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4 tips for a waste-free Halloween

Halloween celebrations sure can be scary – especially if you consider the amount of waste associated with the holiday. Cheap plastic decorations, mass-produced costumes and candy wrappers can all add up to be one big pile of garbage on November 1.But it doesn’t have to be that way. A little bit of time and effort can make this Halloween a waste-free (or nearly) holiday.

Go natural
When the garish skeletons and grinning ghouls leer at you enticingly from the dollar store, keep walking…all the way to the farmer’s market, where you can buy all sorts of natural seasonal décor. Pumpkins and gourds, ornamental corn and bales of hay can be the base of a holiday look that works long after the candy bowls are empty.

Locally grown pumpkins and gourds come in all different sizes and shapes, and they look good whether you decide to carve them or not. When you really think about it, you can find a use for almost every part of a pumpkin. Don’t forget to compost what’s left.

Make your own costume
All that glitters is not gold – especially in the Halloween costume aisle. Fact is, a cheaply made, mass-produced Halloween costume is terrible for the environment, and it might not be that healthy for you, either.

Instead, when you’re planning your Halloween costumes, think outside the box – the big box Halloween stores, that is. Hit the hand-me-down pile to reuse costumes you’ve worn in previous years or head to Frenchy’s for new-to-you costume components and vintage options.

In addition, many community organizations host costume swaps for kids. Take costumes your kids have outgrown and swap them for new-to-you options. Or encourage them to get creative and make their own. Opt for non-toxic face paint rather than plastic or rubber Halloween masks – it’s safer and more friendly to the environment.

Rethink your treats
Finding eco-friendly Halloween treats seems daunting, but it’s not as tricky as you might think. To be safe for kids, it’s key that Halloween candy is packaged – but try to buy individual foil or paper wrapped candies so that the wrappers can be recycled or composted.

Also consider purchasing candy from companies that source ingredients from sustainable sources. Palm oil is an ingredient that’s often produced in a way that causes deforestation. The Toronto Zoo has more information about Halloween candy that uses sustainable sources of palm oil.

And remember: you don’t have to give out food. Stickers, pencils or temporary tattoos are healthier (and greener!) swaps for the usual Halloween candy. Parents of children with food allergies will thank you!

Bring it home old-school style

Gen Xers will remember hitting the streets on Oct. 31 carrying a pillowcase as a loot bag. It’s time to resurrect the perfect no-waste Halloween holdall – a pillowcase is light to carry, endlessly reusable and holds a LOT of treats!

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