Halloween is a holiday of consumption. Candy is devoured by the handful. Cheap costumes are worn once and thrown out. Plastic décor is easily damaged and ready for the trash heap. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these tips to eliminate or reduce the amount of garbage you create this Halloween whether you’re going to Trail-of-Treats, Trunk-or-Treat, or old fashioned Trick-or-Treat.

  1. Consider the costume
    Your child may dream of being a character from a hit movie or show, but with some coaxing, you could direct them toward a more timeless look. Costumes for cowboys, princesses or pirates can often be made from items you already have around the house. This can save money and reduce waste. While you’re at it, use an old pillowcase as a candy bag instead of buying a plastic bucket.

  2. Consider the treat
    Sure the kids want candy, and what’s Halloween without a bit of sugar. Knowing most people will be distributing candy though, you can give out something else. Sidewalk chalk, crayons or pencils will get more use than a piece of candy. They’ll also save space at the dump. If you do go with candy, treats like Dots, Pixie Stix, Milk Duds and Nerds come in paper or cardboard trappings that are friendlier to the environment.

  3. Consider others
    Children are likely to break into their candy before mom and dad make their final check, and they hide it by dumping the evidence and discarding the wrapper. Help them avoid this temptation. Give your child a second bag and tell them to pick up any wrappers they see discarded by other trick-or-treaters. Your neighborhood will look much better come Nov. 1.

  4. Consider the décor
    Everyone loves a spooky looking house come Halloween, but why create more trash when you can get the effect for less?

    Real pumpkins of course are an environmentally safe decoration item, as are squash and gourds. If you need a stuffed monster for the front yard, use old clothes and fill them with leaves. Use a pumpkin for a head. Speaking of pumpkins, those seeds and innards don’t need to go in the trash.

    Pumpkin seeds can be cooked into a treat and the internet with awash with ideas for the rest of the pumpkin. Make everything from pumpkin pie to something called pumpkin gut bread.
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