Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bio: Shondra Walker is the author of Walk With Me; a blog that provides a glimpse into her life, along with parenting tips, recipes, and green living ideas. Just a few years ago, she was living the college life. She never thought about cooking or raising kids. Now, she is married to the coolest guy she knows and learning to be a wife and mom. Join her or follow her on Twitter at: @Shondra_W

Green Up Halloween

I can hardly believe that Halloween is less than a week away. It seems like just yesterday I was looking forward to the beginning of summer.  Halloween can be a lot of fun. Parties, trick or treating, chocolate, and costumes are just a few of the highlights. But with a lot of fun comes a lot of waste.

Photo Courtesy of flickr user PT

Check out these stats:

-According to the US Census, 36 million children between the ages of 5-14 were expected to trick-or-treat in 2009. 
 -111.3 million houses and apartments served as potential stops for trick-or-treaters. 
 -931 million pounds of pumpkins were produced in 2009 in the United States alone, with Illinois leading the pack and producing 429 million pounds. 
-In 2008, there were 1,317 manufacturing businesses which produced chocolate and cocoa products. 
-On average, each American consumed a whopping total of 24.3 pounds of candy in 2008.

All of that Halloween candy, jack-o-lanterns, and costumes produce a lot of waste, including wrappers, party decorations, costumes, and jack-o-lanterns that are left to rot on porches long after the festivities have ended. 

Do you want to do your part to lower the negative environmental impact caused on Halloween? 

Photo Courtesy of flickr user J Clark

Here are a few tips to reduce your Halloween waste:

1). Do not buy one-time use Halloween decorations. Buy decorations that you can keep and use year after year.  In addition to reducing waste, you'll save money. When you become tired of your current decorations, see if family and friends want to swap decorations.  And if you are having a party, use reusable plates and silverware.  Have friends toss their plates in the dishwasher instead of the trash. 

2). Ditch the car. Choose to walk the neighborhood instead of driving all over town to trick-or-treat. If your neighborhood isn't conducive to trick-or-treating (or all the good candy is across town), drive the car to one spot, park it, and then walk. 

3). Choose candy wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Eliminating the amount of plastic being used will go a long way in lowering the environmental impact that happens on Halloween night. 

4). Use reusable canvas bags. Instead of giving your kids plastic pumpkins to gather their candy, use a reusable bag. Canvas bags can be purchased at art stores and then decorated.  Those cheap baskets usually break anyway.

5).  Reuse or repurpose costumes. Instead of buying a costume or making a new one from scratch, see if your child can reuse a costume (perhaps their older brother's) or repurpose it. 

These are just a few actions we can take to green up Halloween. I'd love to hear what suggestions you have! 

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