Zero Waste Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner. Here are some tips and tricks to help reduce your waste around this holiday.

  • Reduce the decorations. Invite nature inside this time of year. Create a display shelf or table that includes found objects in nature that remind you of this time of year. If you enjoy decorating for Halloween, try sticking to objects made from natural products, and shop at vintage or second hand stores. Buy quality that will last for many holidays to come.
  • Carve pumpkins and save the seeds. Jack-o-lanterns make great Halloween decorations. It’s also a great family activity in the fall. Try to support your local farmers here, or better yet, take your family to a pumpkin event, where you all can pick out your own. Just don’t throw away those beautiful guts! After you have dissected your pumpkins, separate the stringy innards from the seeds (I do this in a bowl of water for mess reasons). Rinse and drain the seeds. In a clean bowl, add butter or ghee, salt, and whatever other spices you might like. Spread your seeds out on a baking dish and roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 200*, then an additional 5 minutes (or so) at 425*. You want a low and slow heat here to make sure the seeds cook all the way throw without burning on the outside. The internet is flooded with recipes, but these curry pumpkin seeds are amazing!
  • Make or borrow your costume. When I say make, I don’t necessarily mean bringing out the sewing machine. Perhaps your make is digging in your grandparent’s closet or your kid’s dress up chest. Many people have once-worn costumes in their homes, so don’t hesitate to ASK! Let your creativity flow here. And if you are stuck, there is always GoodWill.
  • Buy the least packaged candy. I’m not advocating for being a grinch here. You aren’t going to have as much control over what comes into your home, if you have trick-or-treaters, but you can have some control over what goes out. I stared at the shelves on a recent trip to the grocery store candy aisle, and eventually found some NERDS in little paper boxes, wrapped in a plastic bag. Many candies can be found in paper boxes: DOTS, Junior Mints, Mike’s Red Hots, etc. I also found chocolate eyeballs in three flavors, individually wrapped in recyclable aluminum foil, wrapped in a plastic bag. Finally, you can shop for candy in bulk, as long as you are willing to package them yourself.
  • Donate your candy. This may not go over very well in every home, but some families have the Switch Witch (or something similar) come and take the candy away in exchange for money, a toy, or an experience. You can then take your family’s candy and donate it to the troops.

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