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Tricks & Treats: Have a Safe and Sustainable Halloween

Halloween is an exciting time of year, but it’s an event that is often associated with a lot of garbage. This year, we’re all having to take steps to protect our community from the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop – plus, changing up the Halloween traditions gives us a chance to make the holiday more sustainable!

Safety First

Due to rising transmission of COVID-19 in Salt Lake County, there are several restrictions in place to help stop the spread. The previous color-coding phased guidelines are no longer being used; however Salt Lake City is in a high level of transmission. The new public health guidelines include:

  • Gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer
  • Masks must be worn at all times indoors, and at all times outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

If you’re curious about how to keep your family safe from COVID-19 during Halloween, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued several recommendations including keeping your Halloween celebrations limited to your household, or carving pumpkins and decorating outside with smaller groups at a safe distance. The CDC also provides guidance on safe trick-or-treat options.

Image of a smiling jack o' lantern in front of a lantern. Leaves are scattered around the pumpkin, and a string of cheerful pumpkin shaped lights frames the top of the image.
The CDC provides many ways to keep Halloween fun and safe this year.

Stir Things Up!

Although Halloween events are time-honored family traditions, trick-or-treating, costumes, decorations, and other Halloween-related activities can produce a lot of waste. But why not consider the new safety constraints a little extra motivation to be more eco-friendly?

When planning your Halloween this year, remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible! Plus, keep in mind these creative ways to have a green Halloween.

Sweet Tooth?

It may be surprising, but candy sales are up this year. And while we appreciate sweet treats, some are better than others when it comes to the environment. From harmful palm oil to extra candy wrappers in the garbage, Halloween candy amounts to a lot of waste.

If you’re staying home this Halloween, consider trying out some homemade treats. Because animal products have the largest carbon footprint, you can be EXTRA environmentally conscious if you try something vegan!

If you are participating in trick-or-treating this Halloween, consider finding more eco-friendly alternatives to give out, and remember to bring a reusable bag!

How to Have the Coolest – And Greenest – Costume?

Whether you’re prepping for your virtual costume contest or participating in a socially-distant trick-or-treat, one of the best parts of Halloween is dressing up. But if you’re only going to use the costume once, why waste new material when you can put old supplies to new use!

Some of the best costumes start with old materials. You can also consider swapping costumes with friends or relatives who may have just what you need stored from last Halloween. Remember, Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center is at the ready to help you find the spookiest used art supplies to make your Halloween costume and decorations perfect! Check out Clever Octopus’ Halloween suggestions!

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Make spooky ghost decorations and more with used fabric! Clever Octopus suggests many fun ways to put old materials to new use this Halloween!

Don’t Forget to Compost Your Pumpkins!

In the United States, we use a lot of pumpkins. Especially around Halloween, the delightful gourds are a staple. One of the safest ways to celebrate Halloween this year is by carving pumpkins within your own household. From there, you can still take steps to be environmentally conscious.

One way to make the most out of your pumpkin is to roast the pumpkin seeds. Once you’ve used as much of the pumpkin for eating (and decorating!) as you can, the best option for your pumpkin’s remains is the brown compost bin!

As long as your pumpkin doesn’t have glitter, paint, or wax on it (i.e. it’s biodegradable!), the pumpkin is perfect for composting in our curbside brown containers – or in your backyard compost pile.

Find out more about post-Halloween waste and what to do with it here!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pumpkin-field-autumn-halloween.jpg
Don’t forget to compost your pumpkins!

Happy Halloween from SLCgreen

We hope Salt Lake City residents stay safe and have fun this Halloween. Staying safe and creative during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a challenge. But helping protect the planet is an important step to keeping our communities healthy and resilient.

We wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

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