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Halloween spending – it’s spooky all right.

Hand of horror raising from glowing pupmkin lantern.

I just read a recent report that states:

One of the spookiest parts of Halloween this year may be the amount people plan to spend on their celebrations. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers are expected to spend an average of $56.31 on Halloween, down from $66.54 last year. Total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $4.75 billion.*

I agree. That IS spooky.

But not because our Halloween spending is going down.

I mean, do we really need the $1.23 billion in Halloween decor, most of it made of unsustainable materials by people likely not being paid fairly? Does purchasing 1/4 of a billion dollars worth of Halloween greeting cards (most made from virgin trees) really make our holiday more fun? How, exactly, do the $1.75 billion dollars worth of petroleum-based costumes (which won’t be worn again) lend to meaningful memories?

The answers, of course, are: No, absolutely not and they don’t.

Celebrating green means putting people first and meaning before objects. It’s about having fun with the people we love most and about creating traditions we can all be proud of.

Do we really need all this stuff?

It is true that at some point, all of us will want to buy something, if not for this holiday, then the next.

So, what’s a conscious consumer to do?

Support the retailers who sell sustainably and ethically sourced products. Look for items that are durable and able to be used throughout the year and/or year after year. Let other retailers know that you’d like to see green and Fair Trade products in their stores, and when they do stock the items, tell all your friends. Support their efforts.

So, if you are going to buy this Halloween, use your dollar “vote” wisely by choosing products that support healthy people and a healthy planet, NOT the wallets of manufacturers creating junk that’s intended to be disposed of. (See “Story of Stuff” for a peek at planned obsolescence in the manufacturing world.)

And here is a tip: Before spending a single penny, ask yourself, How does buying ___ support my family’s values and vision for a meaningful holiday? What will not having it mean to me and my family? If I do buy it, will I use it year after year?

What do you think? We’d love to hear your comments, below.

One Response to “Halloween spending – it’s spooky all right.”

  1. Steven Pace Says:

    I like the gingerbread house idea. I think the best thing we can all do for the environment, and for ourselves is to make our own food, as much as possible. We we make it ourselves, we save resources, money, and have direct control over what we put in it.

    This is my recipee for orange frosting. Make fresh orange juice, you could buy orange juice, but fresh squeezed tastes much better, some skim milk powder, caster sugar (powdered sugar), softended butter, and beta-carotene. Mix the beta carotene with the butter (softened) first, then combine it with the dry ingredients. I never have found it necessary to measure, but if you need to, you can used a standard icing recipe, and substitute the orange juice for the milk or water.
    The orange juice provides the flavour, and some of the color. With beta carotene can make it as orange as you want without artificial color. The sugar, and butter are not the best thing to eat a lot of, but as a treat, I think they are ok.