Boo to Plastic: Our Family Tries to Reduce This Halloween – Dr. Plastic Picker

Boo to Plastic: Our Family Tries to Reduce This Halloween

| Posted in Reduce/Reuse/Recycle, Weird Things I've Found Litter Picking

Kind of Halloweeny picture from one of my last evenings in New Orleans. It was one of those alley way evening markets. This one was kind of spooky.

October 30, 2019

by drplasticpicker

It’s a scary time of year tomorrow! It’s scary for children’s teeth from the sugar, for their circadian rhythms due to staying up late trick-o-treating, and for the earth! Most Halloween candy comes wrapped in plastic, and many new Halloween costumes are made of plastic.  This is my attempt to reduce the plastic consumption this Halloween.  I have 5 things that are under my semi-control this Halloween. Those 5 things are: what kind of treats we are handing out, what my contribution to the office party will be, my costume, my middle-schooler’s costume, and my high school son’s costume.  This is so far how we have done.

  1. Which Halloween Treats? In our neighborhood, we get about 50-75 trick-o-treaters every year. These are mostly neighborhood kids and toddlers. We have not purchased the candy yet, but on our recent trip to Target – we came to a consensus with my children. It was an interesting conversation.  As mom and drplasticpicker, I wanted to give out either little bagged pretzels (which have plastic but at least are healthy),  actual fruit like cuties, quarters, or pencils. My high school son looked at me and said, “Mommy, we are not going to be THAT house.” At some point, I know not to argue. We agreed to buy a large bag of Starbursts or individual Hershey kisses wrapped in aluminum to hand out by the handful. 
  2. What is my Contribution to the Office Halloween Party? We are having a fun lunchtime Halloween pot-luck. Usually the doctors organize the big Christmas/Holiday Party, so Halloween is more of a front office staff and nurses driven event.  I just let the designated RN know that I have 2 very nice black tablecloths that I am going to bring. They are fancy and ruffled, so will work great for the office party.  I headed off anyone else buying the plastic themed table covers.  I also volunteered to bring the plates so I can buy the paper ones.
  3. What is Drplasticpicker dressing up as? This year the Plastic Picker family did well.  I went to Goodwill late September with my daughter, and we found costumes! Saved money, supported a great charity, and saved the environment at the same time. We found Harry Potter Hufflepuff robes (the ones that usually cost $100!) for only $19.99. And then a still nice but more costume quality Gyffindor robe usually would be $30 for $7.99!!! I am going to wear the Hufflepuff one at the office party and lend a friend the Gyffindor robes.  Our hallway is going to do a Harry Potter theme.
  4. What is Drplasticpicker’s middle school daughter dressing up as? My daughter is all on board with reducing plastic use! She decided to be at WWII-era female fighter pilot. We found the perfect bomber jacket at Goodwill for $8.99. The khakhi pants and white dress shirt are mine. Black boots are from her grandma. And white flowing scarf are from her other grandma. Aviator glasses are actually repaired ones I found on one of my plastic picking walks. Grandfather fixed them and they look great. I think it was all meant to be.
  5. What is Drplasticpicker’s high school son dressing up as? As you can see from this post and other posts, I have semi-control of my oldest. This is as it should be, as adolescents are developing their independence. We have plenty of old costumes he could have used. I also told him I would give up my Hufflepuff robes. But Halloween is actually one of the holidays that he really enjoys. Otherwise he is easy going.  He usually goes over to his close friend’s house and their family does a whole neighborhood trick-o-treating and sorting candy, pizza party, and fun night. We compromised on him being a K-Pop star. Since he is part Korean, this is not cultural appropriation. For this his father took him to Target, and we bought all new clothes. But at least these are all items he will wear again at some point and no plastic.

So that is how the Drplasticpicker family is approaching a less plastic Halloween. Both children still use the same felt bag I bought them 10 years ago, which has been very meaningful and environmentally friendly.  Our pumpkin is also real, and we don’t carve it. We put it out just for the last few days before Halloween and decorate the outside. Grandmda then makes pumpkin soup! The decorations are all the previous ones we have purchased and this year we are staying away from the spider webs as they are not good for the birds. 

How did your family try to make Halloween less plastic? Would love to hear your stories.  I will have a post-Halloween post regarding what the beach looks like after this scary plastic filled holiday! 

Poster I saw one early morning ocean plastic picking. Did you know the surfer-friends have Costume Surf? So cool.
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