Halloween is a special time of year – ghost stories, apple cider, a chill in the air. However, Halloween also has a calling card – the sight of seasonal costume stores opening up around town or in shopping centers – and with Halloween comes a lot of potential for waste. From Harry Potter masks and superhero capes to decorations and candy, Americans spent 6.8 billion dollars on Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s a lot of candy corn.
Once we put the costumes away for the next year and clean the fake cobwebs from the windows, what can we do with the leftovers?
Pumpkin or Scarecrow Recycling
Assuming you already used the pumpkin insides for food (pumpkin insides make a fantastic soup), there’s plenty you can do with your Jack o’Lantern after Halloween. Pumpkins have plenty of zinc and iron and can add a lot of nutrients to a compost heap. Straw can also be very useful for the same reason. Don’t have a garden or know how to create compost? Get online and search for recycling centers that will accept pumpkins and break them down. Contact local zoos to see if they can give an afterlife to your slightly used pumpkin or scarecrow’s straw.
Old Costumes and Makeup
Avoid throwing these away as they will create more waste. Either take them to a thrift store or a local theater where others can reuse them. Children’s charities often take previously used costumes. Consider having an After Halloween party and encourage friends and family to trade their old costumes. Costumes that you will never wear again may be perfect for someone else. That’s a great way to avoid spending money next year. Several makeup companies recycle makeup containers.
Save the Tombstones
If you can help it, save the Halloween decorations (or don’t buy them in the first place). Keep the fake cobwebs for another year or clean up store-bought tombstones, provided they’re not too splattered with eggs from mischievous kids. If you don’t think you’ll use them again, include them in a post-Halloween party or in the future, save money by making Halloween decorations out of household items.
Picture by Woodleywonderworks