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October 14, 2019

7 Intentional Ways to Celebrate an Eco-Friendly, Mindful Halloween.

It’s the spookiest season of the year.

Multiple friends hold costume parties meant for creative outfits. Haunted houses, witches’ nights out, and vampire balls are on the weekend schedule. Goblins and ghosts deck the office, as well as the houses on the street. Spooky concoctions top the local restaurant’s drink menu. Overall, ghoulish fun abounds.

However, this is one of the most expensive holiday seasons of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend at least 86 dollars this season, with a total of 8.8 billion dollars spent in the United States.

I’m in love with this holiday season. I grew up participating in a local haunted school (my aunt was dubbed the queen), and I relish the celebrations, the concerts, and the decor as an adult.

However, when I rededicated to living a more mindful, minimalist lifestyle, my celebrations changed a lot.

The first year was a difficult stretch. I faced major FOMO (fear of missing out), both on the events front and the spending front. I worried that I would miss something major if I skipped the best concert of the season. I felt the allure of the shops and the feeling of missing out on all the spooky goodies I could be acquiring. I felt out of place that year.

However, I’ve learned that there are quite a few ways to celebrate the season without putting a major dent in the wallet. Also, there was a secret satisfaction in participating in a more eco-friendly, less-is-more fashion.

There are multiple ways to celebrate the season that are eco-friendly and minimalist-based without sacrificing the fun of the season.

1. Focus on the folklore.

At its core, Halloween is about the folklore. The horror stories, ghost legends, and things that go bump in the night. There are two major ways to focus on the folklore this season: through literature and through film.

For literature, we can read a short horror story or poem every day in October. When reading broadly, it exposes horror fans to new tales and is a chance to reread old favorites. Channels like Freeform (family friendly movies) and SyFy (horror movies) have 31 nights each October. Better yet, invite some friends over for a horror movie marathon. 

2. Get creative with costumes: recycle, reuse, and remix.

One of the biggest wastes per year is the costume aspect. This is due to their usually flimsy construction and disposable nature. However, costumes can be attained in a more sustainable way.

They can be created from pieces we already own, thrifted at the local Goodwill, or kept and reused from year to year. For multiple parties or events, do we have more than one outfit that can be made into another concept or re-worn?

With a little bit of creativity and a few well-placed accessories, the same outfit can go from concept to concept. Also, when it comes to accessories, is there one that we can save up for and wear repeatedly instead of buying cheap and disposable? 

3. Make a list.

To cut down on overall impact of materials, money, and waste, make a list before the season starts. Listing the things that we plan to look for or need to buy keeps us accountable. By knowing exactly what we are looking for, we are also more likely to manifest finding the items that we enjoy and want the most.

4. Use favorite decorations from years past.

Often, our favorites are our favorites because they spark joy and nostalgia within us. Displaying our favorite things this season grants that we will enjoy what we already have. It also serves a buffer from having to buy new things. Also, YouTube is full of eco-friendly DIY videos for making new decorations out of old things. 

5. Take a walk in nature.

Fall is known for its beauty. A simple way to celebrate this season is just taking a long walk in nature. Notice the changing leaves, the beauty of the harvest twilight hours, and the stars.

While not being 100 percent Halloween themed, connecting with nature is a great way to soothe the soul any time of year. It also celebrates the harvest season.

6. Choose a few favorite events and ignore the FOMO.

For each event or activity on a potential schedule, we should honestly ask ourselves why we want to do it. Then, do only the things that bring joy. What activities do we want to repeat from previous years? What new activities spark interest?

Sitting out on a few invites this year might seem strange. However, if we know that we are not absolutely thrilled by the invite, it’s often better to either sit it out or do something that we will enjoy.

7. Plan something relaxing and energizing for Halloween night.

Although I love celebrating all month long, my Halloween nights are split between horror movies and the first write-in of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). However, my Halloween is not everyone’s. Some love celebrating with friends and family; others enjoy a quiet night at home with family. Whatever our Halloween night traditions are, make sure they fill you up.

The first year of focusing on these tips and aspects will seem strange. Especially if we are used to celebrating at every party and soaking up every event of this season.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating the holiday. However, like with everything in life, there is a point of excess.

Trying to squeeze in too much over this month can be harmful—to our well-being, our wallet, and (in the case of physical things) the environment. 

In summary, the key aspect that makes the Halloween season is not about the candy, the spooky goodies, or the parties. These all enhance the season. However, Halloween is a holiday to enjoy the folklore and meaningful events.

It’s about focusing on things that speak to the dark side of the heart. Choosing a few important aspects of the Halloween season to focus on are key to enjoying it. They also are what will help us to celebrate in an intentional and eco-friendly way.

Wishing everyone the spookiest, most magical season of the year. 

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