Tips to Green Your Halloween

Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for kids and adults alike, but from candy wrappers galore to discarded pumpkins to throwaway costumes, it can also be a waste-filled holiday. In 2016 alone, Americans spent over $8 billion on Halloween items. That adds up to a scary amount of trash!

Just because Halloween colors are black and orange doesn’t mean the holiday can’t be green. Try these easy tips to help!

Costumes

Instead of buying a brand new costume each year (that may never be used again), use one of these tips for repurposing old clothes and costumes:

  • Shop for costumes at local thrift stores.
  • Recycle costumes from past years into new ones by mixing and matching pieces, adding different makeup or accessories, or passing them down from older children to younger children.
  • Make costumes out of clothing you already have. By adding makeup and accessories you can easily turn regular clothing to turn it into a costume. You’ll limit how much you need to buy, and avoid wearing the bulk of your costume only once.
  • Get inventive! Create a costume out of items you have lying around the house, such as cardboard boxes. You can check out Pinterest for DIY cardboard box costume ideas.
  • Share or exchange costumes with friends! A Halloween costume exchange can be a fun activity for friends or children of similar ages.
  • Don’t toss your costumes — save the ones you know you can reuse or repurpose into new costumes, or donate them to local thrift stores or theater programs. If a costume is no longer usable, dispose of it with other clothing and textiles.

Decorations

  • Opt for natural decorations, such as pumpkins, gourds, leaves and pinecones. These make great accents and table centerpieces that are also biodegradable.
  • If you’re decorating with pumpkins and gourds, remember that they can be composted! You can also toast and eat the seeds, or put dried seeds outside for birds and squirrels to eat.
  • Make your own Halloween decorations from newspaper and scrap paper, which can be recycled.
  • Choose decorations that can be saved and reused from year to year, instead of buying new ones each season.
  • Avoid plastic decorations such as fake cobwebs and plastic rings that are messy, easily lost, or quickly discarded. Plastic decorations like these are also not recyclable, so make sure they end up in the trash when they’re no longer wanted.

Candy

  • To collect candy, have your kids use pillowcases or reusable bags instead of store-bought plastic buckets. (The pillowcases will hold more candy, anyway.)
  • Be sure to toss all candy wrappers — they are not recyclable!

Happy Halloween!