6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is an exciting holiday for people of all ages, filled with costumes, pumpkins, candy, and frights. Ghosts, goblins, witches and warlocks can be spooky, but here are some statistics that are even scarier:

  • 83% of Halloween costumes use non-recyclable plastic, which is equivalent to around 2,000 tons of plastic waste.
  • 63% of Halloween costumes take anywhere from 20-200 years to decompose.
  • About one billion pounds of pumpkins are sent to landfills each year.
  • Halloween candy is responsible for up to 30% of plastic packaging waste.
  • Americans spend over $2 billion on plastic decorations each year that end up in landfills.

To reduce a portion of the waste produced during Halloween, consider using these five tips below for an eco-friendly holiday.

  1. Get your costume from a thrift shop. While some thrift shops may sell gently used costumes from a Halloween store, it’s even better if you can use your creativity to create your own! The thrift store is a great place to find basic shirts, cheap accessories, and fun props to add to your look.
  2. Make your own decorations. If you’re planning on decorating your house or throwing a Halloween party, consider using natural decorations such as pumpkins (carved or not), straw, corn stalks and solar-powered lights. If you use pumpkins for your decorations, try cooking with them after you take them down. You can also try making your own décor with sustainable materials. If you do end up buying some things from the store, be sure to store them well and save them for next year!
  3. Buy candy with recyclable packaging. Instead of handing out treats wrapped in plastic, opt for those packaged with cardboard, paper, or foil. These materials have much higher recycling rates than plastic.
  4. Don’t buy a new trick-or-treating bucket. Although you might be tempted to buy another pumpkin or cauldron-shaped bucket to go trick-or-treating, try to resist! Save your money and the environment by using something you already have. A reusable tote bag or even a pillowcase works great!
  5. Eat or compost the pumpkin you carve. If you’re planning on carving a pumpkin, eat or compost it when you’re finished. There are a number of ways to use the meat and seeds – try making pork and squash soup for dinner or pumpkin crunch for dessert! If you’re not a big fan of eating pumpkin, put it to good use in your compost bin.
  1. Don’t throw away candy wrappers in the street. If you’re planning on eating any of the candy and snacks before you get home, take an extra bag to pack your rubbish to throw away at home.  Also, if you find rubbish during your trick-or-treat outing, pick it up.

Sources: The Eco Hub, Hummingbird International