Green is the new orange: sustainable Halloween celebrations

  • Friday, September 30, 2022 1:30am
  • Life
Making your own WM truck costume takes only a few supplies and can be recycled when you’re done with it. (Courtesy Waste Management)

Spooky season is here: costumes line the shelves at department stores, and pumpkins are everywhere you look.

From candy wrappers to old jack-o-lanterns, the amount of waste generated during Halloween festivities can be scary. Leave the scares to the werewolves and ghosts this year by greening up your holiday celebrations.

Get creative with costumes: Consider homemade costumes rather than plastic-heavy, store-bought options. Host a “costume swap,” or create original costumes from pieces found in family and friends’ closets or at thrift stores. Not only will they be less wasteful, these unique costumes will spare you the experience of showing up in the same costume as someone else.

Is your kid a fan of the recycling truck? Have some fun making your own WM truck costume. It takes only a few supplies and can be recycled when you’re done with it. Watch this WM Truck Costume how-to video for easy instructions.

Rethink treat bags: Get creative with trick-or-treat containers. Pillowcases or reusable shopping bags work great, and homemade decorations can make a bag just as festive as a plastic pumpkin. If you already have them, dig out the old containers from previous years.

Make your own decorations: To save money and reduce waste, create your own Halloween decorations from recycled materials and items you already have. A quick Google or Pinterest search provides endless inspiration for DIY decorations.

If there are essential pieces you must buy, look for them at a thrift store first and keep them for future years.

Use every part of the pumpkin: To add to the fun of making jack-o-lanterns, season and toast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy, tasty snack. Make use of the pulp in soup, ravioli or even a pumpkin spice latte with real pumpkin puree.

After Halloween is over, compost sagging jack-o-lanterns to help grow next year’s pumpkins by returning nutrients to the earth. Just remember to remove any candles or lights before adding pumpkins to your compost cart.

Be candy smart: Halloween parties present great opportunities to share your favorite homemade dessert with family and friends, while avoiding waste from individually wrapped candies.

If the craving hits for your favorite candy, shop the bulk bins at stores to avoid excess packaging waste. Leftover candy can be repurposed in dessert recipes, used as ice cream toppings, added to trail mix or donated to local charities.

Keep scary items out of the recycling: Boo! Plastic bags and food waste are a recycling bin’s greatest fear. Be sure to only recycle items listed on your recycle guide. Print a guide from the WM website to post on the fridge for easy reference.

Witches and monsters aren’t nearly as scary as a wasteful Halloween. Enjoy a spooky and sustainable October by keeping these tips in mind during your Halloween haunts!

Karissa Miller is WM’s recycling education and outreach manager. For tips on recycling and waste reduction, visit the WM website at

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