How to Green your Halloween

It’s time to go green for Halloween. October 9th is National Costume Swap Day. Why swap? You’ll be surprised to learn,  swapping half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce landfill waste by 6,250 tons, equal to the weight of 2500 mid-size cars!*  Busy parents need greening to be simple. Whatever the choice may be (goodies, costumes, decor, etc.), adding an eco-friendly twist shouldn’t increase stress and chaos to an already hectic holiday season. But making healthy and green choices is, in fact, easier than it seems.

Reduce — Instead of handing out handfuls of candy to each little ghost and goblin, consider giving just one of something.

You’ll save money and your decision will likely be better for the health of the children who come to your door (since they’ll consume less) and for the planet since fewer resources will go into the making, packaging, transporting, and/or disposal of the treat.

Reuse — Halloween could be the poster child for reusing. Nearly every aspect of the holiday can be celebrated in style without buying a single thing new.

So don’t rush out to buy costumes, decor, and party games. Instead, stop and think. What can be reused or repurposed to make this holiday a smash hit without costing the planet?

Rent, borrow, or construct costumes from existing materials. Making Halloween costumes from scratch can increase the fun factor, too.

Keep your lawn ghouls and orange LED lights year after year. You might get tired of seeing them, but guaranteed, you’re building a tradition — one the kids in your home and neighborhood will remember. You wouldn’t want to mess with good memory-making, now would you?

Recycle — The best way to utilize the third and final R is to first choose items that are made from recycled content instead of buying products made from raw or virgin materials. And when the product you’ve bought or acquired can no longer be used, it should be recycled.

Recycling can happen in many ways such as through your waste management company, your compost pile (yes, most food can be recycled), or through your own creativity. Breathe new life into your husband’s old flannel shirt and jeans, for example, by recycling them into a scarecrow for your front porch or a costume for your ten-year-old.

And no matter what, always compost made-by-nature Halloween decor such as wilting pumpkins and gourds instead of throwing them in the trash. Uneaten Halloween candy can also be “recycled,” just be sure to remove the wrappers first.

Include the kids–Going green is a family affair, so make it easier on yourself and include the kids by asking for their ideas. When they’re involved from the get-go, they’re more like to stay involved and to have positive attitudes.

And for tips on how to celebrate green this Halloween, go to

*Statistic credit Bob Lilienfield
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