Costumes: Make it, don't buy it
In addition to being full of environmentally unfriendly synthetic materials, store-bought costumes are often wear-once-then-throw away affairs. So fashion a costume out of what's already around the house. And we all know that the coolest costumes can't be bought anyway. Carla Ceruzzi is a student at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where the yearly Halloween party is always a DIY bonanza -- she went one year as a Hostess cupcake (think: black shirt with white wire squiggle); another student was a jellyfish with a body made out of a pink umbrella that could open and close; and someone else was a farm (Astroturf dress with plastic animals and barn attached). But Carla thought a bunch of landscape students had the best group costume: they went as a lawn. "Each of them was a different piece: the hedges, the BBQ, the flamingoes, etc., and they all posed around a girl with cutoffs and a foil tanning screen," she says.
What with all the parties and trick-or-treating, it's easy to forget that late October is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Many state parks and other recreational areas offer Halloween hikes like this one for kids and their attending grown-ups. Some farms offer haunted corn mazes, hay rides and other fun seasonal activities for all ages. (Note: If little kids are involved, it's best to call ahead to gauge the scary-factor.)
Instead of wall-to-wall black and orange crepe paper and plastic spiders, try natural Halloween decorations. Autumn leaves make great centerpieces—and they also work well for filling scarecrows made out of your old clothes. Twig bouquets add just the right touch of creepiness.
All-natural Halloween treats
Candy craving? See page 102 of the October/November 2006 issue of Plenty for two great Halloween recipes: candy corn and peanut butter cups. They’re perfect for parties—or just to have around the house. Just don’t try to hand them out to trick-or-treaters, since they’ll most likely go the way of all dreaded unwrapped candy.
Have kids save their candy wrappers from trick-or-treating for a cool craft project. Buy a few plain, small plywood boxes and some craft glue from an art supply store, and collage the candy wrappers all over the box. A perfect holiday gift for a friend with a sweet tooth.
This story originally appeared in Plenty in October 2006. The article was added to MNN.com in October 2009.