Finding cheap, environmentally friendly ways to celebrate
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Halloween is probably only second to Christmas as being the most disposable holiday. If you think about it, all those candy wrappers, the costumes you’ll wear one time and then forget about, the paper decorations that will be going straight into the trash after the Vancouver weather does a number on them—it all leads up to one big, wasteful evening of fun and fancy. As a conservationist, I should despise Halloween, but I don’t. It’s actually my favourite holiday! The trick is to know how to make your Halloween as Hallogreen as possible.
It all starts with decorations. I mean, you want to entice those adorable trick–or-treaters to come to your house (which is really creepy if you think about it), so you have to have some decorations, right? A jack-’o-lantern, some fake cobwebs, maybe a ghost or two? Now I’m not saying get rid of the pumpkin, that would just be blasphemy (plus, it’s biodegradable), but it is a good idea to plan your decorations to either be reusable, or not made of paper and plastics. By reusable, I mean don’t fall for the gimmicky paper and cardboard cut-outs at the dollar store. Sure, paper is biodegradable, but it still ends up in a landfill on November 1.
Instead, go for decorations that will be able to stand up to the changing Vancouver weather. Rather than tissue paper, use white garbage bags for your ghosts. They’ll be water-proof, and you can reuse them as actual garbage bags once Halloween is over. My next suggestion is to invest in some festive lights—like Christmas but better, because ghosts and pumpkins beat Santas and candy canes any day. Having festive lights automatically makes your house look Halloween-y, so you can ditch those fake cobwebs, which are a pain to put up and you throw out every year. Plus, lights have the added bonus of making your house look more inviting to children (again, this is creepy). They’ll be more willing to brave your doorstep if they know for sure there will be a candy reward.
Of course nothing beats a good old fashioned DIY. Your decorations will be extra Hallogreen and impressive if they don’t look like everyone else’s on the block. So hit up Pinterest and see how you can turn your garbage into something masterful and spooky. Last year I turned milk jugs into light-up day of the dead skulls. This year I’ve been collecting toilet paper rolls so I can turn them into evil eyes that will peek out from the six-foot hedge that surrounds my house.
My last tip, and probably the simplest to follow, is about costumes. Vancouver is an amazing city for finding discount thrift costumes. I mean, come on, we have pop-up stores specifically devoted to it. If you’re in need of a costume, maybe try something thrifted—chances are it will be cheaper than buying something new, and far better quality. With this comes my annual dreading of the release of fad costumes. You know the kind, the ones that are funny and/or topical. I hate fad costumes; I think they’re ridiculous and a huge waste. Not only are they oftentimes insulting to a portion of the population, but they’re also completely useless after that year (I’m looking at you, Caitlyn Jenner costume). I get it, you don’t want to be known as the person that wears the same Halloween costume every year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t donate your costume when you’re done with it—or pass it on to a family member or friend when they’re in need of something fast next year. Fad costumes eliminate that option.
Halloween is a fantastic and fun holiday that is pretty unique in the pantheon of festivities. So enjoy all the candy and costumes, without your environmental conscience nagging you.