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Recyclebank's Top 10

Recyclebank’s Top 10 Ways To Green Your Halloween

By Recyclebank |

From pumpkins to costumes to candy, here’s how to reduce all your spooky Halloween waste.

Is the thought of all the potential Halloween trash more frightening than Halloween itself? No need to fear. We’ve got some green Halloween tips that are sure to scare away any waste — but don’t worry, we promise you’ll still get all of your Halloween treats!


1. Make a jack-o’-lantern. Can't decide whether to carve or paint your pumpkins? Carve them! Many paints contain ingredients that can’t be composted, so to ensure you can still dispose of your pumpkin responsibly, skip the paint and get handy with some carving tools!

Read More: Proper Green: Is it Bad to Paint my Pumpkin?


2. Keep the décor natural. Putting your pretty carved pumpkins on display is a given, but there are also other gourds and décor (think branches, leaves) that can be brought inside to make your home feel like a haunted house while reducing your consumption of man-made materials. Since everything will be natural, just add it to the compost pile at the end of the season.

Read More: The List: 7 Ways to Decorate Naturally for Fall

3. Opt for decorations you can repurpose. If you can’t get your hands on compostable leaves or cornstalks, choose decorations that will last for years to come in some form or another! For example, you can use fake cobwebs as replacement stuffing for stuffed animals or throw pillows.

Read More: The List: 5 Tips for Dealing With Halloween's Detritus


4. Make your own DIY costume makeup. Use natural food coloring and cornstarch to make your own vibrant face paint without any of the harmful chemicals. By using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, you can avoid the extra cost and all the packaging that comes with store bought versions!

Read More: Q & A: Halloween Makeup

5. Make your own DIY costume using only what you already have. From old school classics like a bed sheet ghost to new ideas like “raining cats and dogs” (where you glue a bunch of stuffed animals to a raincoat and umbrella), many costumes can be made without a trip to the store. To reduce even more waste, get creative with old clothes that were headed for the trash anyway!

Read More: 7 DIY Costume Ideas You Already Have the Materials For

6. Raid a thrift store for costume ideas. There are so many clothes in need of a second life, and many of them are at thrift stores just waiting to be pieced together into your next Halloween costume. Plus, for any DIY costumes missing key pieces — say, a fringe vest or cool tie-dye shirt to complete a hippie look — a thrift store is just the place to find what you’re searching for.

Read More: Proper Green: Thrift Store Costumes

7. Donate old costumes. Don’t let those ghosts of Halloweens past haunt you (and take up all your storage space). Raid your current costume collection and donate any that you’ve grown out of or that you’ve gotten the most possible uses out of. For any of those costumes that have a bit too much wear and tear, you might be able to bring them to a drop-off center for textile recycling.

Read More: Halloween Just Got a Little Greener


8. Choose your treats wisely. Go for bulk candy options to avoid unnecessary packaging, or ditch the candy idea altogether! Small toys, fun pencils and erasers, or even loose change have been some successful lower-waste alternatives to add to those trick-or-treaters’ Halloween haul.

Read More: Intertwined: Simple Green Tricks for Trick-or-Treating

9. Skip the store-bought treat buckets. Those cliché plastic pumpkins seem to be ubiquitous, but believe it or not, there are other options. Going with a reusable bag that can be used over and over again is your best bet for reducing waste. Pillowcases fit more treats, anyway!

Read More: Happy Green Halloween

10. Dispose of all leftover candy (or just wrappers), sustainably. The bad news is that the candy itself isn’t compostable, but the good news is that there are programs that accept candy wrappers, like TerraCycle’s mail-in recycling program. If you’re having trouble keeping up with all the candy you’ve collected, you could donate wrapped candies (try something like Operation Gratitude), freeze some of it to save for later, or turn it into something new, like chocolates into candy bark or hard candies into cake and cookie toppers!

Read More: Proper Green: Candy Disposal, Solved

Have any other ideas to reduce all that wicked waste? Share your tricks and tips (or treats) in the comments below!

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  • Audrey N. 7 months ago
    Yeah I don’t know any parent that would let their child eat “bulk” that they found in their Halloween bag, bc the kind I’m thinking of is usually unwrapped.
  • Anthony M. 7 months ago
    what I do is take all gourds , indian corn and pumpkins to a wooded lot in the country, "critters" love 'em!
  • Gina L. 7 months ago
    Decor: I certainly would not bring branches, leaves or other outside decorations into my home. There is way too of a certainty of pests along with them. This site claims to not spray chemicals. However, if you bring in outdoor material it is bound to have problems. Keeping it natural works both ways.
    • Mark M. 7 months ago
      Some natural items like branches could bring insects, dust, etc. inside. I would probably stick to things that you can inspect individually. Some things might need to be rinsed off, too.
  • JC G. 7 months ago
    We enjoy the naturalness of our pumpkin which always gets recycled by cooking in the pressure cooker, freezing in measured portions, and eating it in various recipes after the holiday.
  • Mark M. 7 months ago
    I'm not sure what the bulk candy option means. Are you talking about giving out loose candy to trick or treaters? By the way, leftover candy is not usually a problem! :D
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