6 Sustainable Tips For a Green Halloween

October is the time of the year for scary movie marathons, haunted houses, and harrowing hayrides leading up to the spookiest night of the year HALLOWEEN! Once again on Hallows’ Eve, 41 million pint-sized terrors storm neighborhoods at dusk in search of treats to calm their souls – and sweet tooths. And as adorable an apocalypse as it is, what’s left behind is a harrowing amount cursed candy wrappers, rotting pumpkin remains, and deadly party decorations. On average, a single trick-or-treater creates 1 pound of waste. 

But one night’s worth of witches, warlocks, ghouls, and goblins doesn’t need to lead us closer to an environmental Armageddon. By steering clear of these 6 wasteful slipups, Halloween night won’t leave you buried under a pile of trash that will forever haunt the planet.

1. Avoid Plastic Bags Like the Plague

What might seem like a simple convenience, is actually an environmental catastrophe. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags each year, left to rot in toxic landfills for centuries or wreaking havoc on ocean life. But by merely swapping out plastic bags for reusable ones, each tiny trick-or-treater can help make a big collective impact on the planet. 

Some ideas for nature-safe trick-or-treating bags include:

  • Backpacks
  • Pillowcases
  • Tote bags
  • Old handbags
  • Drawstring bags
  • Duffle bags
  • Paper gift bags

*Remember that all October long, any ZWS order over $75 comes with a FREE sustainable & stylish organic cotton tote bag of your choice!

2. Think First About Second-Hand Costumes

With almost 13,000 tons of Halloween gear getting dumped into landfills each year, paying each year for a packaged costume that you will likely only wear once can add up to a high environmental and financial cost. So instead of a last-minute search at the costume store for an uninspired outfit, visit your local thrift stores and second-hand shops with friends and enjoy the creative process of developing a new and original alter-ego for the night. Some of the best vintage items and accessories can also be found in the back of your grandparents’ closets, and will give you a reason to stop by for a smothering supply of love and kisses. But once you’re done playing your Halloween part, don’t forget to repurpose or donate your costume and pay the fun forward. 

3. Don't Get Tricked Into Buying Wasteful Treats

Nearly 600 million pounds of Halloween candy is bought each year in the U.S., which comes out to an unimaginable amount of candy wrapper waste destined straight for the landfill – or worse yet, the ocean! Avoid throwing them in your recycling bin, because conventional recycling isn’t designed for plastic candy wrapper material. You can, however, Terracycle them and have them processed and molded into new recycled products to be used once again.

Here are some eco-friendly treat ideas for a greener Halloween:

  • Paperless crayons packaged in recycled cardboard
  • Canned soda in recyclable aluminum
  • Hershey Kisses wrapped in recyclable aluminum
  • Mint candy in recyclable/reusable aluminum tins
  • Bulk bin candy from your local candy store cuts down on individual wrapper waste

4. Deliver Yourself from Disposable Decorations

Avoid the temptation of cheap, non-recyclable Halloween décor that likely won’t last the night in one piece. To avoid the plastic hangover collecting at the bottom of your trash bin when you clean up the next morning, stick to planet-friendly party decorations that are durable enough to be used over and over, for years to come.

5. More Planet-Friendly Party Tips

Spooky Halloween décor is an essential part of any monster mash worth remembering about for years to follow. But there are other earth-friendly provisions you can make which can help add shades of green to all the orange and black party preparations. 

  • Present your party food, snacks, and beverages in glass or recyclable containers
  • Use reusable or biodegradable plates and cups
  • If you must go with cups, have guests write their names on them so they can be used more than once throughout the night
  • Prepare finger foods that can be eaten without plates
  • Recycle any waste that can be, such as aluminum foil and food pans

6. Don't Just Dump Your Pumpkin

There are few Halloween activities that capture the spirit of this holiday quite like carving out a jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin. With 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin waste created every Halloween season, contributing to massive amounts of global-warming greenhouse gas emissions being released into our atmosphere. Properly disposing of your ghastly gourds each year is an essential part of keeping your Halloween as green as possible.

  • Let It Rot - As long as it’s rotting in your compost bin, instead of a landfill, you can sustainably dispose of your jack-o-lantern carcasses by turning your pumpkin waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden and plants.
  • Feed'Em to the Beasts - You should always check with your vet first, but most household pets can snack on the seeds and flesh in small amounts. If you don’t have a furry household friend to help you with your pumpkin problem, chop it into chunks and leave it in the corner of your yard and let the wildlife finish the job for you.
  • Devour the Remains Yourself - As long as temperatures remain cool enough to preserve your pumpkin, you can bake its seeds into a tasty snack and puree its flesh to be used in pies, soups, and sauces among many other scrumptious seasonal delights.

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