Posts tagged halloween

An Earth Friendly Halloween

Some Ring-Tailed Lemurs enjoy a Jack-o-Lanturn

Some Ring-Tailed Lemurs enjoy a Jack-o-Lanturn

Many people are excitedly getting ready for the Halloween festivities this weekend. Candy is being purchased by the pounds, costumes are flying off the rack and pumpkins are being picked. People are putting the finishing touches on their outfits and finalizing their Halloween plans. But after the festivities are over, all of the decorations, costumes and props are either thrown away or packed up for another year.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden wants to help people prevent waste this Halloween.  They published a tip sheet listing ten ways you can Go Green for Halloween.

The list includes:

1. Costume trading:  instead of throwing an old costume away, you can recycle it the next year by trading for someone else’s gently used costume.  This makes a lot of sense because usually costumes are only worn once or twice and are perfectly good the following year.  Costume trading helps reduce waste and also saves money in the long-run!

2. Make your own Mask: Vinyl masks emit toxic fumes and plastic masks are not biodegradable.  Instead of using these, they suggest painting your face with homemade face paint.

3. Carving and Candles:  Buy an organic pumpkin from your local farmer’s market.  Instead of using traditional candles for your jack-o-lantern, use soy or beeswax candles.  They burn cleaner and longer than regular candles.  If you want to be even more earth-conscience, you can use battery operated lights with rechargeable batteries.  After you have carved the pumpkin, don’t throw out the insides.  You can toast the seeds for a great snack.

4. Use a Reusable Treat Bag:  Instead of buying special plastic treat bags, use a cloth bag that you can reuse.  A pillowcase works well and usually holds more treats anyway.

5. House-to-House:  Trick-or-treat in a safe neighborhood that is within walking distance.  By walking, you are cutting down on car emissions.

Crank Flashlight

Crank Flashlight

6. Finding your Way:  Light your way with a flashlight that uses rechargeable batteries.  To save even more energy, use a flashlight that you can shake or crank.

7. Light it Up:  Switch out your incandescent porch light for an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb or an LED light

8. Closed Door Policy:  Sit on your porch to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters.  When you open and close the door for trick-or-treaters, you end up wasting energy.

9. Eco-Treats:  Hand out organic candy to trick-or-treaters this year.  Since this is sometimes hard to find, you could instead hand out raisins or granola bars.

Smash pumpkins before throwing them out

Smash pumpkins before throwing them out

10. Smashing Pumpkins:  Instead of simply throwing out your pumpkin at the end of the holiday, smash it first.  This will begin the decomposition process.

With these tips and tricks, your Halloween is sure to be a more earth-friendly celebration.

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Zoo Haunts

I have always associated October with fun at the Zoo.  When I was little my family lived in Columbus.  This meant that as Halloween drew nearer each October, I would wait in anticipation for Boo at the Zoo.  The annual event held at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was always exciting.  Where else could you dress up, get candy and see animals all at the same time?

Boo at the Cleveland Zoo

Boo at the Cleveland Zoo

Today nearly every zoo does something to celebrate Halloween in a kid-friendly way.  Not only is this event fun for children, the adults have a good time too.  It is also a great way to showcase the zoo.  Families that have never visited the zoo before can get a first-hand look at all it has to offer.

Boo at the Akron Zoo

Boo at the Akron Zoo

A few years ago I was an intern at the Akron Zoo.  While I was there I was able to help out with the organization and execution of their Boo at the Zoo event.

In order to put together a successful event, it requires a lot of teamwork, organization and creativity.  Candy had to be purchased and organized, decorations had to be set up and the Communications Department had to get the word out to the community.

Boo at the Zoo usually takes place the last two or three weekends of October. At the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Akron Zoo, the zoos close to the general public a little early in order to get ready for the evening event.  Due to the popularity of the event, tickets are sold in advance and many times sell out.  At the Toledo Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, and Columbus Zoo, Boo at the Zoo runs all day and is part of regular admission.

Most zoos have fun decorating for Halloween.  At the Akron Zoo, different parts of the park have different themes.  Some of these include a pirate grotto, the old west and under the sea.  There are twelve themed stations in all around the park.

Dinosaurs! is part of Clevelands Boo at the Zoo

Dinosaurs! is part of Cleveland's Boo at the Zoo

Other zoos have special features as well.  At the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo they have extended their popular Dinosaurs! exhibit through Boo at the Zoo.  However, visitors do have the option to skip the exhibit if it is too scary for younger trick-or-treaters.

Watch the video below to see how Cincinnati Zoo keepers entertain visitors and animals by giving the animals pumpkins filled with treats.  It is enrichment with a holiday flair.  

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