Halloween Costumes in a Box

bildeIf you have run out of ideas for kids costumes this halloween, check out these costumes in a box. Yesterday I found this great article in the Statesman Journal newspaper, in the Life section, about Costumes in a Box.

Trying to be green this Halloween requires that  I try to reuse and recycle and with these box costumes I think it would be fairly easy to do. With just a box, some paint and some clothing match ups you can be on your way to making a great costume. And as a bonus its on the cheap too!

bilde1Costume Ideas:

  • The Tin Man
  • Lego Block
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants
  • iPod

Click here for the complete article and instructions. And if your looking for an adult verion of any of these you would just need a bigger box, ask your local furniture or appliance store for boxes.

Homemade Halloween Costumes Using Recycled Materials

Instead of filling up landfills with once-used plastics and fabrics, get creative, and come up with your own unique look with reused and recycled materials. You’ll save money, as well as reduce impact on the planet. Besides what better way to stand out in the crowd than to make your own Halloween costume. You will for sure be unique.

Click here to see thedailygreen.com‘s 19 frightfully fun homemade costumes made from recycled materials. Below are a couple of examples.

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Cupcake and Cotton candy made from old tights, and laundry basket.
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Crocodille costume made from butcher paper and cardboard.

All these costumes are made with items you have around your house. Butcher paper, old tights, cardboard, garbage cans, old umbrellas, and plain old trash.

Be creative and think about what you can use and enjoy your eco-friendly Halloween!

Fun Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

Are you tired of the same old boring carved pumpkins that you see on every door step? Well here are some new ideas and fun ways you can display your pumpkins.

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Better Homes and Gardens has a great display of ways you can decorate, paint or carve your pumpkin for a new look.

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Martha Stewart has some great Jack-o’-Lanter ideas.

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Sunset has some great no carve pumpkin arrangements.

Another couple sites that have some great pumpkin decorating ideas is Country Living, Good Housekeeping and Hallmark Magazine.

Green Your Halloween

1006882_17480313Halloween is just over a month away and the stores are filled with decorations and candy for the big day. But don’t go for the easy way out and buy all the goodies at the store because of the convenience. Try to think green. Now thinking green doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.

Here are 8 helpful Eco-friendly tips:

1. Use a pillowcase or canvas shopping bag for collecting candy, instead of the regular plastic jack-o-lanterns or plastic bags.

2. Make your own costume. All over the internet you can find cheap and easy to make costumes with stuff you have laying around the house. Check out your local thrift store for ideas and help.

3. Give organic, fair trade, eco-friendly treats. For some ideas of ‘green treats’ click here.

4. Walk don’t drive. Stick close to home and walk around your neighborhood while trick-or-treating. Be a part of your community and cut down on pollution.

5. Compost. Jack-o-lanterns along with the abundant leaves that are all over the yard make fall a great time to start composting, if you don’t already.

6. Keep the party green. Use cloth napkins, silverware and dishes, stay away from the wasteful paper products. Make your own decorations by using recyclable materials, get creative – click here for ideas on decorating. Use locally grown, organic foods.

7. Use fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights. You will need a flashlight when your out trick-or-treating so remember to use fluorescent or LED lights.

8. Teach your kids not to litter. If they plan on eating some of their candy before they get home, make sure and tell them to leave the wrappers in their bag and they can throw them away when they get home.

7 Kitchen Energy Reducer Tips

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What better way to help the environment than in a way that helps you save money also. Below are some tips to help you reduce your kitchen energy usage.

  1. Keep appliances clean – Clean surfaces maximize the amount of energy reflected toward your food.
  2. Keep liquids covered -The refrigerator has to work harder, using more energy to keep cool, when pitchers of juice or water, unfinished drinks and other liquid items are stored without lids.
  3. Switch to copper-bottom pots and pans – They heat up faster than other types of pans, which means they require less energy from the stove.
  4. Dont peek – Opening the oven door can lower the internal temperature as much as 25 degrees. Use a timer to set the cooking time, and be sure your oven window is clean enough for you to see how your dish is progressing.
  5. Practice smart storage – Don’t overload the refrigerator. Food stored loosely helps cold air circulate better, maximizing efficiency. The freezer, on the other hand, uses less energy when packed tightly(add a bag of ice to help fill it up).
  6. Place appliances strategically – If possible, keep the refrigerator away from the oven and the dishwasher. The latter two generate heat, which makes the refrigerator work harder and use more energy to stay cold.
  7. Don’t preheat the oven – Unless the recipe calls for a preheated oven, dont preheat.

Green Your Fourth of July

920695_26615421If you have been on the green scene for a while than you already know how to green a party, bbq or celebration, Fourth of July is not an exception.

1. Place Settings: When setting the table remember to stay away from plastic, Styrofoam, and paper disposable items. Use your everyday dishes, silverware and cloth napkins, these are the most friendly to the environment. If you must use disposable, try these; Green Feet bamboo disposable ware.

2. Decorations: Here are some eco-friendly ways to decorate the table and yard: Red,white and blue table cloth, Vases filled with red, white and blue flowers, Stick a candle in old jars and add 4th of July ribbon. Sprig has a list of 10 Eco-friendly decorating ideas that wont bust your budget, you can use any of their ideas and just incorporate red,white and blue.

3. Food: Stick to buying locally grown organic food when putting your menu together. Stay away from red meat as much as you can. If you must eat red meat, buy locally grown and organic. Its not enough that its local, it must be organic. For more on what cows are fed and why to avoid red meat read this article, The Truth About Red Meat – What’s the Problem with Beef?

Eco-Friendly Fathers Day Gifts

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Fathers Day is this Sunday! You don’t have much time. When looking for the perfect gift for your Father or Husband, think about what they love to do and start looking for the Eco-Friendly versions of those things. Here are some helpful ideas to help you find the best Eco-Friendly fathers day gifts.

Green & Clean Mom has 3 suggestions for you to check out – Nalgene Flask, Stainless Steele Cutlery Set and the Autoseal Stainless Steel Travel Mug.

Eco Salon also has some more great suggestions for your Eco-Friendly fathers day. From the quirky to the comfortable, but all easy on the environment.

Another great site is Inhabitat which offers you ideas as cheap as $6.99 with items from shoes to radios.

If your Father or Husband enjoys plants or flowers, Organic Style is a great place to find just what you need. They have Bonsai’s, Cookies and beautiful bouquets.

Remember this fathers day, if you can’t find the Eco-Friendly items you want at your local department store try going to a local farmers market or Saturday market for homemade, local gifts that your Husband or Father will love.

And remember – Keep Living Green!

Happy Memorial Day

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From all of us here at HackALife, we want to wish you a Happy Memorial Day. We hope that each of you are enjoying the day off with family and friends, whether its a day at home doing nothing or a weekend full of travel and excitement at the lake or the beach. We hope you will also each take a moment to reflect on and remember those who have given their lives in service to our country. They deserve our respect and remembrance.

So whether its a barbecue or boating, family or friends, enjoy the day off and join us in welcoming the Summer of 2009!

How to Green Your Memorial Day

754989_73943834Memorial day weekend is known for barbecues, picnics and all things outdoors. Sitting at my desk I have watched 100 or more RVs and trailers go rolling by. Memorial day marks the beginning of the warm weather. Essentially its the first time of the year for most to take their campers, trailers, and tents out.

But all this traveling, camping, rving can really be hard on the environment.No matter what you do this weekend, try to implement some of these tips to make your carbon footprint a little lighter.

Barbecue

  • Mow the lawn with a push mower.
  • Purchase an electric grill powered by wind energy or a solar powered grill.
  • Use natural cleaning products to clean up your lounge chairs and table.
  • Use lump charcoal made from natural and sustainable wood and try to avoid using lighter fluid.

Picnic

  • Use biodegradable utensils, bowls and cups.
  • Have a recycling bin handy, next to the trash.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Use organic bug spray and repellent to keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay.

RV and Trailer

  • Add solar panels to your RV. This can help save on shore and/or generator power usage.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lighting, even the running and parking lights.
  • Use paper plates instead of plastic, reducing landfill decomposition time. Picking up some plates from the goodwill and keeping them in your RV/Trailor is the best sustainable option.
  • Use GEO method for controlling odor in your holding tanks rather than holding tank chemicals.

Camping

  • Recycle what ever items you bring in with you.
  • When shopping for your trip, think ahead about what you will have to throw away. Think of ways to reduce your waste while camping.
  • Be conscious of nearby water sources. Make sure and keep your waste out of the water, use the bathroom when possible.
  • Stay on the designated trails. Traveling off the path leads to soil erosion.