Of all the holidays in the year, Halloween is one of the best for kids. With the costumes, the candy and the jack-o’-lanterns, Halloween has it all for the younger generation. Ghouls and ghosts, zombies and witches are a big thrill, perhaps because Halloween today is so removed from its ancient roots. It might not be such fun if we still believed that this was the night that the dead would wreak final vengeance before passing over properly and finally.
Like other holidays, Halloween today has a lot to do with commerce and marketing, but it origins are in celebrating nature. The Christian Halloween seems to have taken over from ancient festivals that marked the end of summer and bringing in the harvest, and the Celtic equivalent of New Year’s Eve, known as Samhain. For an authentic Halloween, it’s time to bring back just a little bit of those old traditions. This Halloween is a great opportunity for everyone who’s going green to revive a little bit of it, with eco-friendly celebrations.
Along with the other modern holidays we celebrate, Halloween consists of a lot of throwaway stuff, from costumes and accessories to candy wrappers. You can green your Halloween in a whole range of ways, and recapture a bit of the respect for the planet that the old feasts were all about. The Celtic roots of Halloween also present new ideas for costumes with a difference. Celtic mythology is rich in monsters, bogeymen and supernatural beings, all perfect for Halloween dressing up.
Making your own costumes is a great way to celebrate, rather than buying an outfit flown in from miles away. Home-made costumes were the norm until the 1930s and making them yourself is more fun for the kids too. Old linen and old clothes are ripe for recycling into costumes, even if you have to buy in some trim to finish them off. If you haven’t got suitable stuff lying around, have a look in your local thrift store. Household materials, including cardboard and plastic that might otherwise end up in landfill, can be made into all sorts of costume accessories, including witches’ hats and scary masks.
Going green this Halloween is also a way to cut down on all that sugary candy in trick or treating, and substitute some healthy food that won’t contribute to tooth decay instead. Toffee apples are easy to make, have great novelty value and are good for kids. Since Roman times, apples have had a special place in Halloween celebrations, which carries on in the traditional game of bobbing for apples. If you must have something sweet, think sugar-free candy or home-made popcorn, cereal bars or fruit dipped in chocolate, like chocolate raisins.
Making your own costumes and trick or treat snacks is in keeping with the holiday’s green origins and the budget-conscious alternative. Whether you’re going to be a goblin or a ghoul, going green this Halloween will connect you to thousands of years of celebrating the end of summer.