The kids are back in school, the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are beginning to fall—and that must mean Halloween is upon us! As you think about costumes, decorations, and trick-or-treating, consider incorporating some green into this orange and black holiday. It’s easier than you think to reduce your impact on the environment while maximizing your Halloween fun!
A great way to get your whole family into the ghostly Halloween spirit is by working together to decorate the house and yard. You actually don’t even need to purchase new decorations. It’s less expensive—and often more fun—to make your own decorations out of everyday plastic items you may already have in your home.
For example, you can make plastic pumpkins out of the plastic orange tablecloths frequently seen at Halloween parties. Inexpensive and festive, these coverings add color to your gatherings while helping to protect your table. Instead of throwing out these tablecloths after use, let your kids draw jack-o’-lantern faces on them. Then cut the faces into circles, stuff them with crumpled plastic grocery store bags, and hang them from trees in your yard. Because they’re made of plastic, these pumpkin decorations are durable and weather-resistant. And when you’re done, you can reuse the plastic bag “stuffing” or recycle it at a participating grocery or retail store.
Another fun way to repurpose plastic household items is to decorate your front yard or porch with handcrafted Halloween luminaries made from one-gallon plastic milk jugs. Use your imagination to paint the jugs with scary Halloween scenes; light them up with a string of white outdoor Christmas lights; then hang them on trees or line your walkway. Best of all, once Halloween is over, these luminaries can be recycled curbside in programs that accept milk jugs—or you just might want to save them to use again next year.
On Halloween night, your kids will need a bag to collect all of their sweet treats. Instead of using a lifeless pillowcase, why not crochet your own trick-or-treat bag out of orange plastic newspaper bags? Add a plastic milk jug base for sturdiness and structure, and your homemade candy tote should stand up to many years of trick-or-treating fun!
Of course, a favorite part of Halloween is the costumes, and the reusable plastics you have in your home give you almost endless options. For example, a scuba diver costume—featuring soda-bottle oxygen tanks—is a unique idea that you and your child can have fun creating together. Plastic bottles are also great for robot costumes, especially when bottles of different shapes and sizes are combined. Looking for something out of this world? Grab some plastic cups and plates, a paintbrush, and some green paint, and transform your little one into an alien.
Many everyday plastic items can become part of a decoration or costume, from used packaging material to old computer parts to plastic trashcans. Remember, Halloween is a time to get creative, so use your imagination, think green, have fun—and let us know what you come up with! Use the comments section below to share your Halloween creation made possible by reusing plastics.