Ghosts and goblins aren’t the only frightening part of Halloween — the holiday also can be a bit scary for the environment. In the U.S. alone tens of millions of trick-or-treaters will take to the streets, which means a lot of costumes and candy … and plenty potential for waste. For days following Halloween, forlorn jack-o-lanterns wither on porch stoops, candy wrappers and decorations fill trashcans, and faux cobwebs breeze down streets like tumbleweeds.
Make your Halloween a little more sustainable by following these easy tricks.
No, it’s not our sister blog; we’re talking about candy. Cut down on litter by handing out treats with minimal packaging or choose candy with wrapping that can be more easily recycled, like paper or foil. Pro tip: if metallic wrapping pops back to its original shape when crumpled, it probably can’t be recycled. You can mail unrecyclable candy wrappers and chip bags to organizations like Terracycle so they can be upcycled.
Speaking of trick-or-treating, we know how much kids can love their florescent plastic pumpkins, but these candy transporters often get discarded and bought again each year. Talk about spooky. Spend an evening decorating tote bags or go old school with a pillowcase to collect candy.
For a long-term project that requires planning ahead, try growing your own pumpkins. Whether homegrown or store-bought, pumpkins produce a lot of seeds perfect for roasting, so while you’re carving jack, collect and clean the seeds, and roast them with salt or cinnamon for a tasty fall snack. Light up scary and funny pumpkin faces with soy candles or LED candles for a more eco-friendly burn, and at the end of the holiday, throw old pumpkins, decorative gourds, and dried corn into the compost pile or bin.
Instead of buying new, get creative. Stuff old sheets with leaves or crumpled newspaper to make ghosts, rip old pantyhose for spider webs, and make tombstones out of cardboard. Reuse and repurpose decorations from last year, as well as unwanted or passed along decorations from family, neighbors, and friends.
You don’t need a time machine to turn old rags into a cool new costume. Orchestrate a costume swap or hit the local thrift shop for inspiration, and while you’re there, donate your costumes from years past. Use this chance to get creative with what you already have at home. If you’re feeling stumped, take our handy Halloween costume quiz for even more ideas on what to be and how to assemble the perfect denim-inspired costume.
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Photo credits: FrankieLeon via Flickr CC; shucksandshadoodles; Brian Jackson via Flickr CC; Ian Mutto via Flickr CC; The Conmunity via Flickr CC