10 Sweet Tips for an Eco-friendly Halloween

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It’s going to be a weekend full of sugar-hyped trick-or-treaters, creepy front-yard department store decor and makeup-covered adults sipping from spiked punch cauldrons.

Each Halloween, an estimated $40 per capita is spent on candy, decorations and greeting cards, all of which produce large amounts of waste. We’ve got some eco-friendly tips to make this Halloween a little less crushing for the planet, your wallet and your recuperation time on Nov. 1.

A 2007 National Retail Foundation survey found that 60 percent of people celebrate Halloween in some way. (Stock Photo)

1. Hand out organic goodies.
From lollipops to gummy bears, many companies specialize in making healthier alternatives to traditional candy. YummyEarth offers organic treats with no chemical colors, artificial flavors or corn syrup. You can find them at major retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us and Whole Foods. Also, Trader Joes offers a line of organic lollipops.

2. LED the way.
Consider using LED lights or solar-powered lamps to light the path to your front door for those trick-or-treaters. Plus, an investment in solar garden lights can save you long term, with a return on investment of 47 percent over 10 years.

3. Host a costume swap.
We know it’s a little late, and you may already have that perfect costume picked out. But if you’re still looking, skip the Halloween mega store and cheap materials and host a small costume swap party with your neighbors and friends. You may even come up with new ideas for a show-stopping outfit.

4. Use what you already have.
We know it’s easy just to buy that $2 plastic pumpkin basket at the grocery store, but we guarantee there’s something in the home that can double as a trick-or-treat bag. Off the top of our heads, we’re thinking your reusable grocery bag, that wicker magazine basket in the bathroom, that over-sized purse you never use or even a plastic shopping bag stuffed under the sink.

5. Be a “craftster” for Halloween.
DIY costumes and decorations are easier than you think and can save a ton of money. Plus, the kids will have a great time creating Halloween crafts, like a recycled light bulb witch or egg carton pumpkins. As for those costumes, check our guide to making pop culture icons from trash.

6. Sweep the sidewalk.
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters, it’s probably a smart idea to clear away the fall leaves. Instead of using a hose, save countless gallons of water by sweeping them with a broom. And remember, those leaves can be added to your compost pile.

7. Don’t toss the pumpkin seeds.
What Halloween would be complete without a jack-o-lantern on the front porch? This year, instead of throwing away the “guts” of the pumpkin you scooped out, toast the seeds for a snack or even make oil out of them. They also make a great addition to your compost pile.

8. Party like an eco-star.
If you’re hosting a party this year, set out recycling bins for those beer bottles and soda cans. If it’s a small get-together, use the plates and cups that are already in your closet. But if this year’s shindig will be a 50-plus throwdown, check out dinnerware made from recycled or compostable materials.

9. Walk the neighborhood.
The best part about trick-or-treating is seeing everyone’s costumes. So, leave the car in the garage, get out a flashlight and walk your kids around the neighborhood.

10. Donate your costume on Nov. 1.
Do you know of a program in your community that could use your costume? There’s probably a school, local theater troupe, shelter or center that just might love those fairy wings and fireman hat.