The Great Green Halloween Grinch

November 1st, 2011

Now that Halloween is over, I’ll confess.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been biting my tongue to keep from sounding like the Great Green Halloween Grinch.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween as much as anyone. Dressing up in costume, trick or treating, and childhood memories make it one of my favorite celebrations. I’ll even admit to owning some hideously tacky Halloween stuff like this “Frank the Monster” (purchased at Lillian Vernon in my pre-green days).

Tacky Halloween Decorations

So what’s turning me into a Halloween Grinch? Waste. Over commercialism.  The virtual disappearance of time honored traditions like Trick or Treat for Unicef and Bobbing for Apples. The appearance of Halloween décor that rivals Tacky, Tacky Christmas decorations.   Retailers shipping back pumpkins – before Halloween – to make way for Christmas décor.

To be sure, there have been incredible strides in making Halloween more “green.”  In just four years, Corey and Lynn have grown Green Halloween from a regional event to a nationwide costume swap and more.

And yet….. during “green Halloween” twitter chats, sustainably minded “green moms” wonder how to “get rid of” all the candy their kids bring home. The SwitchWitch, who takes Halloween candy away and replaces it with a gift, is a popular option. The First Lady suggests letting kids keep their candy for a few days before confiscating it. Dentists advertise “trade in” plans – $1 for each pound of candy turned in. And there are organizations like MoverMoms who collect candy to send to the troops.

Why are we spending so much money on something that we’re disposing of the very next day? I just don’t remember all this angst as a kid. My candy stash lasted for months. If parents talked about getting rid of candy, it went over my head.

This morning, I heard on the news that Americans spent $7 Billion on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and more.

How much of that $7B could be redirected towards truly important things that we value, rather than items that we throw out days later?

I know, I know…I sound like a Halloween Grinch. Told ya. That’s why I kept quiet for so long.

What do you think about how we celebrate Halloween?

— Lynn

Holiday Mania Approaches: Take Control

September 30th, 2008

Outside it may be Indian Summer, but step foot into your local stores and you may think we’re just days away from Halloween or even Christmas.

But the fact is, the holidays are not here yet. They’re actually a long way off. This means that you have time to give some thought to how YOU want to spend the holidays. What type of traditions would you like to establish in your family?

Every year we hear people complaining about the commercialization of the holidays. So many of us wish there was something we could do to turn the clock back to the simpler days of years past. There is something you can do – as a parent, you’re in control of what traditions are introduced to your family. It’s never too late to start anew.

Take Halloween. What used to be a simple holiday dedicated to trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples has morphed into a commercial extravaganza featuring everything from outdoor electric light displays to “gift bags” at Halloween parties. Have kids changed so much in a generation that candy is no longer a big enough treat at Halloween?

No, it’s not the kids that have changed. It’s the marketing messages that have changed. What was once a simple holiday aimed at children has now become yet another holiday extravaganza full of sophisticated marketing messages urging adults to buy, buy, buy more cheap and tacky stuff that somehow promises to make our holidays all the happier. But the truth is, the only things this junk will do is pollute our earth and empty our pocketbooks.

If you’re looking for some tips and tricks on how to fight consumerism this holiday season, check out these resources:
Center for A New American Dream, which has loads of resources about fighting excess commercialism;, which has tips on going green at school and at home;
and be sure to visit the Green Moms Carnival on Monday over at Green Bean Dreams. My sisters in arms will be posting about ways you can help retake the holiday spirit by fighting holiday commercialism.

How will you plan to celebrate Halloween this year? Leave a comment and share!


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