The warmth of summer is fading into a new season here at Rider. The weather is starting to grow colder, and darkness is arriving earlier. All of this is fitting, as the end of this month draws nearer and the anticipation grows. Students are bustling with excitement, picking out costumes and planning for parties. We’re not just ready for the cold — we’re ready to get spooky. But are we also ready to stay sustainable as things start to get scary?
Halloween is a sugarcoated holiday that we all love, but we usually only think of the candy, the costumes and the craziness. We should be considering our environmental impact as well. Luckily, there are many ways to ensure that Halloween is as fun as always, but still stays sustainable.
Candy consumption is, to many, one of the most important parts of the holiday. The desire for sweets doesn’t fade as we get older. However, it’s better to invest in organic forms of candy. For example, instead of buying or eating just any lollipop, consider Yummy Earth Organic lollipops. They’re chemical-free and delicious. If you’re more of a chocolate lover, think about Endangered Species Chocolate Bug Bites. According to organiclife.com, the cocoa comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, so forests aren’t leveled in the process of providing the candy. It can be found at Whole Foods, less than 10 minutes away from Rider. In addition, The Washington Post reports that households throw out between 14 and 25 percent of the food they purchase. Don’t buy or take more candy than you know you can enjoy, as throwing pounds of it away just adds to the growing problem of food waste in the United States.
Whether at Halloween parties or walking across campus, students are sure to be strutting in their costumes this year. However, is it worth buying a costume when you can just recycle old ones? If you’re not into repeating looks, consider making your own costume from clothes you already own, or buying from thrift and consignment stores. There are plenty close to Rider, from Green Street Consignment in Princeton to Plato’s Closet right off Rt. 1. Some of the least expensive used clothing can be found at the Rescue Mission in Trenton, a couple of blocks from the old site of Rider College.
Instead of buying plastic masks that will ultimately end up in the garbage anyway, consider buying cruelty-free makeup and painting your face. It’s not only sustainable; it’s more creative.
Going green for Halloween also happens in the small things. If you’re decorating your dorm or home, try to avoid plastic decorations and remember to turn off all spooky lights when you leave. Instead of buying a plastic or wasteful candy bag, use a canvas bag you already own or even a pillowcase. Buy pumpkins grown locally, and don’t forget to compost or use them before they go bad and add to the food waste.
We can still celebrate Halloween but the way we do it and the impact it has can improve greatly. In addition, remember that staying sustainable is not something that disappears as holidays come and go. Sustainability is a lifestyle, and even as everything turns to black and orange, and then to candy-cane red and white, it is important always to stay green.
Lawrenceville Eco Rep
Printed in the 10/28/15 issue.