Leaves are finally falling off of the trees, people are acting strangely and there are scary things on the news all day — not only is it election season, it’s almost Halloween. In the holiday spirit, I went through the history of the Green Corner to find out what the Eco Reps and Rider community have thought about when this time of year rolls around.
In the last seven years of the Green Corner, the Eco Reps connected sustainability and Halloween four times. In 2011, Westminster Eco Rep Gillian Eshleman wrote that Halloween costume swapping parties are great ways to reuse and recycle your old costumes.
“You can bring in your old costumes and trade with friends. Not only is this the best way of reusing what you have, but it also gives you another reason to have a party,” Gillian said (2011. Reduce, reuse, recycle your costumes).
That’s reason enough for me. Now the trouble will be finding someone who could put a 4th-grader-sized Frankenstein costume to use.
Much has changed over the years, but American’s love for Halloween never will. In 2012, Lawrenceville Eco Rep Sharlis Thompson reported that “according to nationalretailfederation.com, Americans love this holiday so much we spend about $8 billion a year on it,” (2012. Dreaming of a green Halloween). Sharlis said that to save money and collect as much candy as possible “use a reusable bag that can be purchased for as little as $0.99.”
Reusable bags are not only environmentally friendly but also hold way more candy than plastic bags do. Sounds like a win-win to me.
However, candy isn’t all that’s exciting about Halloween. It’s a strange feeling, but a lot of people actually enjoy getting scared on Halloween. A sure way of satisfying that feeling is encountering a classic Halloween animal: the bat. Lawrenceville Eco Rep Sarah Bergen reported in 2014 that “a recent study in Science magazine revealed that bats save the U.S. agriculture industry up to $53 billion each year” (2014. Shedding light on the creatures of the night). Sarah furthers that, according to bettervegetablegardening.com, “guano, or bat feces, is an excellent fertilizer that offers high amounts of minor and trace minerals, nitrogen and phosphorus that help plants thrive.” Scary as they may be, bats have an incredible and unprecedented effect on both the environment and agriculture.
Last year, Samantha Sawh, The Rider News’ own Opinion Editor and Lawrenceville Eco Rep, reminded us how to snack hard and conserve hard. Rather than picking up familiar brand names, Sam suggests Yummy Earth Organic lollipops and Endangered Species Chocolate Bug Bites which are environmentally conscious, affordable and delicious, so we can be sustainable and still snack hard. She also suggested picking up costumes from local thrift and consignment shops like Green Street Consignment in Princeton, Plato’s Closet off Route 1 and Rescue Mission in Trenton. If you’re using makeup in your costume, Sam also advocates buying cruelty-free makeup and even painting your face. She writes that “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” (2015. Mixing a little green in your witch’s brew).
As going green becomes more affordable and convenient without compromising the traditions we know and love around the holidays, it is getting so much easier to be sustainable while fully enjoying Halloween. A great way to get in the spirit this year is by going over to Rider’s first Scream Screen, a Halloween themed drive-in movie. The 40’ x 22’ blow-up screen will project “It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” all while trunk-or-treat stations give out candy, coupons, T-shirts and more.
Over the years, the Eco Reps have put together so many great tips and reminders to green your Halloween that will only be improved upon in years to come. So as you get ready for the holiday, remember to stay safe, have fun and be green. (Also, watch out for those clowns.)
Lawrenceville Eco Rep
Printed in the 10/26/16 issue.