Who doesn’t love autumn, right? The leaves are nice and crunchy, the air is cool and crispy, and everyone gets a chance to dress as their favorite superhero, animal, or pun. But how much of that ends up in the trash? In 2019, an environmental charity in the UK estimated an equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles ended up as waste just from purchased costumes. With Halloween being even more popular in the United States, we should all do our best to reduce our own plastic waste. Here are some simple tips to get you started.

1 | Use real pumpkins and gourds from your favorite local farmers.

  • This is a great alternative to plastic decorations, and you can support local at the same time! You can even bake and cook with certain varieties when the season is over.
  • If carving, save the seeds and roast them for a perfect fall snack. Compost your work of art at the end of the season.
  • If painting, use non-toxic eco-friendly paint so they can still be composted, too!

2 | DIY your own decorations or costumes with recycled materials.

  • Cardboard and packing foam sheets can be used for gravestones and archways. Create spiderwebs with old t-shirts or plastic shopping bags. Save those plastic bottles and containers and plastic bags to create ghostly lawn figures.
  • Stop by your local thrift store for inspiration. Formal dresses are great for princesses and prom queens, flannel shirts for an easy cowboy or scarecrow, and plain sweatshirts for dressing as the fruit or vegetable of your choice.

3 | Keep existing costumes, decorations and party supplies out of landfills. 

  • Check out your local thrift stores, estate sales, and your neighborhood online swap and no-buy groups to find new-to-you decorations and costumes.
  • Host your own swap party with your friends and neighbors to trade costumes, props, and decorations you no longer use. Donate any remaining good condition items.
  • Use compostable serving ware at your party and have proper disposal available.

4 | But, what about the candy?!

  • Repurpose a reusable shopping bag or pillowcase for trick or treating.
  • Use a Terracycle box to recycle your candy and snack wrappers.
  • Consider skipping the candy and hand out pencils, erasers, or small notepads.

Be sure to come show off your costumes (and your dogs) at our Howl-oween market event at Howe Meadow on October 30th, 9-12pm!

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