Swapping, sharing and gently scaring


FUN TO SHARE Sharing face paints between a few friends can save money, and allowing kids to do their own designs or help each other adds to the excitement.

A green Halloween is more fun and costs less

Green Living
McKinley Neal

I had a big box of Halloween costumes hidden in a back room for about six months before they were discovered by my kids, who proceeded to arrange them on the living room floor and examine them all.
After tidying up, we had a good conversation about the value of sharing items that we may not need; after all, nearly all the costumes we have were given to us by cousins and friends. They volunteered a few princess and fairy dresses to pass along to others.
Last year was the first year that we labelled a box ‘Free Halloween Costumes’ in the shop for an informal exchange, allowing anyone to bring or take a child’s costume in good condition (or even new—Curiosity Westport gave us several that came to them new from a local retailer). We are on the lookout for more, as there are many families looking to save money by reusing costumes that may have been worn only once, as well as new arrivals who have never celebrated Halloween before.
This autumn and winter will see most of us economising, as prices for energy and other essentials rise. It’s going to force us all to make decisions about how to spend our money, and in times like these, there is almost invariably a move toward reusing, mending and making do as we have to cut down on new goods.
However, that absolutely does not mean that we or our children should miss out on fun experiences, as there are plenty of ways to get creative and enjoy what we do have.
So, if you are have costumes or accessories or other goods that you can dig out, tidy up and pass along, please do so. And before you go buy new, ask friends, neighbours or a freecycle group if they have something to give, or transform regular clothing into something creative by following any of the thousands of tutorials online.
Sharing face paints and hair colours between a few friends can also help save money, and allowing kids to do their own designs or help each other adds to the excitement (however imperfect it may turn out to be).
We celebrated Halloween in a big way for the first time last year with family members, and the kids most vividly remember the funny activities, which all happened to be extremely low cost—bobbing for apples in a big bowl of water, finding the ring in the barmbrack, trying to bite an apple suspended from a string, trading sweets and telling not-so-scary stories.
This approach works well for other holidays and occasions too, including birthdays. We are planning a gathering for our daughter, and she will help make and decorate the cake of her choice at home (just like I always did growing up). She will also help plan the activities for her friends, and we will encourage people to consider secondhand gifts instead of new ones, or offering to spend time with her rather than giving her stuff.

McKinley Neal is the owner of PAX Whole Foods & Eco Goods, a minimal-waste shop in Westport offering bulk organic toods, reusable goods, household products, eco-trendly personal care Items and gifts.