This Halloween Think Green, Not Orange

Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes lots of excitement and planning. People are buying candy for trick-or-treaters, costumes litter the shelves of every super centre, and homes are decked out in all their spooky glory. You know Halloween is close when massive boxes of candy bars can be found just about everywhere and more people are obsessing over Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes. A day that should really be an excused holiday (just sayin’), Halloween has always been my favourite night of the year. As a believer in the paranormal — yes, even the ghosties — and a dabbler in Wicca as a spiritual religion, Halloween for me symbolizes more than just costumes and candy. A festival once celebrated by the Celtics as “Samhain,” Halloween (or All Hallows Eve, as it is sometimes called) was the Celtic New Year, a day of the dead, during which it was believed that the souls of the deceased had the chance to re-enter our world from the afterlife. Representing more of an equinox or solstice for a season’s end, Halloween later became associated with evil, witches and scary tales of haunting. The day’s true meaning, however, is a celebration of seasons, nature and the natural process of things — one of which just happens to be death. Far be it from a pagan holiday dedicated to satanic rituals — some ancient religions really went to town destroying this day’s true significance — the modern-day Samhain is celebrated by tossing cheap, conflict palm-oil filled candy at eager children and strewing synthetic decorations around with child-like abandon. In other words, Halloween today is far more destructive than the ancient, spiritual celebration of Samhain which many religions vilified. You may not be aware that many Halloween costumes, decorations and accessories are made out of non-recyclable materials which will basically sit around in landfills or make their way into natural habitats thanks to irresponsible recycling. A 2014 report by Nation Swell estimated that over $7 billion was spent on Halloween just in 2014 alone — that includes decor, costumes and minor accessors, like face paint. The report also mentioned the waste of food-stuffs like pumpkins, which are purchased for carving purposes and quickly thrown into landfills just days after Halloween concludes. As Nation Swell said so eloquently, “Millions of pounds of these Halloween icons turn up in the dump each year after they are carved up for a single evening. That’s just a huge waste — pumpkins are food and people are starving. A pumpkin also takes a huge amount of resources, energy and fertilizers to grow before it makes its way to your porch.” They do make a good point. It’s highly unlikely that any of us will save our decorative pumpkins for other uses. So, off to the landfill they go. We will also be unlikely to properly recycle all of our other materials – like old decorations — once Halloween is over.

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