Soo.. I’m probably a little later to the ball game than I should have been about posting to prevent waste on Halloween, but I thought I’d do it anyway just in case there are people who are running around trying to get organized last minute!
I can’t even being to imagine the amount of waste Halloween creates… from the crappy decorations, the cheap costumes, the pumpkins hitting the landfill and of course, the mounds and mounds of candy that you are usually left eating for weeks on end, trying to pawn it off on your coworkers or anyone that comes over. “Take a bag home with you!” you say as they leave your house. But everyone has the same problem, too much candy.
With that, here are some quick tips I thought I would pass along to help you create less waste this Halloween season:
- Make your own! I have always enjoyed piecing together a costume, although it usually ends up being a night before project! Piece it together with materials in your home or items you can find at a thrift shop or value village. So Fun!
- Try to avoid the costume stores. There is nothing like buying a cheaply made costume that is wrapped in plastic for $50 (not cheap), only to have it not last the night and get thrown out the next day.
- Look for a costume on buy and sell groups, rental costume companies, used clothing stores or have a costume swap with friends! This works really well for children’s costumes.
- After Halloween, save your costume to sell or trade next year.
- Craft your own Halloween decorations with materials of your own or easily recyclable ones!
- If you want to buy Halloween decorations, buy used from a thrift store or in a local buy and sell group. If you must buy new Halloween decorations, invest in items that will last… Perhaps a skeleton that will sit on your porch year after year instead of the dollar store gravestones that crack in the cold or the cobwebs that usually get thrown in the garbage after one year.
Trick or treating and the alllll the candy!
- If you are off to a party with people you know where no one will think a stranger is trying to poison their kids, consider making treats from home like baking or popcorn balls, instead of bringing candy.
- Head to bulk barn or a bulk store near you where you can get candy in bulk.. the candy may still be in wrappers but at least they won’t all come in a plastic bag.
- Try to buy items in recyclable packaging like nerds and smarties whose boxes can be recycled or candy with truly foil wrappers – chocolate loonies and some reeses peanut butter cups (Must not be foil lined plastic- rip it and if you can see plastic it must go in the garbage.) Anything that can be recycled must be clean and have no food residue on it.
- Don’t individually wrap your candy in small plastic bags for each kid. Just grab the loot from your big bowl and throw it in each of their bags. Kids don’t care to see what came together, they will just destroy those bags the second they get home.
- With the amount of kids these days with peanut allergies or Celiac disease, sometimes staying away from candy can be the easiest for everyone. Items kids can use like pencils may not make you the most popular house, but you won’t be creating as much waste.
- Hand out a can of pop or juice to each kid- recyclable and a good score!
- Instead of sending your kids with a plastic bag that will eventually rip on them, send your kids out with a pillowcase or reusable bag. This saves you having a really trying moment at 8 pm.
- If possible, try trick or treating without driving- saving gas and the earth! Maybe you’ll even meet your neighbours that you never see.
- Your kids (and you) are going to want to snack while trick or treating- please do not litter!
- For all your candy wrappers that your kids collect, you can buy a zero waste box from TerraCycle at https://www.terracycle.ca/en-CA/zero_waste_boxes/snack-wrappers . It isn’t the cheapest (the smallest box is $86) but it is a great way to save your wrappers from the landfill. You buy the box (from Staples or Lowes), fill it and ship it to one of their centres for recycling. Shipping is included. Maybe go in on the cost with a few of your friends!
- Plan to get your pumpkins from a local patch. It is such a fun experience, you’re supporting local and you know where they were grown. Who knows where the thousands of pumpkins that get shipped to Walmart come from or what chemicals were used to grow them.
- Don’t just cut your pumpkin into a jack o’ lantern and throw the rest away! Use the insides to make delicious purees for cheesecakes, muffins, pies, cupcakes… you name it! Pumpkin spice anyone? You can roast the seeds to make a healthy snack and the insides can be boiled to add flavor for a soup broth.
- Once November hits, PLEASE do not throw your pumpkins into the garbage. In the UK alone, 8 million pounds of pumpkins will hit the landfill by November 1st. According to the Guardian, 60% of people buy their pumpkins to only hollow out and carve, with only 1/3 of people eating the pumpkin flesh (Source: the Guardian).
- Pumpkins decompose and release methane into the atmosphere, a harmful greenhouse gas playing a huge part in climate change. Instead of sending them to the landfill, COMPOST THEM:) If you don’t have a compost, ask around! You will quickly find someone who has one. Also, many neighborhoods in Saskatoon now do a “pumpkins in the park” activity where you bring your creation, they light up the park with hundreds of Jack O’Lanterns and then they are all taken to the compost.
I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and every year my dad and I would go around to our neighbors farms trick or treating. I can vividly remember my best friend’s grandparents giving out a loonie to their trick or treaters. I can’t remember what their reasoning was, but I’m going to follow in their footsteps this year and hand out loonies. I think most young children would be stoked to get a loonie… or maybe I’m just crazy and my house is going to get egged. I’ll let you know. Either way, it will probably be cheaper than the candy I would buy, I’m not adding to the waste cycle and I am confident the kids will get enough:)
I hope everyone has an amazing Halloween on Wednesday! What are you dressing up as? What are your traditions? Are you going to a party or a bar? If so, refuse those straws!
Do you have any suggestions on cutting your halloween waste? I’d love to hear from you.
I’m hoping to be eating pumpkin cheesecake for the rest of the week and will spend Wednesday evening handing out loonies to cute youngsters.
Until next time,
Let’s keep trying to #domoregood