It’s that time of year again: Halloween is here! In less than a week, kids around the U.S. will run door to door in search of those houses with the biggest candy bars and yummiest treats. Ghouls, witches, and many creative costumes will fill the halls of schools around the country and homes around your neighborhood. It’s the scariest time of the year – with the sweetest candy to boot.
With all those individually wrapped candies, however, Halloween isn’t the greenest holiday. We would never suggest that you ruin the fun and stop handing out candy, of course! We merely recommend a few tips and tricks to lessen your environmental impact on this creepy holiday.
- Choose secondhand costumes. As soon as September hits, stores line their shelves with costumes galore. While it can be tempting to just pick something off a shelf, those with the costumes you’re often most impressed by are made from secondhand clothes! Store costumes are often only worn once; the energy and resources that go into creating those costumes, just to have them thrown away after one night of wear, is quite unfortunate. Brainstorm a few costume ideas and head to the closest thrift shop to get your costume ingredients. Kudos if you can wear parts of that costume all year round as everyday clothing! After Halloween, donate used pieces back for someone else to enjoy.
- Buy foil-wrapped chocolates – or less candy. A huge portion of the Halloween fun comes from seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when you hand them candy at the doorstep. We of course don’t want to end this tradition. We encourage you to buy only what you think you’ll need to reduce the extra packaging and waste. Foil-wrapped chocolates are also a great option as the foil can be recycled and they require less packaging.
- Don’t recycle candy wrappers. We know – you’re trying to go green here! But hear us out. Recycling facilities can’t process candy wrappers, as they’re often made up of multiple materials that can’t be recycled easily. While cans (aluminum) and bottles (#1 plastic) are made up of single materials that can be recycled and sold for a profit by recyclers, candy wrappers are not. They contaminate the waste stream, even ensuring that recyclable materials don’t get recycled. Reduce the amount of candy you buy – then, either throw the wrappers in the trash, or…
- Reuse your candy wrappers. Type in a quick search online for ways to DIY candy wrapper handbags, wallets, or even jewelry. The opportunities are endless if you engage your creative side!
- Decorate your house the green way. Instead of buying throwaway plastic or Styrofoam decorations that will break after one year, invest in (or DIY) wood or cloth décor that you can use for years to come. The longer you can reuse the decorations, the less your environmental impact.
- If you host a party, prioritize reusable serving ware. This is a good tip for any holiday soiree – for any party you throw, avoid the disposable plates, silverware, and cups, and opt for reusable options instead to lessen your waste and impact.
Do you practice green habits during Halloween season? Let us know your best tips in the comments below!