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It’s Easy Being Green: Tips for a Green Halloween

SOURCE: AP/Andy Carpenean

Dressed up as a pirate, Vance VomBaur leaves the doorstep of a house while trick or treating in a Laramie, Wyoming neighborhood.

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The real scares on Halloween are the leftover gobs of candy wrappers, piles of pumpkin innards, and mounds of costume packaging—not to mention the stomach aches. If you want to avoid these eyesores (and belly sores) and try something different this year, the tips below can help.

Keep your costume simple. Reusing an old costume is always an option, as is visiting a thrift shop. But if you’re looking for something new, several websites have tips on how to easily create homemade costumes of popular characters including the Super Mario Brothers, “Pirates of the Caribbean’s” Jack Sparrow, and Han Solo.

Get crafty with decorations. The Internet is full of ideas on how to make your own decorations, from an egg carton bat to cotton ball cobwebs to a haunted garage. And when you’re finished with your decorations, find a sturdy box and pack them up for reuse next year.

Healthier treats. During the past 30 years childhood obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2 to 5 and more than tripled among those ages 6 to 11 and 12 to 19. You can use many alternatives to handing out sugar-coated candy to trick or treaters including cereal bars, trail mix, snack packs of dried fruit, single-serve packets of low-fat microwave popcorn, or 100 calorie packets of various products. You don’t even have to hand out food, either—nonfood toys such as paint brushes, crayons, stickers, tiny decks of cards, and glow sticks can also be treats.

In addition, making sure your children eat a full meal before heading out trick or treating can reduce their urge to eat too much candy when they get home.

Apple cider, anyone? Another option for greeting kids at the door is passing out a cup of hot apple cider in a glass or reusable cup. The weather tends to be a little chilly on Halloween, and a hot cup of cider can warm kids up and keep them refreshed for their neighborhood travels.

Recycle your pumpkin. If you’re not sure what to do with your pumpkin after Halloween, there are plenty of options. Turns out the orange gourds are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, and low in calories and fat. Pumpkin pie is always a popular choice, and you can also roast the seeds or use them for compost.

Organize a clean up the next day. Unfortunately, the day after Halloween usually brings smashed pumpkins in the street, candy wrappers, and other litter. Arrange a post-Halloween neighborhood clean up with kids and adults from the neighborhood to keep the community feel of Halloween going.

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