This Halloween, we’re featuring spiders on the blog! But not to scare you. In fact, we thought Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to shed some (not-so-spooky) light on these creepy crawlies.
Our eight-legged friends (yes – you read that right) top the list of the most misunderstood helpers and are labeled as pests. Entomologists are working hard to change the public’s perception of spiders through education and outreach. After all, we are less likely to be afraid of something that we are familiar with and spiders have an important ecological role as the top invertebrate predator.
Spiders evolved 380 million years ago (long before the dinosaurs) and are believed to be the first animals to live on land. They are living fossils that evolved from an underwater ancestor that makes them closer cousins to a horseshoe crab than an insect.
Spiders are often lumped together with insects even though they are very different creatures. Spiders are in the same phylum (Arthropods) as insects, because they have a segmented body. To put that in perspective, humans are in the same phylum (Chordata) as hagfish, and obviously, other than a hollow nerve cord, we are nothing like a hagfish. The differences are that big!
Without spiders, we would be waist deep in other insects!! Spiders eat an astronomical amount of bugs – somewhere in the range of 880 million tons of bugs a year!
Fear and loathing
You can Google hundreds of news articles about car wrecks and house fires caused by people’s fear of spiders. Just a few days ago, there was a house fire in California where a man burnt down his parent’s house trying to kill a black widow. While there is research that shows some people are born with an innate fear of spiders, other people raise them as pets. Read more
Here are some of our favorite tips to green your Halloween!
Do you generally buy a brand new costume, wear it once, and stash it away in the closet for years? Do you buy seasonal costumes that are full of toxins? It’s time to save some money, revere your health, and green your Halloween experience. Instead of buying a costume, rent one. Salt Lake City has a variety of places where you can rent a costume.
For adults and kids alike, be creative and make one from finds at a second hand store! Salt Lake City has several types of stores to choose from: Savers, Uptown Cheapskate and Deseret Industries all sell gently-used clothing.
Looking for last minute inspiration? There are about a million ideas on Pinterest.
For those going out:
- Remember to bring something reusable to carry the candy in. A cloth grocery bag works well and is easy to carry. Pillowcases or a small bucket work well too!
For those staying in:
- Hand out something tasty and healthy! Fruits and veggies (e.g. apples, baby carrots, grapes) are always a good choice and require minimal (if any) packaging. Organic fruit snacks are easier on the teeth than candy and are still delicious. Have you considered packets of granola, organic juice boxes or dried fruits?
- There are plenty of non-food items that can be handed out too! Stickers, crayons, toothpastes and toothbrushes, beads and bean bags are all treats. Don’t forget pencils!
Things to Avoid
- Most children’s face paints are full of toxic heavy metals (e.g. lead, nickel, and chromium). Manufacturers don’t include these on the package label. Make your own food-based make-up with these DIY Recipes.
- Foods that contain high amounts of corn syrup/sugar, hydrogenated oils, or artificial colors and flavors.
- Purchasing new costumes.
- Purchasing a container to hold Halloween treats.
- Handing out cheap petroleum-based, plastic toys.
For More Information On Greening Your Halloween
Above all, have a safe, happy and green Halloween!
Happy Halloween, Salt Lake City!
Tonight, think outside the candy bag with some creative ideas from Green Halloween.
A few of our favorites:
- Honey sticks
- Fruit snacks or fruit leather
- Mini granola bars
Check out the full list at GreenHalloween.org.