A few weeks ago, we delved into Halloween costumes and the virtual water impact you may make in your annual dress-up celebration.  This week, we continue our exploration of what is objectively the best holiday of them all with a peek at Halloween decorations.

First of all, what is Halloween without a jack-o-lantern on your front porch?  The nice thing about jack-o-lanterns is that it’s fairly easy to track their virtual water impact as they have only one ingredient: a pumpkin.  Squash require only 31 gallons for every pound of produce, and your average jack-o-lantern -quality pumpkin will weigh between 7 and 10 pounds.    Consuming up to 310 gallons of water on a decoration may sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of virtual water, it’s actually next to nothing. 

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Need more reasons to get your spooky smiling gourd on?  The filling can be put to work, too, meaning you get even more enjoyment without additional virtual water content.  Roast the seeds for a crunchy snack.  Bake the fillings into a pie if you’re craving something sweet instead. 

But we’re not all handy with the carving knife and tools.  What if you were to buy an artificial jack-o-lantern instead?  On the upside, it can be used year after year (unless, like my family, you buy your decorations while your puppy is going through a chewing phase).  On the downside, it’s made of artificial materials like plastic, ceramic, and foam.  Every brand will be different, but unless you can find an eco-friendly manufacturer, expect your fake jack to vastly outpace the real ones in terms of water consumption.

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Not everything is about jack-o-lanterns, though.  I’ve always enjoyed the spooky abandoned mansion feel I get through the generous application of fake spider-webs.  Like the fake jack-o-lanterns, every fake spider web manufacturer will have a different recipe and a different eco-footprint, but you can also make your own out of glue.  Buyer beware, though, because rubber cement is made of artificial materials including latex, so you can expect a higher footprint.    Maybe you’d be better off letting your real spiders go a little crazy?

Feeling spooky yet?  Having fun getting scared is a great way to celebrate the holiday, but let’s not lose sight of the genuinely scary fact of climate change.  Think green for Halloween!

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