By Katrina Marland

(Credit: Wwarby)

I confess: I love Halloween. Who doesn’t enjoy a good excuse to eat junk food, dress up as something ridiculous and have a great time with friends?

Of course, it isn’t always an easy holiday to keep very eco-friendly. In fact, with all the crepe-paper decorations and individually wrapped candies, Halloween has the potential to be truly scary from an environmental standpoint. So here are some pointers for a spooktacular Halloween that is both fun and eco-friendly.

#1: Say Boo to Plastic Bags

Forego the plastic grocery bags and cheap plastic pumpkins this year, and collect your treats in something a little more eco-friendly. Grab yourself a reusable bag from any number of companies, like ChicoBag, which has designed some fun Halloween bags that even glow in the dark.

Better yet, if you don’t feel like buying a bag, make one! Grab an old pillowcase and decorate it however you like. Then, you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind spooky tote and save yourself a little cash.

#2: Dress for Spooky Success

A lot of people buy new Halloween costumes from retail stores every year. Not just because they want to dress as something different, but because these mass-produced getups are often so shoddily made that they rarely make it through the night in one piece, much less until next year. Save your money, spare the planet the resources involved in the production of yet another flimsy costume and dress yourself this year! The internet is your best friend when it comes to ideas for costumes. Check out these offerings from The Daily Green as a start!

#3: Reuse and Recycle in Decorating

Many Halloween decorations are much like the store-bought costumes: cheaply made and rarely reusable. A lot of resources are used to produce them, and since they don’t last, more are produced every year and then thrown away again. Use natural elements to decorate instead: pumpkins, gourds, leaves and other fall flourishes, all of which can be composted afterwards.

You can also reuse items you already have around the house. Clothes stuffed with leaves or crumpled newspaper make great scarecrows. Old sheets or pillowcases can be shredded to make spooky hangings. Milk gallons can make some creepy skulls. Get creative!

If you do prefer to buy your decorations, shop for quality. Choose items that will last, and can be reused multiple times to cut down on waste and save yourself from having to buy new ones each year.

#4: Natural Treats

Don’t get me wrong; candy is great. But the usual variety pack of candy bars isn’t particularly healthy for you or the environment. If you’re looking for something a little more eco-friendly, try organic treats. They’re produced using less chemicals, pesticides, synthetic ingredients and over-processed sugar, making them healthier and greener at the same time. Check out sites like The Natural Candy Store to order, or look in your grocery store’s organic aisle.

You can also try local produce — apples, mini pumpkins and other produce may not be traditional, but using them in place of candy for giveaways or your own party is healthy, eliminates plastic wrappers and supports local farmers.

#5: Turn Out the Lights

Halloween is the perfect holiday for conserving energy. There are all kinds of lighting options that don’t require much electricity and can also provide the perfect eerie atmosphere.

Candles are the obvious choice. They give off a flickering glow perfect for any Halloween event and, of course, require zero energy. And open flames aren’t your only option — old cans with patterns punched into the sides make great lanterns that can throw any number of creepy patterns onto your walls. Painted jars can also give off a nice, eerie glow.

If you prefer string lights (which seem to come in every shape, size, color and holiday-appropriate design known to man), be sure to get LEDs, which last 100 times longer than incandescents, use MUCH less energy and don’t produce heat like the traditional bulbs.

Have more suggestions? Share them in the comments!