Halloween is such a fun holiday. It gives us a reason to dress up, scare ourselves, and eat a lot of candy. However, like any other holidays it creates massive participation in purchases and consumption of things that may not be so environmentally friendly. So what can we do in order to keep our environmental impact to a minimum on this one day a year festivity?
Well one idea is to buy organic candy. According to an article on Slate.com, the National Confectioners Association predicts at least $2.2 billion of candy will be sold just for Halloween, which means a lot of plastic wrappers that are not recyclable. Furthermore, in order to make this candy millions of pounds of cocoa and corn syrup will be produced and shipped. Cadbury Schweppes, a confectionery company owned by Kraft Foods, endured a “carbon audit” by the British-based organization Carbon Trust. The audit found that a 49 gram Cadbury Dairy Milk bar has a carbon footprint of 169 grams, where the largest source of carbon is from the production of milk. Therefore, about 3.4 grams of carbon dioxide is produced per gram of milk chocolate. Let’s not forget all the land required to grow cocoa and all the biodiversity and forests that are lost and affected from the use of pesticides. However, since milk seems to be the biggest culprit for the carbon emissions of milk chocolate, it can be suggested that dark chocolate may be the more eco-friendly choice.
For those of us who cannot give up chocolate, in general, there is good news. TerraPass has come up with a Climate Change Chocolate bar that not only comes with “a verified TerraPass offset of 133 pounds of carbon dioxide reductions, [which is] the average American’s daily carbon impact”, but has helpful tips on how to decrease your environmental impact as well. You can find these candy bars at Whole Foods.
Some other great ideas on how to be eco-friendly on Halloween, from other sources, such as squido.com and earth911.com, include the following:
- Buy organic pumpkins or those that come from a local farm: visiting PumpkinPatchesAndMore.org can help you find some local farms in the Tampa area.
- Decorate your house with eco friendly, non-plastic items (tombstones out of cereal boxes, ghosts out of old sheets and pillow cases, spray paint old stockings to make spider webs, etc).
- Donate your costume or swap costumes with friends so they are used more than once.
- Walk around your neighborhood instead of driving around; it will be great exercise for you and your children and they’ll enjoy seeing the creativity of other costumes.
- If you are having a Halloween get together try using dinnerware that is made from recycled or compostable materials.
- After carving your pumpkin be sure to save the seeds and toast them in order to provide a tasty snack.
- And use solar powered lamps or LED lights to light up your walkway.
Even though Halloween only comes once a year it should not be considered an “off” day for the environment. There is no reason to make holidays an excuse to destroy the planet. There are many alternative, yet still enjoyable, ways to celebrate the holiday that does create complete havoc on the Earth. We must be responsible and aware of our actions if we are to keep our traditions going in the coming years for future generations.