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Saturdays with Shavara

Saturdays with Shavara

Greetings my ghoulish green goblin friends and welcome back for another addition of Saturdays with Shavara! We’ve reached that time of year where entering into any retail location means being bombarded with advertisements to participate in this oh so fun, but slightly wasteful holiday. Of course, this year is going to look a little different than years prior with celebrating during a pandemic, but nonetheless I felt myself being swept up in the excitement of this candy utopian inspired holiday as soon as I entered my local grocery store. After getting my candy fix, I joined the checkout line weighted down by my numerous bags of candy and suddenly thought back to a meme I had recently come across that was not only chuckle worthy, but thought provoking; “What’s spookier than a ghost? All the plastic we’ve ever used still being in existence!” Spooky indeed, plastic the material that haunts my dreams and our landfills. I left the store with my guilt filled purchase, which might I add was wrapped in plastic and contained a hundred or so small candies also wrapped in plastic. With my candy package secured in hand I began to wonder just what could make one of my favorite holidays a little more sustainable and how could we come to still celebrate this wonderous spooktacular night when many traditional activities won’t be going on.

According to a report done by CNN, roughly 172 million Americans celebrate Halloween every year, and 69% of them hand out candy, which may be different this year, however candy purchases are still seen to be on the uprise even with traditional door to door fun of collecting candy on pause. On average most families that participate in this ghoulish celebration spend about $86 dollars on decorations, candy and their costumes totaling out to about $8.8 billion spent in the United Sates. An interesting fact I discovered while researching Halloween is that it is the second largest holiday after Christmas for purchasing decorations and unfortunately most of those decorations are made from non-recyclable plastic material. There are some relatively easy ways to lower the amount of spooky waste associated with All Hallows Eve one way is to reuse or upcycle Halloween costumes from previous years. Create a fun scavenger hunt for the kids and challenge them to create unique and original costumes by checking out local thrift stores… who knows maybe we’ll see some Vampires of Energy, Captain Planet’s or Mother Earth’s celebrating this year! When you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your costume and no longer need it opt to host a costume swap party or donate it versus tossing it in the trash. 

Get your kids excited about making better environmental choices by breaking out the arts and crafts box to make your own face paint from cornstarch, body lotion, water and food coloring. If you want to take it up a notch further consider making all your decorations from recycled goods and things found in nature. We often purchase our decorations based on convenience, but I urge you to shop mindfully by selecting items like real local grown pumpkins over the ever-popular plastic ones. When your done with your pumpkin make every effort to use it completely up from roasting the pumpkin seeds, to making the days following another reason to gather by hosting a pumpkin compost party. Old cardboard boxes make for great DIY tombstones and can also work as props in bean bag toss games when you create spooky ghost or pumpkin bean bags made from old socks and fill them with rice you can create an entirely eco-friendly activity for all. Old panty hose shredded up look eerily similar to spider webs. I know sometimes those creative juices just aren’t flowing like you want them to, so when you do purchase decorations look for items that can be reused for many years to come.

Going door to door and proudly showing off your costume in exchange for candy is by far my favorite part of the holiday and sadly that may not happen this year for many of us, but with innovative thinking there are so many ways to enjoy the spirit of the night all in the comfort of home. Host a costume fashion show, judging based on who was most creative in the upcycling of their costume, you can also have children go door to door in their own home and collect candy from different members of your family!  I always look forward to the end of the night when I can see my spoils from the night, but the truth is it’s always far more candy than most can eat (without getting a serious tummy ache or cavity), with this year being such a unique opportunity for society to cut down on the food waste associated with the candy typically collected take the time to discuss with your kids that although this year looks different than previous Halloweens the ghouls and goblins appreciate the environmental benefit to minimal candy related waste.

My final tip for the Spooktacular night is if you are going out to an event go in groups and opt to walk, carpool or ride your bike as much as you can.  The fun of the holiday doesn’t have to disappear just because our use of plastic, food waste and textile waste does. Putting a small twist on the earlier mentioned meme “What’s scarier than a ghost? An informed person who doesn’t make small changes when they can.” Now let’s get out there and have a very Happy Halloween, while Reducing, Reusing and Recycling when we can.

KOB's very own Content Writer, 

Shavara J.