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Published on October 2nd, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans


Say “BOO!” to Waste This Halloween

jack-o-lanternsHalloween may not have the largest carbon footprint of all the holidays, but it does generate its share of unnecessary waste in both materials and energy.

Here are some easy tricks for reducing your impact while maintaining (and even enhancing!) the Fall fun:



  • Buy local, organic pumpkins.  If you can’t make it to the patch, find out where those pumpkins at the store come from and support your local, organic farmers.  Roast up the seeds, cook the meat, or, if Jack’s too moldy to consume, toss him in the compost!
  • Make a scarecrow using old clothes and straw, and compost the straw afterwards.
  • Get creative with what you have at home.  Colored paper and scissors can go a long way.


  • Buy costumes second-hand or create something from what you already own. (Same goes for props and accessories!)
  • Mix up face paints from household products such as cornstarch, cold cream, chocolate syrup, and juice dyes (see Simple Recipes for Natural Egg Dyes for instructions) rather than buying pre-made (and often questionably safe) face paints.
  • Use the classic pillowcase or a canvas bag instead of a plastic bag or pumpkin.  If pillowcase and canvas aren’t available, festively decorate any paper or re-usable shopping bags you have around.
  • If you’re looking for tricks and treats beyond your immediate vicinity, carpool with friends or neighbors.
  • Use hand-cranked LED, shakable, or solar-powered flashlights.  If you’re using battery-powered gear, make sure the batteries are rechargeable.


  • Challenge your friends to create a costume using only second-hand, borrowed, or already-owned materials.  For inspiration, see The Best Recycled Halloween Costumes on the Web.  Motivate the creativity by offering a reward for the most eco-friendly costume.
  • Ditch the paper invitations for an e-mail or Facebook invite!
  • Some of the best foods of the season (apples, cider, squash, yams) are usually easily found locally and taste best if they’re organic!
  • For lighting use strings of LED lights or tell scary stories around a hand-cranked LED flashlight.  If you have a lot of candles lying around, they can provide the ultimate creepy atmosphere.
  • Make it a zero-waste party by having only recycling and composting bins available to guests.

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