Unfortunately, Halloween has morphed into a landfill free-for-all. Halloween typically involves mini-size candy wrappers, one-time costume use, disposable party supplies, glow-in-the-dark items, décor or knickknacks. While no one wants to eliminate all Halloween festivities or pass out toothbrushes there are some alternatives.
* A few alternatives to individually wrapped candy: pencils, crayons, books or money.
* Buy candy in recyclable packaging: some candy is still packaged in paper wrappers or cardboard boxes (i.e. tootsie rolls and pops, Nerds, Milk Duds, Dots, M&Ms and Neccos.)
* Participate in Books for Treats: Books for Treats is a small nonprofit that encourages people to give new or gently used children's book in lieu of candy. Your local library always has books for sale at a reasonable price. Other places to look are estate sales, thrift stores or your own bookshelf. Another benefit is books last much longer than a piece of candy. Visit www.booksfortreats.org to learn more.
* Throw or attend a Halloween party: if you throw the party you control the ingredients, dishes (not disposable party supplies) and party favors. It's also a safe and healthy place for neighborhood children to get together and a great way to meet your neighbors.
- * Participate in National Costume Swap Day. Green Halloween (www.greenhalloween.org) estimates that if even half the children's costumes that wind up in the trash each year were swapped or reused we could save 6,250 tons of waste from entering the landfill. Instead of buying a costume please consider using items from around the house, get creative.
Finally, many of your organic Halloween decorations can be collected with yard waste: Jack-o-Lanterns and pumpkins, corn stalks, straw (dry, less than 40lbs), etc. For a full list of acceptable yard waste please visit www.socrra.org. And if you're a baker you can use pumpkins to create many delicious treats!!