Two Great Ways to ‘Green’ Your Halloween

The wee ones announced this morning that they wanted to be ninjas for Halloween this year. Personally, I was hoping they would choose Storm Troopers again, as that would give the costumes a third use that helps justify their cost. There’s something inside me that rebels at the notion of spending $25 or more on something the wee ones will wear once. The waste of it – both the cost and the physical waste – bother me. That’s probably why I find the idea of National Costume Swap Day Canada so appealing.

National  Costume Swap Day

The idea of creating a (somewhat) Green Halloween® appeals to me. I love the idea of passing on our old costumes – we have everything from the dog Mister Man was on his first Halloween through the witches and train engineers and, yes, Storm Troopers. The costumes are perfectly good and in great shape, so why not pass them along? And with the National Costume Swap Day – something that is occurring for the first time in Canada but is already established in the States – I would be able not just to pass my costumes to someone who could appreciate them, but also gain costumes the wee ones want to wear.

The National Costume Swap Day Canada is on October 13, plenty of time before Halloween to minimize the stress of “will I find a costume we love.” There isn’t a swap currently registered near me, but I could easily register to set up one of my own. Once I register a swap, National Costume Swap Day Canada sends a welcome package, including posters, banners, press releases, and a run down of how to make the costume swap successful. I can think of several locations near me that would be thrilled to host an event like this at no cost to me from my library to a local mall to my favorite health food store.

If you aren’t up to that, simply search for a swap near you. More swaps are being added as word gets out about this oh-so-cool event. Each swap will be set up slightly differently, as they are individually run, but all offer you the opportunity to recycle your current no longer needed costumes for a new one that you can use this year. Many also offer the opportunity to purchase costumes at a low price if you don’t have one to swap. The costumes themselves are asked to be in gently used condition, but as with all reuse projects, you have to make sure it’s the right one for you.

Personally, I’m ready for a Green Halloween, and I love the other idea to help green my Halloween. Instead of providing candy for the 367 children who ring my bell each year (yes, my husband counts them and yes we truly had that many last year, down from 430 the year before), why not provide books? With Books for Treats Canada, the goal is to provide books for children to select instead of giving candy. With the obesity rates soaring, how can this not be a good idea?

Books for Treats

In my house, we’ve recently gone through the wee ones’ book shelves. It’s possible that I have boxes and boxes and boxes of books that I need to … remove from my house. The books provided joy for the wee ones when they were younger, but they have simply outgrown them. Most are in pristine condition, and how perfect to pass them along to a child instead of candy? I know as a parent I would rather have my child receive a book than candy anyway. And I know a lot of children who would love to choose their own books and then be thrilled about it. We have several houses in my neighborhood already that give unique trick or treats from the house that serves hot dogs four doors down to the one that provides wine for moms instead of treats for kids. I would easily fit into our neighborhood tradition of unique Halloween.

I’m lucky that I already have a ton of books on hand. If you aren’t, there are plenty of ways to get books cheaply, for the same cost or less than you’re currently paying for your candy. Our library has book sales several times a year offering children’s soft cover books for $0.25, and half price on the last day. The books sold at garage sale are often as cheap as cheaper. The same holds true for thrift stores, and many community organizations would be happy to jump on the bandwagon and help support you in this endeavor.

The average Canadian spends over $50 on candy each year for Halloween. Add in the cost for costumes, then think about National Costume Swap Day Canada and the potential of Books for Treats Canada. How much could you save – both in the environment and in money?

In the interest of full disclosure, I was compensated as part of this campaign. All opinions, however, remain my own.


  1. says

    Hi Michelle
    I totally agree with you. I try to recycle my sons costumes to family and friends. One year my husband made a robot costume from cardboard and dryer duct, which we recycled after.I love the idea with the books and especially the house with the wine!lol. Hmmm i think my friends and I need a talk about Halloween this year.

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