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Ghosts, goblins and the GreenMan

Anna Gorman | Friday, October 28, 2011

With the tailgating season wrapping up, you’re probably wondering — how can I go green now? Don’t you worry, the holiday season is beginning with Halloween on Monday. While I’ll save my Thanksgiving and Christmas tips for a little later, greening Halloween is a great way to get a trial run in before the overwhelming chaos of turkey takes over.

So let’s get down to it, the two big C’s: costumes and candy. While I’m a little late in informing you of National Costume Swap Day (occurring every year on the second Saturday in October), it’s not too late to swap with a friend. Dig in your closets and see what you can come up with. Hit the local Goodwill and find yourself a treasure. If half the kids in the US swapped their costumes, landfill waste would be reduced by 6,250 tons. Also, think of those store-bought costumes that come in that nasty plastic packaging and reek of chemicals — where does all that plastic come from and where does all of it go? Or get crafty. Some hand stitching goes a long way, or whip out that glue gun you’ve been hiding under your bed (if DuLac hasn’t banned them?). I’m sure there are many other things you’d rather be spending your money on as well. We’re college kids, we’re supposed to be thrifty. I’ll be scouting this weekend, so make me proud.

Now for candy and other noms. If you’re going to go for the traditional Snickers, Kit Kat or other packaged sugaryness, please don’t litter with your wrappers or throw them away haphazardly. Recycle and reuse. Make a bracelet, a purse or picture frame, if not for you, for a sibling or parent — you know they love that type of thing. If you’re willing to shell out some extra cash, there are dozens of websites that sell organic treats and Fair Trade certified chocolates. Go seasonal with your treats, if you can. Apples are always a great choice. Think about it — baked apples, caramel apples, apple picking, bobbing for apples, applesauce making, apple pie making … The fun is never ending, so don’t be so quick to dismiss them. Also, if you haven’t tried toasted pumpkin seeds, I would highly recommend you do. Look for recipes and cooking times online. If plain salt doesn’t excite you, add some different spices (garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc.). If you need any help finding recipes or stores with organic treats, email me.

And for those of you who like to go all out, let’s talk about decorations. Who doesn’t love streamers? Or those sticky sign things that hang on the doors? But PLEASE, don’t just pitch everything when you’re done. Reuse what you can and recycle the rest. After practicing on Game Days with this technique, it shouldn’t be too hard for you all.

To recap: swap costumes, avoid excess packaging, eat seasonal, buy organic, reuse decorations and recycle as much as you can. Please someone dress as a tree. I would also very much love to see someone as a leaf or a globe or an apple. Green Man Suits will score a few points too.

Until next time, go green, go Irish.

Email your predicaments to The GreenMan at askthegreenman@gmail.com and let him answer you with a sustainable twist. The GreenMan will be here every other week to provide you with insights you never knew you were missing out on until now.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.