Halloween revelers can celebrate a “green” Halloween this year while reducing their impact on the environment and saving money, says Elisabeth Olson, a natural resources educator with the Department of Natural Resources.
“Green your Halloween and save money and the environment,” Olson says. “These tips can help you do both and make for a more creative and family-friendly event.” Olson recommends these tips to reduce, reuse and recycle this Halloween:
• Get creative with decorations. Use natural Halloween decorations like gourds, pumpkins and cornstalks. Turn recycled paper into window decorations like spiders, pumpkins or witches’ hats. Paint grocery bags into Halloween white for ghostly effects, or make a graveyard scene with paper tombstones and spooky trees. After Halloween, send your decorations on for another round of recycling.
• DIY or buy thrift-store costumes. Test your creativity this year and create a costume from items from around the house. Or find inexpensive costumes and supplies from thrift stores or yard sales. Some parents organize costume trades, where kids choose from available, reused costumes. Kids done with this year’s disguise can pass the favor on and donate their old costumes for someone else to enjoy.
• Trick-or-treat with a reusable bag. Carry reusable bags or containers that don’t need to be thrown out after use. Cloth or canvas bags — or even pillowcases — are terrific eco-friendly choices to paper, plastic bags or molded plastic jack-o-lanterns.
• Stay local and walk instead of drive. Stick close to home this Halloween and walk to help reduce air pollution and fuel use. It’s a great way to connect with the neighbors and get some exercise as well.
• After Halloween, compost that jack-o-lantern. If you don’t already compost, Halloween is a great time to start. Add post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns to the compost bin, along with fallen leaves, food scraps and other organic yard and household waste. See the home composting page of the DNR website for more tips on how to begin composting.
For more seasonal tips on recycling and waste reduction, search the DNR website for Recycling for All Seasons.