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Stay Green this Halloween

Like many of our holidays, Halloween can be a costly and wasteful occasion. Don’t let the commercialism take all the eco-friendly opportunities out of it! Here are some tips to make sure you don’t scare Mother Nature this October.

Halloween Costumes
Consider reusing costumes from previous years to make new costumes, or recycle old clothing into new costumes. Before you set out your paper recycling, set aside cardboard boxes and large pieces of paper that you can use to create costumes.

This Halloween, make a green Halloween costume box and throw old clothes, interesting props and other recyclable materials into it throughout the year. By next Halloween, you’ll have lots of eco-friendly materials to make into new costumes or decorations.

Halloween Treats
Instead of giving out candy, consider giving pencils, erasers, or temporary tattoos. Besides reducing the waste of all the single-serving packaging, you’ll be providing an alternative to high-sugar candy. If your kids don’t want to give up food treats, consider small boxes of raisins which have recyclable paper packaging.

Halloween Decorations
Halloween decorations can be natural with gourds, pumpkins, and cornstalks. Lower your emissions on Halloween by buying locally grown pumpkins, and then lower your waste by composting them after Halloween has passed. Use recycled paper to make window decorations, or place-mats and then send them on for another round of recycling in November. Paper grocery bags can be cut and molded into spooky Halloween trees, masks, lanterns or tombstones, and painted white for ghostly effects.

Send your kids trick-or-treating with reusable buckets, canvas bags or pillow cases. Lower emissions by trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, or by parking in a neighborhood and going around on foot.

Halloween Party
Send electronic invitations instead of paper to lower waste. Instead of using plastic or Styrofoam plates, cups and utensils, compostable silverware and party plates are now widely available. Go to your neighborhood second hand store and purchase a stack of mismatched cloth napkins and then have guests toss them in a basket for washing and reusing at your next party. Be sure to recycle bottles and cans, and compost leftovers.

Halloween Cleanup
Once Halloween is over, recycle your pumpkins, Jack-o-Lanterns, the straw you used to build scarecrows and any other organic material by composting it. Along with a pile of leaves and green grass clippings, you will have some great nutrient rich garden booster by spring.