Green is the new orange: how to have an eco-friendly Halloween

  • Monday, October 17, 2016 7:47am
  • Life

By Michelle Metzler

Manager, Public Education & Outreach, Waste Management

Bags of candy line the shelves at grocery stores, pumpkins are everywhere you look, and Halloween is right around the corner.

October is one of the spookiest and most festive times of year. It can also create a lot of waste.

This year, try these earth-friendly tips for a greener Halloween.

Start by using every part of the pumpkin. After making Jack-O-Lanterns, how about seasoning and toasting the pumpkin seeds for a healthy, tasty snack? The pulp is great for soup, ravioli, or even a pumpkin spice latte with real pumpkin puree.

After Halloween is over, make sure to compost sagging Jack-O-Lanterns rather than throwing them away.

Be smart with candy. Trick-or-treaters are often told to throw away anything without a wrapper, but homemade candy is a more sustainable option for parties, family, and friends.

After Halloween, leftover candy can be repurposed in dessert recipes, used as ice cream toppings, mixed with trail mix, or donated to local charities.

Consider opting for handmade costumes, rather than plastic-heavy store-bought items.

Host your own “costume swap,” or create original costumes from pieces found in family and friends’ closets or at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Not only will they be less wasteful, the costumes will be unique and there is no risk of ending up with the same costume as someone else.

For kids who are fans of the recycling truck, there’s a creative, easy way to make a Waste Management truck costume with an old box. The directions are in a short video which can be found on YouTube by searching “Waste Management Truck Costume.”

Make or reuse trick-or-treat containers rather than buying new ones. Pillowcases or reusable shopping bags work great, and homemade decorations can make a bag just as festive as a plastic pumpkin.

To cut down on both cost and waste, create your own Halloween decorations from recycled materials. A quick Google or Pinterest search provides endless inspiration for DIY decorations. If there are essential pieces you must buy, purchase secondhand and be sure to store them for use in future years.

October is also the perfect time for tree planting and outdoor projects in the community. On Saturday join your neighbors at the 3rd Annual Green Everett Day at Howarth Park, a celebration of urban forests and the community effort to keep them healthy. Sign up in advance at

This is a monthly column by Michelle Metzler, Waste Management, Public Education and Outreach. Readers can direct questions to

Talk to us

More in Life

Sierra Wilkin wipes down pens for customers during the opening day of Cama Beach Cafe on Friday, May 22, 2020 in Camano Island, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Shutdown hit Camano cafe hard, but owner’s used to a challenge

When Cama Beach Cafe was forced to close, Donna King’s yoga-derived sense of calm helped her cope.

Quarantine days: Some of our favorite photos by Herald readers

Staying at home all day has given Snohomish County shutterbugs plenty of time to take pictures.

Columbia Valley wineries look back on ‘St. Helens Vintage’

Growers Mike Sauer and Dick Boushey and winemaker Rob Griffin shared their recollections of the eruption.

Gumbo made without shellfish reminds her of South Carolina

This one-pot gumbo is made with chicken, spicy andouille sausage and the holy trinity of Creole cooking.

Whip up homemade mayo for the best sandwiches and salads

Mayonnaise from scratch has a silkier texture and fresher flavor than the jarred stuff.

Want a bright start to each day? Bake this yogurt lemon loaf

Orange blossom water gives this cake a lovely floral scent and a unique citrus aroma.

An easy-to-make taco that’s good for you any time of day

Here’s a vegetarian taco made with earthy-tasting soft whole wheat tortillas that fold easily.

She reorganized the pantry to reduce food waste at home

With the help of a label maker, this mom is reorganizing foods by expiration date instead of type.

Rick Steves on foraging Europe’s markets for the perfect picnic

Your tummy will be full of delicious food and your mind will be stuffed with tasty memories.

Most Read