Make your Halloween Environmentally Friendly

That spooky time of the year is upon us! While Halloween can be frightening good fun for children and parents; the decorations, costumes, and candies can be downright scary for the environment. So this Halloween, my family tried to think of the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – when planning our celebration.

For months now, my children have been deciding what they want to be for Halloween and like all kids, it changes from week to week.

My one daughter is very picky and has been requesting on a daily basis to choose her costume at a large party retailer. After many “can we go today, Mommy?”, last week we ventured out to buy her costume. She wanted a very specific costume from a popular series of toys. Now, I am pretty creative when it comes to making costumes, but decided purchasing this one would be way easier. She was thrilled and went to bed that night holding her costume package bag!

A Halloween costume reused (and enhanced) from last year

Not too shabby! Reused last year's costume, added some decorations and voila... a whole new costume!

My other daughter decided on a spider vampire costume, but I had to decide whether I would spend another $40 dollars on a costume that I pretty much had at home. So I convinced her that Mommy could paint our vampire costume at home with large spider webs just like the one in the store. She was super excited and I breathed a sigh of relief at not having to purchase another costume. We did buy some white hair paint and little tiny spiders to accessorize. At home, we used last year’s vampire costume, but I got out my white art paint and together we got to work painting spider webs. Talk about a great example of reuse! There are lots of other ways you can reuse items into new Halloween costumes too.

Unfortunately, my girls weren’t too keen, but there are a lot of options for using household recycling materials and turning them into neat costumes. I especially like this recycling warrior!

My two girls are ready for Halloween, using a mix of new and reused costumes

Next up was decorating the house. The girls and I do crafts every year with kids from the neighborhood and this year’s craft was flying bats.  We reused some boas from last year’s Halloween, and now our house is littered with bats. We store our Halloween decorations so we can reuse them each year: the scarecrows are out, purple lights are up, and spooky ghost lights that make scary sounds are on the walkway. I can seriously say I am getting excited for the little trick or treaters this year.

While Halloween’s a lot of fun, you need to consider safety too! I picked up neat glow sticks with a string for the girls to wear on their costumes for increased visibility. After Halloween these glow sticks can be placed in the Garbage. Most Halloween candy comes in cardboard boxes that can go in the Blue Box for recycling, but almost all candy wrappers end up in the garbage. The best way to be sure is to do the “rip test.” If the wrapper rips cleanly with no plastic or metal bits, it can go in the GreenCart. If it is hard to rip, or if there is plastic or metal bits, the wrapper goes in the Garbage.

Halloween safety glow sticks

We don’t carve our pumpkins until the day before Halloween to avoid the pumpkins going bad and going to waste.  Carve your pumpkin out on top of newspaper; once you’re done, the pumpkin “guts” can be folded into the newspaper and placed in your GreenCart for composting.  When all is said and done, don’t forget to place your pumpkins, cornstalks and decorative hay bales out for yard waste collection.

What are you doing in your home to practice the 3Rs this Halloween? I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Halloween!

About Stacey Gibbs

Hi, I’m Stacey, I'm a Waste Management Operations Assistant. I take care of the wide variety of calls that Halton Region receives daily involving collection issues, and other all waste related inquiries.
This entry was posted in Apartments, Green Living, Houses, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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