Once a Celtic celebration of the harvest and a new season, Halloween is now a little less spiritual and a lot more commercial; total up candy sales, costume shopping, and decorations, and it's an industry worth almost $6 billion a year. With that kind of consumption comes a hefty carbon footprint and an environmental impact that lasts long after you've see the last of those fun-size Snickers bars.
Luckily, the basics of Halloween—spooky tales, playing dress-up, things that go bump in the night—don't require massive quantities of cash or a wasteful amount of resources as long as you're willing to think ahead and let your imagination run wild. Making your own costume will put a huge dent in the consumerism of the holiday (and earn you more than a few impressed glances at the office party)—and we'd bet you'll find the materials right in front of you, if you just look around. Simple makeup designs and hairstyles created with natural products can give your look extra impact, and your home gets a makeover of its own with biodegradable decorations from the local farmers' market (plus you're still celebrating the harvest!). As for the sweeter side of Halloween, indulge your sugar habit with Fair Trade and organic chocolate, lollipops, jellybeans, and candy bars.
An at-home Halloween party will let you save energy if you live in a spread-out neighborhood where trick-or-treating would require a car: dim the lights, set out some soy candles, and get the younger set bobbing for apples, making crafts from recycled paper, and telling their favorite ghost stories. Whichever green options you and your family take advantage of, you'll feel better on November 1 knowing you helped combat the holiday's terrifying eco-damage—just in time for Christmas.