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John Remy


Make It A Green Trick Or Treat

Give the environment a "treat" this Halloween by thinking green for "Beggars night." A little planning can make the celebration earth friendly and add some extra fun as well.

SWACO's Environmental Education Manager Kristi Higginbotham suggests second hand or thrift stores as the perfect place to costume the kids. "Many times you can find everything you need; from shirts to pants to hats, that let kids take on a new image for Halloween. In some cases, stores even have gently used Halloween costumes that can be purchased." Another idea is for parents to check around the neighborhood. Maybe the fairy princess two doors down has outgrown her costume. Neighborhood get-togethers a few weeks before "beggars night" could feature costume trades or exchanges. Everyday kids clothing does the job as well with some great face painting or a simple mask made of fabric remnants. Higginbotham reminds though that all used clothing and costumes should be washed before they are used again.

"Another green Halloween tip," adds Higginbotham, "is to use reusable store grocery bags as trick or treat bags instead of plastic or paper bags. These reusable totes are generally made from recycled content products and will hold up better as the number of Halloween treats grows. A bucket or basket from around the house works great too and may actually add to the costume." Remind the kids that if they start to snack on their treats before they get home, that they should toss the candy wrappers in their treat bags. Later when they get home, the wrappers can be separated from the treats and be tossed in the trash.

When throwing your neighborhood Halloween party invite your friends by e-mail instead of paper invitations. For treats at the party, consider locally and organically grown products that reduce your environmental footprint.

Your Halloween decorating can take on a green flare as well. Bales of straw can be reused to cover flower beds for the winter. Ears of corn can later become bird or squirrel snacks in wildlife feeders. Pumpkins are always a standard of the holiday's décor. They are very compostable after the big night. If you carve up the Jack-O-Lantern for the big event, save the seeds, and bake them. They make a tasty treat for the kids to snack on later when the candy has run out.

A little planning and imagination can go far and turn your Halloween very green.

SWACO is the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio. We serve Columbus and all of Franklin County with innovative ideas and programs that promote waste diversion, recycling, and reuse. SWACO provides 225 drop off recycling centers across the county along with recycling at many Columbus sports and community events. We also operate the Franklin County Landfill, provide Household Hazardous Waste collections and work with local law enforcement as part of SWACO's Environmental Task Force of Central Ohio. More information on all SWACO programs is available at