Halloween is Tuesday and if you have kids, no doubt they have been talking about, “What they’re going to be.” Halloween is often ranked number one as kids’ favorite holiday; just ask a kid. Nothing seems to be more fun than to dress up as a favorite character, superhero, or something terribly frightful.

There is also a lot of waste that comes with Halloween. From cheaply made costumes to decorations, most of it ends up in the trashcan after the ghosts and goblins have gone to bed.

You can make Halloween a whole lot more green, spend a lot less money, and have a lot more fun doing it, too. Instead of purchasing the flimsy costumes, talk with your kids about what they want to be. Figure out how you can make that costume come to life. If you can sew, great. There are some wonderful patterns and fabrics. When my kids were very young, I made their costumes out of the Halloween flannels, so their tiger, bear, and other costumes could double as snuggly pajamas. My kids loved wearing these costumes to bed all winter long.

If you cannot sew, no sweat, visit your local thrift store and discover how a billowy shirt becomes a swash-buckling pirate, a dashing Romeo, or even a romantic prince! When my kids got a little older, we always hit the thrift stores; that really aided in our character enhancement projects. A long black dress made the perfect witch, or warlock gown. A plaid shirt and overalls became the base for a scarecrow.

Kids have a lot more fun if they can use their imaginations and be creative with the pieces and parts they can put together for their costume. I think you will have more fun, too. Helping put together these creative costumes that cost a fraction of the flimsy tie-on ones can soon become a family affair.

The best part is that costumes pieced together from items at a thrift store are recycled and help another organization, as well. Most likely, you can find the finishing accessories in your closet, drawers, or around the house.

Don’t forget to sit down and make a plan of what you need before you go on the hunt, saving time and money. The important part is that you are doing it with your kids and spending time together.

You can also green-up the goodies that you are handing out. Instead of lots of chocolate and sugar, try little boxes of raisins, toothbrushes, or spider rings. I’ve done all of these and they were very popular!

Halloween is a memorable holiday for kids of all ages, but it doesn’t have to be wasteful. With a little careful planning, you can save money and resources. Happy HalloGREEN!


-- Lynn Youngblood is the Executive Director of the Blue River Watershed Association; a certified Residential Energy Client Service Coordinator by the National Energy Retrofit Institute; and a past nature center manager for 20 years, including over 17-years with the Missouri Department of Conservation.