Fast approaching is the strangely spook-tacular holiday when the land of the living dances with the dead. When a quirky, costume-clad celebration culminates on the eve of November 1, a night when all sorts of bizarre is bound to happen.
That’s right, Santa Cruz, Halloween is almost here.
No matter how you chose to celebrate this year, has some fantastic eek-o-friendly tips to help you kick-start a Green Halloween. So before we get to solving the million dollar question of ‘What are you going to be for Halloween?’, let’s start things off with a little getting into the holiday spirit.
Pack up the kids, the dog, or your homies, and drive up the coast to Rodoni Farms, a certified organic family farm. Their U Pick Em Pumpkin Patch is just four miles north of Santa Cruz, opens daily from 9-6, and features a huge selection of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. You can pick up some gourds and corn stalks for your harvest-themed home decorating, wind through a corn maze, take colorful photos, and let the kids get burn off some energy on the hay bale jungle gyms.
A bit farther north is Santa Cruz institution, Swanton Berry Farms, a certified organic, union-grown operation unlike any other. At Swanton you can walk out to a field of orange and white pumpkins and pick your own pumpkin right from the vine. And their small field of sunflowers is absolutely gorgeous this time of year, so photographs with a backdrop of ten-foot tall sunflowers are just a short journey away. Swanton also sells slices of pumpkin pie, strawberry shortcake, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry cider, and an amazing line of jams.
Next up is to pick a day this weekend or early next week to gather with your friends and family to carve your masterpieces and roast those pumpkin seeds (rinse with water, lay on lightly oiled baking sheet, salt and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes). Make it a harvest potluck party where everyone shares a favorite dish, and don’t forget the paraben-free candles so you can light up your pumpkins to the delight of all (you can find earth-friendly at Staff of Life and New Leaf).
Having or attending a Halloween party? Follow the simple green-living mantra when prepping for fun: ‘Buy local. Buy organic.’ Since most parties need beer, thankfully Santa Cruz is blessed with the bounty of two seriously tasty and talented organic breweries. Go big with a full-size or half-keg from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in any flavor (each one is to die for amazing), or try out Uncommon Brewers, whose Golden State Poppy brew is truly one of a kind.
A new alternative to a Halloween revolving around junk-food induced bellyaches (Nestle is both bad for you and the planet, folks!) is to combine forces with your neighbors for a multi-house Halloween party extravaganza. The revelers begin at one house to partake in treats, food, drink, and games, and then move on to the next house, where even more food, fun, and games are to be had. The last house kicks it up a notch with a DIY haunted house, and the kids get to trick-or-treat each time the party moves houses. It’s progressive family-fun for all.
Now it’s time to get moving on your costume. Host a costume-swap where costumes are recycled and free of charge, and your only impact on the environment depends on how you get there.
If you don’t have any solid costume ideas yet, just stop into one of our many thrift stores here in Santa Cruz to get those creative juices flowing. The Goodwill at 204 Union Street is a costume goldmine. Closet Capers in Seabright rents and sells top-notch reused costumes and if you’ve never been before, you won’t believe what lies behind those doors.
Happy Halloween from The Local Green!