Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greening Halloween

When the kiddo comes back from her dad's this time, i plan to have a wonderfully scary Halloween wonderland for her to play with outside. Of course, every time she goes away i start plotting all these wonderful ways i will exacerbate my split-mother's guilt; through elaborate game setups, sparkling clean rooms, and treats beyond compare... but this time it's going to be different.

Different in the amount of effort i put forth, and different than other homes in our neighborhood. You are not going to find a bunch of plugged-in, blow-up ghosts on this lawn, or a rash of neon orange globes dotting the sidewalk. Like other holidays around this house, this one is celebrated and honored as a time to make memories -- not a time to bust down to the local Wal-Mart and buy more stuff.

There is perhaps no other holiday that can be so rooted in nature than Halloween. The colors of this holiday are red, orange, yellow, black, faded green... all the colors that you see when you look outside on a crisp autumn day. So with a massive yard behind our house, we have a wonderland of Halloween possibilities. In our garden, five jack-o-lanterns have been growing all summer. They're now ready to be carved into scary Frankensteins or a sweet Hello Kitty. To light them, a lot of people are using energy-saving LED's -- to cut down on our petroleum consumption. Though since i am also into the Not Buying Stuff mode, i may just use the stack of tea lights we already have at the house.

Another by-product of a busy summer is a lot of tall grass on the fringes of the yard. I plan to gather some of that and build a scarecrow. For the scarecrow's garb i plan on using some of the old clothes that are bound for Goodwill and filling up the garage. This spooky Halloween man will serve an added purpose -- its original one -- keeping the crows out of the yard where the baby chickens are!

Some of the other stuff one could do to 'decorate' for Halloween can be done with stuff you find around the house. Another eco-blogger has some ideas for creating centerpieces out of harvest produce, and spooky candle holders out of old cans. The point is, little needs to be thrown away, and little needs to be bought. If you don't have the luxury of having a bountiful backyard, a trip to the local park will fetch you the leaves you need to make a lovely centerpiece.

As for costumes, we buy very little in the way of new stuff every year. Each year i inevitably go to more than one party on more than one night. So for this, a well-appointed Halloween box comes in very handy. It's stocked with old wacky clothes i didn't want in my closet anymore, bits of ribbon and cloth, and of course, wigs. There are a million possibilities for my brown mullet wig, and my sultry black one. I have worn each of these in at least three different configurations. My daughter's costumes, like mine were when i was growing up, were made with love by mother. I always wanted one of those plastic Wonder Woman masks with the plastic shift as an outfit, but now that look back, that stuff was pretty awful. My mom's creativity always won us prizes for best costumes, and now, though i may not be as creative as she was, i am proud to send my little one off in a homemade getup.

What comes last in this post is perhaps first in my kiddo's mind, when she thinks of Halloween. It's no longer that plausible, or perhaps just socially acceptable, to serve up mama's popcorn balls to the unknown neighborhood masses. But at least you could consider Fair Trade and organic chocolate, lollipops, jellybeans, and candy bars. For the people i know, i plan to make up a batch of candied apples from the apple tree in the backyard. But for everyone else, i give you permission to spend money on good treats.

1 comment:

Cristina said...

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