Have an eco-friendly Halloween and aim for zero-waste this October

October 28, 2019 by  
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Holidays and celebrations can take a toll on the environment. Between waste and consumption, Halloween festivities leave behind a giant carbon footprint. But with a little purposeful planning, your holiday can be fun and eco-friendly at the same time.  Go plastic free Obviously plastic is problematic for the planet from the petroleum used in production to the lack of sustainable disposal options. With some foresight you can mostly avoid plastic in favor of alternatives. For costumes, shop local or make your own so you can see plastic parts and avoid shipping packaging. Make costumes from natural fibers such as organic cotton or hemp. Use accessories of metal or wood. Swap out plastic trick-or-treat buckets with pillow cases or reusable shopping bags. Related: Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween Multi-purpose decor One way to cut back on the “stuff” you accumulate for the holiday is to think seasonally. Focus on decor that can serve throughout the fall season rather than just until Halloween. Hay bales, corn stocks, pumpkins, gourds and potted plants create a welcoming display at the front door that is both sustainable and inviting well past Thanksgiving. Inside the home, target the classic sights, sounds and smells of fall with pumpkin spice candles, reflective glass displays and wreaths from burlap, straw or herbs. Organic plant-based food Holidays are for celebrating with friends and Halloween is the perfect time to invite your favorite witches and demons over for a party. Since it’s always in season to be nice to the planet, plan your party around organic (no pesticides and other toxins in the water and soil), plant-based (sans the carbon footprint of meat production) food . Make taco dip with tortilla headstones, adorable pumpkin cookies, a veggie platter in the shape of a skeleton or individual spider pizzas. Save gas Reducing gas consumption avoids the need for more oil drilling and limits your contribution to air pollution. Pick up your party supplies in advance when you are already running other errands to avoid extra trips to the store. Also, stay in your neighborhood for trick or treating if possible. Zero waste Aim for zero waste during Halloween as a challenge to yourself and your family. Work together to brainstorm ways to keep trash from taking over the holiday. Using the real plates and utensils is a great start, but you can avoid the need for dinnerware altogether by creating a menu consisting only of finger foods. Drag out the cloth napkins, too. Avoid throwing out your costume at the end of the holiday by using recyclable materials such as cardboard or save the outfit for another occasion. Be sure to donate or resell when it’s time for the final goodbye. Go second hand If Halloween is really your season to shine and you enjoy widespread decorating, spend some time at the local thrift shop where holiday decor comes in year-round. While you might still end up with non eco-friendly materials like plastic , giving those items a second life keeps them out of landfills. This is also true for costumes, lawn decorations and clothing. Tricks and treats Candy has become an integral part of the holiday and you can enjoy a treat without contributing to wasteful consumption. Start by setting a reasonable limit. While it’s fun to be out with the kids on Halloween, the treats they gather shouldn’t last until Valentine’s Day. There’s not much you can do about the plastic you’ll acquire during your trip around the neighborhood, but you can do your part when it comes to making a conscience choice about what you hand out at your door. Shop from fair trade companies and look for sustainable packaging. Also consider non-candy items or offer up a trick instead. Cut the electric bill You can enjoy your party without a spike in electrical use by making a few simple changes. Skip the TV shows and music and consider cutting the electricity all together. Halloween is the perfect occasion to take the party outside to celebrate around a wood fire under the stars and the harvest moon. Drop some submersible LED lights in the bottom of the apple dunk barrel and use solar lights to create paths or designate gathering areas. If the weather in your area isn’t cooperating with a nature party, bring it inside for a blackout party instead. Grab the solar lights from the yard and further illuminate the space with beeswax candles displayed on reflective metal or glass plates. For entertainment, share spooky stories and explain the history of the holiday to the younger generations.  Halloween is a ghoulishly fun holiday, but it doesn’t have to have a gastly impact on the planet. Set an example for your kids, guests and neighbors with thoughtful decor, costumes and party ideas that just may inspire them to make Halloween a real treat for the planet, too. Images via Shutterstock

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Have an eco-friendly Halloween and aim for zero-waste this October

How to have a plastic-free Halloween

October 21, 2019 by  
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Reducing plastic waste in a world that seems to be wrapped in it is no easy task, and that challenge is multiplied when it comes to holidays. From gift giving to decorations, plastic is everywhere. To avoid it takes a conscientious effort and a plan. With Halloween festivities on the horizon, we’ve put one together for you. When planning for a plastic-free Halloween, remember to encompass all aspects of the event to eliminate the greatest amount of waste. Costumes Trick-or-treating is an important element of the holiday for most kids. Even those that don’t head out for the door-to-door ritual find themselves needing a costume for a school dance, community event or house party. Even adults participate in the fun. Costumes create an opportunity to invite plastic into your home, especially ensembles that are store-bought. Order one online, and you’ll likely see additional plastic in the packaging. Related: Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween The best way to avoid plastic in your costume is to make it yourself . Focus on cloth designs, especially those with organic cotton and other natural fibers . Also, look for ways to use paper or cardboard instead of plastic. Watch those accessories, too: plastic belts, pistols, staffs and hats. If you can’t go entirely plastic-free to complete the look, at least avoid new plastic by borrowing or buying secondhand. Decorations Decorations are to blame for massive amounts of plastic. Skip the giant inflatable ghost or skeleton on the front lawn in favor of a more eco-friendly wood or metal option. Build a haunted house out of a giant cardboard box, or pull together those wood scraps to carve out a black cat. Old pallet boards make fun and easy decor a possibility. You can create single signs or stack boards of different sizes on a stake for a spooky or friendly front porch decor option. Inside the home, Halloween wreaths will last for many years if they are made from burlap, straw or hemp . Accessorize with mini pumpkins, berries, fall leaves or wood cutouts for a look that incorporates the elements of fall. For the mantle and other surfaces, look to the natural options around you. Carve a pumpkin or decorate the outside with a cloth hat and a painted-on face. Similarly, carve out apples and use them as candle votives. Glass is another fantastic decor material that produces light and color in fun ways. Use paint to decorate canning jars, or fill them with LED lights to use as centerpieces or hanging decor around the pergola. Use glass platters or bowls to display your spooky collection of ceramic witches combined with pine cones. If you already have plastic items in your home, get as much life out of them as you can. It’s more damaging to trash them while they’re still useful than to reuse them. Just replace items with plastic-free options when the time comes. Party items Halloween parties are a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday. But make sure your celebration honors the planet with plastic-free options that everyone can enjoy. Pass on the plastic cups in favor of regular glassware, and provide dishware and silverware. If you don’t have enough dishes, elect for paper plates over Styrofoam or plastic. For a silverware shortage, try planning your meal around finger-foods instead. Serving delectable, utensil-free meals saves on both garbage and cleanup. For games, go with the traditional bobbing for apples or pinning the (paper) hat on the (cardboard) witch. Food and candy A quick visit to Pinterest will provide a ghastly number of finger-food appetizers that require no plastic to make or serve. But you might find it challenging to purchase food without the plastic component. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a good option. Create hot dog or sausage mummies by wrapping them with strips of croissant dough. Make a scary taco dip with a spider web designed out of sour cream and use chips as your utensils. Of course, just about any sandwich or tortilla can be cut into the shape of a bat for an easy treat. Related: This year, dish out these eco-friendly Halloween treats For dessert, dish up brownies or pumpkin-shaped cookies, or fill candy bowls with bulk options rather than individually-wrapped treats. Trick-or-treating When it’s time to canvas the neighborhood, bypass the plastic pumpkin or bag. Instead, employ a reusable shopping bag or even a standard pillowcase to haul treats. You won’t be able to avoid the plastic that others hand out in their homes, but you can take charge in deciding what treats you give the goblins and superheroes that appear at your door. Stay away from plastic trinkets and give out wooden pencils, small books, reusable straws or friendship bracelets instead. Look for individually paper-wrapped candies to skirt the plastic waste. You can also offer homemade goodies, although many parents will pass on accepting them as a safety precaution. Small apples also make a waste-free option. Of course, you could avoid the “treat” portion altogether and perform your best joke, imitation or magic gag to fulfill the offered “trick” option instead. Halloween is a fun season full of parties and festivities. With a little forethought, it can be free of plastic, too. Images via Shutterstock

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How to have a plastic-free Halloween

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 21, 2019: A More Sustainable Halloween!

October 21, 2019 by  
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A spooky Halloween doesn’t have to be a horror show … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 21, 2019: A More Sustainable Halloween! appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 21, 2019: A More Sustainable Halloween!

Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

October 10, 2019 by  
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With spooky season upon us, consider illuminating your jack-o’-lanterns in an eco-friendly way. But what are some good light sources to place within or even near pumpkins? You, of course, want to avoid toxins from certain sources, so here are some of Inhabitat’s sustainable suggestions this autumn. Soy or beeswax candles Steer clear of paraffin, because it is a petroleum-based product that produces soot. Paraffin candles have also been known to release acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, naphthalene and toluene — all of which are toxins . Instead, choose “cleaner” candles made either of soy or beeswax. These options are all-natural, burn at lower temperatures, and last longer — ensuring a healthier light to place within your carved pumpkins. Related: Time to put the flame out — scented candles can cause disease and poor air quality Flameless LED artificial lights LED lights can be in the form of tea lights, string lights, even bike lights — making them wonderful choices for your jack-o’-lanterns. They are, after all, more energy-efficient and have longer lifespans than other types of artificial lighting. They are also a safer choice for inside a pumpkin because they don’t emit much heat, thereby lowering the risk of fire. They can operate at a wide range of temperatures — whether hot or cold — without significant degradation. For these reasons, LED lights are safer and more budget-friendly for a sustainable Halloween. Solar lights Go green this year by utilizing your garden decor to fashion a solar-powered jack-o’-lantern. How does one solarize pumpkins? First, you’ll have to allow your solar garden lights to collect energy from the sun throughout the day. While your yard’s solar lights are soaking up the sun, that is when you can cut out the bottom of your carved pumpkins. Then, at night, you can place those jack-o-lanterns atop the now-glowing solar garden lights. Voila! Your yard will come alive with solarized jack-o’-lanterns to ghoulishly light up your Halloween night . So this Halloween, if the kids are asking why your pumpkins have bigger smiles, goofier faces or even epic expressions, you can explain that it is all because they are all lit up in EEK-o-friendlier ways. Via Chester Energy and Policy Image via David Menidrey

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Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween

10 sustainable Halloween decorations for your green home

October 17, 2018 by  
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Halloween is just around the corner, but when it comes to decorating your home for the spooky holiday, it can be a challenge to keep things eco-friendly. Most store-bought decorations are made with non-recyclable plastic and covered in toxic paint or synthetic fabrics. But there is no need for frivolous spending and waste when it comes to decorating for Halloween. There are some great DIY ideas that you can use to upcycle things that are already lying around your house, allowing you to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. Egg carton bats Upcycle your egg cartons by using them as bat decorations. With some non-toxic black paint, ribbons, glue and googly eyes, you can make these cute egg carton bats from Crafts By Courtney. Bed sheet ghosts This idea is extremely easy, and all it takes is some old white bed sheets, leaves or newspaper and some string. Simply stuff your old sheets with leaves or newspaper and tie some string around the sheet to make the head. Then, hang them from  trees  to add a spooky effect to your front yard. Related: 6 DIY Halloween decorations made with upcycled materials Milk jug skeleton Dairy containers can come in handy when it comes to making sustainable Halloween decor. Save your old milk jugs and turn them into skeletons with string, scissors, a craft knife, glue and a hole punch. This idea from the Recycle Guys is a fun project to do with your kids, and it won’t cost you any more than the price of the milk you already drink. Yarn spider webs This simple Halloween decorating idea comes from Instructables , and all you need is yarn and scissors. Start by laying out a basic horizontal and vertical frame from the yarn, and then start weaving more yarn to make a web. You can find the step-by-step instructions here . Giant trash bag spiders If you put spider webs on your front porch, then it makes sense to add some giant spiders . According to Money Crashers, you will need some large black trash bags, leaves or newspaper, zip ties and a glue gun to make this creepy crawly. Mad scientist lab With some mason jars — or old baby food, pickle, olive or sauce jars — you can turn your home into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Put animal toys, eyeballs or other strange objects into each jar with some water and non-toxic or natural food coloring, and fill a shelf (or a window) with some crazy Halloween experiments . Mummy cereal boxes Who doesn’t have some old bed sheets lying around that don’t fit any bed in the house? I know I do, and white ones make the perfect Halloween craft item. Cut the fabric of an old sheet into thin strips, and cover a cereal or cracker box with the sheet pieces to make it look like a mummy . Then, add some googly eyes to make the perfect mummified decoration. Front yard cemetery With some used cardboard boxes, non-toxic paint, scissors and wood stakes, you can turn your front yard into a cemetery for Halloween. Make tombstones to place all over your yard, and if you add some artificial moss from a craft store, it will make it look even more authentic. For something you can use year after year, create your own tombstones from concrete . Ghostly lights Yet another idea for used milk jugs , you can make ghost lights with black construction paper, string LED lights , some googly eyes and a little glue. You can light up your walkway or front porch with these little ghosts. Gourds This is an obvious eco-friendly choice, but you don’t have to limit yourself to carving pumpkins for Halloween. Instead, you can wrap gourds in bows or paint them with non-toxic paint to create environmentally friendly decorations. If you want to keep things really simple, use plain gourds and pumpkins to decorate your dinner table, add some color to your front porch or line your steps or walkway. Then, compost your pumpkins and gourds after Halloween to help fertilize your garden. It is possible to go green at Halloween, you just have to look around the house for items that you can reuse to help reduce the problem of holiday waste. The options are endless when it comes to DIY  eco-friendly Halloween decorations. When you opt to make a few instead of buying plastic items at the store, the environment will thank you. Via  Care2 and Apartment Guide Images via Gurney Halleck , Quazie , Lenore Edman and Shutterstock

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Voting has begun in the Green Halloween Costume Contest

October 28, 2016 by  
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Attention all ghouls and goblins. With the spookiest of holidays just around the corner, crafty DIY costumes are beginning to pop up everywhere, and voting has officially begun for finalists in Inhabitots’ Green Halloween costume contest . Got a creatively handmade, recycled, and/or repurposed costume? We want to see it! There’s still time to enter your costume here , and you can also check out the other entrants and vote for your favorites here > VOTE HERE > ENTER THE CONTEST HERE >

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Voting has begun in the Green Halloween Costume Contest

Melbourne architects renovate an 1880s Victorian home for the 21st century

October 28, 2016 by  
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The architects used white brick for the exterior of the house, as well as elements of the interior, including the fireplace . Natural materials such as cedar timber and hardwood dominate the verandah and extend into the interior. This combination reflects the varied mix of industrial and residential buildings, garages and outbuildings in the neighborhood. Related: Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living A simple white palette dominates the interior and is set off with elements in grey concrete, colored timber and grey tint mirrors. The front of the house was upgraded, while the rear features a new L-shaped open-plan kitchen, living and dining area with large glass doors that open onto the rear verandah. + ITN Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Patrick Rodriguez

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Melbourne architects renovate an 1880s Victorian home for the 21st century

Calling all creative costume makers – enter the Inhabitots Green Halloween Costume Contest!

October 13, 2016 by  
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Are you making an out-of-the-box Halloween costume from scratch? If so, show it off on Inhabitots! Our annual Green Halloween costume contest hosted by Inhabitots kicks off today, and we’re on a mission to find the most creatively handmade, recycled and/or repurposed Halloween costumes made for babies , kids , pets and families . Along with all the fame that comes from entering our contest, you could also win an adorable handmade critter coat from the good folks at Little Goodall . Read on for more details about the contest, the awesome prizes, and how to enter. If you have amazingly innovative costume-making skills, here’s your chance to show the world! ENTER INHABITOTS’ GREEN HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST HERE > THE PRIZES 1st PRIZE WINNER The first prize winner, determined by our judges scoring, will have their pick of one warm, cozy, hand-made critter coat from Little Goodall . Critter hoices include: lion, wolf, fox, butterfly, owl, leopard, dinosaur, bear, robot, raccoon, bunny, and more! There are even adult-sized critter coats for you grownups who want in on the action. 2ND PLACE WINNER Judges scoring will also determine the second place will, who will receive their choice of adorable hand-made critter coat from Little Goodall . READER’S CHOICE PRIZE The costume that receives the highest number of votes on our online finalist page will win a “Reader’s Choice” prize or one critter coat from Little Goodall , so encourage your friends and family to vote! Submissions will be posted and open to public voting soon after they are received, so make sure to submit early to get the most amount of votes possible. Online voting will likely begin before Halloween. ENTER HERE!

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Calling all creative costume makers – enter the Inhabitots Green Halloween Costume Contest!

LAST CHANCE: Vote for your favorite Green Halloween Costume Contest finalist!

November 3, 2015 by  
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We asked you to submit your incredible DIY costumes to our Green Halloween Costume Contest , and we were amazed with what you came up with. Now it’s time to vote for your favorite costume to win a $3000 VANMOOF Electrified bike ! We’ve narrowed down our entries to the cream of the crop, and the costume that racks up the most votes by the stroke of midnight will win our grand prize – so check out our 17 finalists and vote today ! VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE COSTUME >

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LAST CHANCE: Vote for your favorite Green Halloween Costume Contest finalist!

HOW TO: Grow your own mushrooms from recycled cardboard and coffee grounds

November 3, 2015 by  
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Book lovers and coffee drinkers no doubt have an excess of cardboard and coffee grounds on their hands. But before you chuck them in the recycling bin, why not consider reusing those materials to grow mushrooms? It may sound strange at first, but nutrient-rich coffee grounds and corrugated cardboard are a match made in mushroom heaven. All you’ll need is a plastic container cleaned with rubbing alcohol and perforated with four to six quarter-inch holes; corrugated cardboard that’s been soaked in water for at least one to two days; quality mushroom spawn that can be found online; and spent coffee grounds, ideally from the day-of. Starting with the cardboard, layer the materials in the container like you would lasagna and cover each sprinkle of spawn with coffee grounds. Then, watch the magic happen! + A Piece of Rainbow The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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HOW TO: Grow your own mushrooms from recycled cardboard and coffee grounds

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