How To Make Halloween The Greenest Holiday Of The Year

Photo: Julia Volk

Between the chemical-packed face-paint makeup, mass-produced polyester costumes, and jumbo-size bags of refined-sugar and gelatin-filled candy, Halloween can be a tough time for those of us trying to maintain a clean, green routine. Here are some tips to keep you from straying from your conscious values this holiday:

1. Step away from the Halloween superstore.

So you had no Halloween plans up until today and now you're scrambling for a last-minute costume? Yep, we've all been there. If you've already pledged to ditch fast fashion, the last thing you'll want to do is purchase one of those polyester costumes of questionable origins you'll find in Halloween pop-up stores. I know it's tempting because of the convenience, but you will be thankful you didn't go with that Alice in Wonderland costume when you see three other people at the party wearing the same exact one, promise!

According to ethical fashion documentary The True Cost, somebody, somewhere is paying for our $20 convenient steals. These costumes are often filled with toxic dyes that wreak havoc on the environment, and they feed into unethical working conditions overseas. Not to mention, there is nothing sustainable about wearing a costume once and then throwing it in the donation bin or landfill. Realistically, there are no options for the conscious consumer at these Halloween megastores, so it's best to stay away from the temptation altogether.

2. Consider going for a makeup-centered costume.

When you're rushing to put together a last-minute costume, a makeup-centric look can be a lifesaver. When makeup is the focal point, the rest of the outfit almost becomes conveniently unimportant. There are loads of amazing Halloween makeup tutorials all over YouTube, and you'd be really surprised how easy they are to recreate, no matter how daunting they may seem. Just keep in mind that a lot of the makeup used is filled with toxic dyes and preservatives, so work with whatever you already have in your green beauty arsenal. Many cool, spooky looks just require some light foundation, eye shadow for shading, black eyeliner, and bold lipstick. Some of my go-to's are a glamified zombie, Jigsaw from the horror movie series, or a cool lace eye mask drawn in black eyeliner.

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3. Rummage through your Halloween costume arsenal.

If you're not confident in your makeup skills and would prefer to go with a traditional dress-up costume, head to the attic or closet and open up that Halloween bin. No one is going to remember that you dressed up as an avatar in 2010. Bring that baby back to life!

4. Borrow, borrow, borrow.

Love that costume that your best friend wore last year? Recycling costumes is one of the most eco-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween. Every time we extend the life of a garment, we are reducing its carbon footprint. Who knows, maybe your friend will be secretly eyeing a costume from your closet, too, and it will be a win-win for everyone. Don't forget that heading to the Goodwill or your local thrift store is another great way to come up with a creative last-minute costume. Even if you don't have anything specific in mind when you walk in, you might find inspiration buried in the quirky pieces.

5. Make your own trick-or-treat goodies.

Don't want to give in to buying the family pack of conventional Halloween candy, but don't want to be the lame house on the block handing out organic apples? Make your own Halloween candy for healthier (and still perfectly yummy) alternatives the trick-or-treaters will enjoy. Bonus: You don't have to worry about any leftovers sabotaging your healthy eating habits! Plus, candy wrappers are not recyclable or compostable, and when you make your own candy, you can wrap it in whatever sustainable wrapping alternative you'd like. Parchment paper and some twine usually do the trick!

Looking for some healthy recipe inspo? Check out these drool-worthy paleo treats and chocolate raspberry truffles.

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