Have a Green Halloween!

Photo by Kathy Newton

Halloween is just a week away! The Zoo has been celebrating with HallZOOween every weekend in October.  How will you be celebrating? Scary costumes, carved pumpkins, candy galore? However you celebrate, think about doing so in a sustainable way this Halloween. There are many easy ways to be green this Halloween.

  • If your little ghouls and goblins are trick or treating, have them collect their candy in a reusable bag made from sturdy material so it will last for many Halloweens to come. Pillow cases, reusable grocery sacks and canvas bags all make great vessels for collecting tasty treats. By using a bag that can be used again and again, not just for candy but for other items as well throughout the year, you will prevent plastic bags from filling up the landfill which reduces wildlife habitats, causes pollution and burns fossils fuels when transporting trash.
  • Get creative with costumes! Make something from items you already may have at home, or shop at a thrift store to give the costume some pizazz. If you are really crafty, considering sewing your own costume. Re-purpose items like a broken, black umbrella that can be turned into a bat. Or, swap costumes with other families and friends to give those store-bought costumes a second, third or even fourth life.  Many store-bought, pre-made costumes are made from plastic or vinyl, and are more likely to contain chemicals that are harmful for you and the environment. They typically do not last as long either.
  • As you share treats with the colorful, costumed boys and girls in your neighborhood, be mindful of the candy you pass out. Invest in organic candy if you can, avoid individually wrapped candy if possible, or try passing out non-candy items such as pencils, crayons or coins this year. If you do pass out traditional candy, invest in brands that are committed to using sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is used in products all over the world such as soaps, cosmetics, and many different candies and snacks. One species the Zoo works hard to preserve and protect is the Sumatran orangutan, which stands on the edge of extinction in the wild because their rain forest habitat is rapidly disappearing due to palm oil plantations. Luckily, there are companies out there that are aware of this issue and are dedicated to using sustainable palm oil. For a complete list thanks to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, click here.
  • The Cincinnati Zoo has also been dedicated to raising awareness about palm oil, and developed a ‘Sustainable Shopper App”. As consumers, we can choose to buy products made with sustainable palm oil as certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The Sustainable Shopper app connects you with more than 500 products manufactured by RSPO-certified companies. For more information and to download the app, click here.
  • Light the way using LED flashlights with reusable batteries, and/or petroleum free candles.
  • Grow your own pumpkins for Jack-O-Lanterns, and when the spooky night comes to an end, compost the castaways.

There are many ways to have a green Halloween this season! Doing so will help save natural resources, reduce waste and promote awareness for the conservation of species.

Photo by Kathy Newton