The leaves are falling, the pumpkins are calling, and kids of all ages are announcing their alter-egos to the world.
This can be such a wonderful time of gathering in community, walking amidst the changing colours and fog drifts, and getting creative with gourds and costume ideas. It can also be a time of knee-jerk, last-minute decisions that land us with a pile of unintended plastic and a sugar hangover come November.
Taking a cue from nature might offer us some alternatives to bolster choices for both the planet and our health over the next few weeks.
If you’re already eyeing those seasonal bags of candy, thinking to buy them early “for the kids” and dubious if they’ll survive until October 31, here are some heartier options that are sure to satisfy.
This could be the year you finally learn to make that homemade treat you are always buying at the store. Depending on who and where you are serving a trick or treat crowd, you might also put an afternoon into creating something indulgent, yet sneakily good for them.
Sachets of homemade granola, rolls of local fruit leather, dehydrated fruit or baked yam brownies sweetened with real maple syrup could bring a smile to young and old. The young ones in your life can get in on the creating, too; you might even decide to hand out a craft or colouring page instead of a sweet treat.
Pumpkins are bountiful in farmers’ fields and in gardens of some of those with forethought. See if you can source one locally before looking for one brought in from elsewhere.
Once you get to carving, seeds can be saved and baked with a sprinkling of salt for a salad topper later. Avoid adding anything synthetic to your artistic creation so you can safely compost it.
A local farmer will be receiving donations of post-Halloween pumpkins from the community for animal feed on Wednesday, November 3, at Town Centre Recycling Depot during its hours of operation. Removal of sticks, candles, wax and painted pumpkins is requested, to protect animals from harm.
Costumes can be waste free with a little imagination. Borrowing from friends or thrifting new-to-you outfits are a great start. The recycling bin and old clothes can be transformed into pieces for the persona you are putting together.
Opt for costumes that favour using natural materials rather than synthetics, such as masks and glitter. Entirely magical creatures can be built from cardboard, twigs, leaves, dried flowers, shells and moss.
The forest and beaches can also be a source for fall decorations. Other than the standard array of gorgeous and weird gourds, colourful branches mixed with dried poppy heads and fallen remnants of leaves and flowers can be amassed in a vase.
Table centres can mix in similar elements along with a beeswax candle and spectacular piece of driftwood or tree burl. For those more ghoulishly inclined, torn nylons make for good spider-webbing, packing peanuts can become worms, glass bottles full of strange liquids can appear as a medicine woman’s apothecary, and cardboard can be crafted into gravestones.
Whether you plan on an intimate gathering around a backyard bonfire or to wander your neighbourhood streets for Halloween, there are a treat-bag full of ways to avoid a ghastly amount of waste.