My thoughts on Halloween; and how to make it greener

fire-photographyThis week it’s all about Halloween.

Small Footprints has challenged her ‘Change the World Wednesday’ gang to celebrate a Hallow-Green!

We’ve been asked to consider the environmental impact of the treats we give out and offer solutions for better alternatives.

It doesn’t stop there, however, there are parties, costumes and a myriad of other things to take into account.

I’m not sure how much help I can offer because we don’t celebrate Halloween; in fact it’s one of my least favourite celebrations of the year – it gets me growling even more than Christmas!

Let me explain:

The real meaning of Halloween has been totally lost, corrupted and turned over to the consumer society. Isn’t that true of practically everything in our Western culture? Christmas, Easter – they’re all excuses used by manufacturers to encourage us to spend money on disposable crap that we never really wanted in the first place.

Bitter and cynical, me?!

I can’t stand the fact we are such an irreverent society. What were once simple, profound and meaningful celebrations that marked the turning of the seasons have been gobbled up and replaced with needless, thoughtless consumerism and greed.

While children starve across the world, we hand out brightly coloured toxic crap for our kids to chew on.

While people live below the poverty line, we waste money on polyester outfits and plastic masks; items which provide a quick fix and are soon discarded.

It’s ok – you’re green and caring; I know YOU don’t do this. I know YOU think about what you are doing and make careful purchase choices, but I think some of you might resonate with where I’m coming from.

So, here at Chez Green we don’t *do* Halloween. The thought of my daughter walking around the streets asking for money / candy with the ‘threat’ that if they don’t pay up something bad will happen turns my candy-free stomach. When you think about it – what life skills is that teaching our children?

It’s teaching them to resort to bribery, threats, bullying and manipulation.

No thanks.

For us, we celebrate ‘Samhain’; the traditional pagan festival.

We celebrate nature, the end of summer and give thanks for the people we have loved who are no longer with us. On a simple level this might mean visiting a grave or telling stories on a more metaphorical level, pulling up the dead remains in the garden and composting them is an earthy way to celebrate.

It’s a great excuse to light a bonfire in the garden, and dance around, finishing with a bowl of steaming soup and home made bread! If you make your own bread and make pumpkin soup served in the scooped out shells, it’s about as eco friendly as you can get.

What about you – do you celebrate halloween? How do you make it a green celebration?


  1. Ellen Arnison on October 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Excellent post. Anything that makes Halloween a less orange and plastic festival is a winner in my book.

  2. Argentum Vulgaris on October 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    LOL, ‘brightly coloured toxic crap’ wonderful. I hit something similar in my post, but didn’t put it quite so eloquently. Like you I hate the commercialisation of all holidays, Easter inc, although I didn’t bandy politic in my post. Is it any wonder our world is off the rails? I like the older traditional values myself and the thought of you celebrating Samhain is nice. I did make some comments on how to ‘green’ your Hallowe’en seeing as most people will do it.

    Nice post.


  3. Jennifer on October 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I do like Halloween — it’s just so much less saccharine than Christmas! I no longer dress up, but I love carving pumpkins. Nothing says autumn like the sound of a pumpkin stem being pulled out and the cool, raw smell of raw pumpkin. I carve fairly elaborate designs and sometimes take so long in doing so that the trick-or-treaters have mostly stopped coming by the time I finish! We roast the seeds, but I should really eat the pumpkin when we’re done with it as well.

    I don’t like all the plastic waste the holiday generates, though. All the cheap nylon costumes and plastic pumpkins and skulls strike me as utterly pointless.

  4. nadine sellers on October 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    it is not always easy to buck the current trends, especially when most customs are somehow tied to patriotic ideology, closely followed by commercial duty…so, i encourage anyone to examine their motives when planning such wasteful practices as holiday partying…

    huge amounts of plastic parade as “fun” during the fall…lack of imagination or will to spend for the children’s sweets have ruined many a family…from budget to morals; the dressing up and the bad begging are not recommended as parenting tools.

    i hope people follow your pumpkin soup and backyard dancing tips..and add lots of personal traditions of delectables and decorative green things to do for REAL fun..and spirited feeling.

  5. Gaby @ Green Baby DS Blog on October 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Hallow Green! I love it.

    That said, I am shrinking back and hiding in the corner now… My 2 year old is at the age where he knows what is going on around him, and we’re really excited to dress him up for Halloween.

    That said, we are making costumes out of old clothes. He is going to be a garbage man and his brother is going to be a garbage bag. And he knows all too well how to recycle and compost. We’ll pick up litter along the way! His brother would be glad to eat it.

    Not that we’ll be feeding Little M trash. But he WILL be a trash bag.

    That said, it’s really just an excuse for us to get together with our friends and celebrate. Celebrate what exactly? I’m not sure. Imagination, Autumn, and Kids.

    Now you have me thinking…. Hmmm…. I think I might hold my own kind of celebration this year…

  6. Small Footprints on October 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Very well said, Mrs. Green … and I love your celebration … so much more meaningful and, in my book, fun!

  7. Mrs Green on October 8, 2011 at 8:07 am

    @Ellen Arnison: Thanks Ellen; welcome to the site!

    @Argentum Vulgaris: Thanks AV, nice to see you here. I shall pop across and see what you have been penning about the festivities.

    @Jennifer: Oooo, your poetic licence almost, ALMOST made me like halloween LOL! You know what? I can’t STAND the smell of pumpkin flesh, it kinda makes me retch…

    @nadine sellers: thanks Nadine; I think finding what has real meaning to us as individuals is the key to the festivities…

    @Gaby @ Green Baby DS Blog: 😀 I think your celebration sounds lovely; now incorporating some trick or treating with litter picking is very innovative!

    @Small Footprints: Thanks SF – a great challenge from your good self, as ever 🙂

  8. Lisa on October 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Oh thank you thank you thank you! You are reminding the world of where this tradition (like sooooo many others) came from. I adore your writing. Thank you!

  9. Mrs Green on November 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    @Lisa: thanks Lisa; glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you had a lovely halloween.