Halloween seems to be the one holiday that can be just as much fun for kids as it is for adults (if not more so), but with all the candy-induced stomach aches and Halloween party shenanigans comes a lot of waste – treat wrappers, plastic bags, costumes only worn once, and discarded decorations.
There are ways to be green for the black and orange holiday. Halloween should be thrilling for us and not a horrifying experience for the environment.
Throughout the year, you can collect different materials to use as decorations for Halloween, saving you money and the environment in the process. Some examples include:
- Reusing your old decorations from last year – why spend money when you still have perfectly good ones?
- Make spider webbing out of old stockings that have runs in them.
- Got any cardboard boxes lying around? Make them into headstones!
- Incorporate any leaves or branches from your yard into your decorations.
- Make sure to buy pumpkins from local farms, or better yet, grow your own!
- When carving your pumpkin save the innards to use in baked goods and toast the seeds for a delicious snack. If you don’t want to use the insides of the pumpkin, it can always be composted!
Millions of people buy brand new costumes every year, which can get expensive on top of being incredibly wasteful! There are ways around this of course:
- Use old clothes that you can incorporate into new costumes.
- If you need to buy a costume DO NOT buy retail! Check out thrift shops, consignment stores or yard sales to find your costume needs on the cheap.
- Make Halloween masks out of any Styrofoam you have sitting around.
- If you’re especially creative and have cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other unwanted material around the house you can make some seriously impressive homemade costumes.
- Trade costumes with your friends or better yet, organize a community costume swap!
- Instead of buying Halloween makeup you can always make your own face paint.
Trick or Treating
Definitely one of the best parts of Halloween if you’re a kid – getting candy and chocolate (and occasionally a toothbrush) for free! Sustainable trick or treating is surprisingly easy to do, and a great way to teach kids to always be conscious of the impact their actions can have on the environment. Here’s how:
- For a trick or treat bag, use household items to put candy in – a pillowcase, bucket, cloth grocery bag or even one of our Multi-Recycler Bins. The best part is they can all be reused after!
- We all know there are neighborhoods that hand out better treats than others, if you live in the former, don’t waste gas, resist the temptation to drive to areas with crazy Halloween swag and just stick to your own neighborhood.
- If you’re worried about how sustainable the candy is that you’re handing out, there’s always Green Candy Alternatives.
- Keep an eye out for candy and snacks that are:
- GMO Free
- Have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives
- Contains no high fructose corn syrup
- Are fair trade produced
- Comes in recycled packaging.
- Now what to do with all those candy wrappers? Don’t throw them out! TerraCycle offers a Snack Wrapper – Zero Waste Box™ that you can fill with candy wrappers, cookie wrappers, snack bags, multi-pack snack bags, and family-size snack bags. When it’s full bring the box to any UPS location to ship your items back to TerraCycle using the pre-paid UPS shipping label that’s already on the box.
Children get to have trick or treating, adults get to have Halloween parties! As with any bash, there’s usually a huge mess left behind by partygoers. Whether you’re hosting or attending a party there are ways to cut down on waste:
- Avoid disposable cups, plates and cutlery and use the real thing.
- If the idea of doing all those dishes terrifies you and need to go the disposable route – make sure to buy biodegradable cups, plates and cutlery.
- Put name tags or labels on cups so people can keep track of them, avoiding more waste or dishes.
Halloween doesn’t have to be a wasteland of wrappers, costumes and decorations – be safe, have fun and keep it sustainable!