the consumption scale, these activities rank fairly low.
Enviro Girl will spend about $20 on Halloween shopping this year–on candy and recipe ingredients, consumable goods that leave change in Enviro Girl’s pocket. Treading light on the planet means consuming less so you throw away less. You can spend less and use less while making Halloween just as much fun, spooky and thrilling.
Tell us, reader. What will you spend on Halloween this year? Can you match Enviro Girl’s $20?