One can say there are three Halloweens. There’s the one that’s every child’s favorite holiday–they get to dress up, let their imaginations soar, and run around gorging themselves on candy, which will act as a secret lunch for the next week. (Often, they’ll learn an important lesson about overindulgence, which is, of course, forgotten by the time next year rolls around.) There’s also the Halloween that is genuinely frightening, with dead branches scratching across rattling windowpanes, and autumnal shadows creeping across misty cemeteries. The mystery of the changing seasons is thrilling for both kids and adults.
The third Halloween, though, is just for adults. It’s a weekend of wild parties, where inhibitions are loosened, and people dress up in the sexiest or most outrageous costumes. For many, it’s the biggest weekend of the year. Just because you’ve decided that this is one night to be someone else, though, doesn’t mean your alter-ego can abandon their ecological responsibilities. Here’s how to have a spooky, fun, uninhibited green Halloween party.
Make your own costume
It’s tempting not to do this. After all, it’s so easy to run into a store and pick up a nurse’s outfit or a pirate suit. But this is a waste, both of natural resources and your money. You can easily spend $50 or more on a cheap costume that you might wear to one or two parties but then never again. If you throw it away, it’s an incredible amount of fabric and plastic going to waste. Instead, make your costume. You probably have enough stuff at home. Don’t get a nurses uniform. Instead, a long (but not too long) white button-up shirt will do, with a belt and a few props. Try classics like Rosie the Riveter. Remember, a little bit of makeup, a few items from around the house, adult beverages, imagination, and attitude all go way further than a plastic-y machine-made costume.
Get your treats from local sources
A key element to any party is good food and great snacks. But that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard. Bake and cook most of your snacks. Encourage guests to bring dessert (if you have a theme, that works as well). And when you buy, make sure that you get food from local sources, like farmer’s markets. One of the biggest uses of energy is shipping food. Don’t be a part of that.
Decorate naturally for more atmosphere
For me, this is the most important part of a Halloween party–giving your house a rich and spooky atmosphere. It really helps get people in the mood of the season. Without good decorations, a Halloween party is like a New Year’s Party without a clock. Here are some tips.
It isn’t Halloween without pumpkins. Go to a local patch or a farm or a farmers market. Carve some jack-o-lanterns. These give more atmosphere than any pre-made paper or plastic decorations, giving any room an authentic Halloween feel. And you can make pumpkin seeds! Add squash or gourds or other fall harvest plants (maybe even hay) and bring the outdoors inside. With the right combination of lights and shadows, you can create a genuinely creepy room.
Red, orange, black–lights are super-important to change, getting you and your guests away from the bright white lights of the everyday. But make sure you choose LED lights, which are getting much less expensive. These don’t waste power converting heat into light, so they save tons of electricity. Besides, we don’t think heat will be much of a problem.
The most important part. A room full of candles, especially sensuous eco-friendly candles, turns any party into an occasion. You might be surprised–no matter how grown-up the party, candles in an otherwise dark room makes people feel like spooked-out children again. They’ll want to sit down and tell ghost stories, or just listen to the wind outside as it brings with it the clomping of a headless horseman, or just the sounds of fall, blowing memories and festivity through your green Halloween party.
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