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

  • By Michelle Metzler Special to The Herald
  • 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

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