By Brenda DeVore, Recology CleanScapes Local Retail Manager
Among our many joys of fall are the turning of the leaves, the crisp autumn nights and of course every kid’s favorite holiday, Halloween. The big question is, what are you going to be this Halloween? With school and neighborhood parties, costumes and treats ahead, it’s easy to be the consumer and end up with costly items that we will use only once, along with trinkets and clutter.
Here are a few tricks that will increase the fun and reduce the impact on the planet and your budget this Halloween.
- Remember, according to Bea Johnson, author of “The Zero Waste Home,” the first rule of waste reduction is Refuse. Encourage your kids to take only what they really like and kindly refuse plastic trinkets.
- Reduce your waste by handing out single candies instead of allowing the kids to take handfuls of candy at a time. You can still let them choose their own treat.
- Consider candy wrapped in recyclable material such as junior mints, milk duds or anything in a cardboard box. All plastic candy wrappers are trash.
- Consider alternatives to candy such as:
o Fruit leather
o Boxes of raisins or other dried fruit
o Taffy – the paper wrapper is compostable
o Pencils or recyclable pens **
o Plant seeds
o Soy or beeswax crayons
o Jokes or word games
- Rally your neighbors and consider buying candy in bulk.
- Stickers have become a popular candy replacement, but keep in mind the sticker back is recyclable however the sticker itself is not.
- Leftover candy? You can donate the extra treats to a shelter, soup kitchen, food bank, a store that offers candy to customers, or send them to the military through a Halloween Candy Buy Back Program.*
Ideas for costumes:
- Swap costumes with your neighbors.
- Creating your own, homemade costumes; there are endless ideas on the Internet.
- Shop at second hand store such as Small Threads and Doubletake in Issaquah.
- Create or purchase natural face paints. **
- Collect treats in a reusable bag instead of a plastic bag or consider decorating paper shopping bags for trick-or-treating.**
- Steer clear of costumes and bags that are made of synthetic materials that may contain toxins.
Did you know that Halloween is the second biggest holiday for decorating after Christmas? Consumers spend millions on everything from life-size plastic mummies to strings of ghost lights, throw-away plastic utensils, cups and plates. Alternatives?
- Set the frightful mood with a zero-cost decoration swap with friends. Combine craft supplies and create your own unique décor.
- Use less plastic and paper service ware. Invest in an inexpensive reusable set.or use compostables. **
- Set a festive table with mason jars and colorful paper compostable straws. **
- Place votive candles in deep jars and scatter them around the yard.
- Support local farmers and decorate with gourds, squash and pumpkins you pick yourself.
- Remember that all food-soiled paper can be disposed of in your yard waste container.
A green Halloween doesn’t mean giving up on your favorite activities! To ensure a memorable night for all those trick or treaters check out the website for GreenHalloween.org for dozens of suggestions and plan ahead so you are prepared for the delight of little monsters on their favorite night of the year. Happy Hallogreen!
Celebrate Green by Corey Colwell-Lipson & Lynn Colwell **
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson **
*Candy Buy Back program in Issaquah Highlands will be November 3-5 at Highlands Dentistry. Details HERE>
**These items are available at the Recology CleanScapes store in Gilman Village.