Celebrating Halloween Sustainably

Written by: Cecilia Wilborn, Recycling Program Manager


In a year when time has seemed to go incredibly fast while simultaneously creeping along slowly, it is hard to believe that autumn is in full swing and Halloween is just around the corner. Celebrations will likely look a bit different in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the team at Bridging The Gap would still like to provide some information on how to celebrate Halloween in a more sustainable way.


If you are purchasing and/or enjoying candy, refrain from putting the candy wrappers in the recycling bin. Those wrappers are too low quality to be recyclable. Most likely, the candy came packaged in a bag that is not recyclable either. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out!

If you end up with leftover candy, you have several options to keep it out of the landfill.

  • Donate leftover candy for someone else to enjoy. This blog post has gathered many donation locations in the metro.
  • Use it in recipes. There are lots of recipes out there for this. Here is a collection for starters.
  • Freeze it for later. If stored properly, most candy will be fine until you have another occasion for it. Check out this blog post for storage tips and general guidance.

If candy collecting is part of your plan, you can forego the plastic candy bucket for a reusable bag, wicker basket, or crafty upcycling of an empty food carton.


Nothing quite denotes Halloween like pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, right? If they are part of your holiday celebration, please keep them out of the landfill when they have fulfilled their purpose.

First, if you are hollowing out a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern, save all the seeds and flesh for snacks and meals! Check out this article for links to a variety of recipes. Personally, I’m going to try the burger recipe.

When the holiday has passed and you have an intact or carved pumpkin to dispose of, compost it! If you don’t compost at home, you can take it to Lakeside Nature Center on November 1st to ensure it is composted by our friends at KC Can Compost and Compost Collective! Stop by the center between 10am and 1pm for a contactless, drive-thru drop-off or let out some frustration with a fun pumpkin-smashing option. A $5 donation is suggested to help cover the cost of the composting process.


If your plans this year require a costume, there are many ways to incorporate sustainable practices into costuming. Most notably, create your own costumes and source what you need from things you already have, or from a secondhand store if you don’t have it. If you are short on ideas, or time to gather your costume needs, reach out to friends or families for a costume swap. A past costume of theirs is a new costume for you!

And if you need face paint as part of your costume, avoid purchasing some that may not contain the most eco-friendly ingredients by making your own with this recipe.

There are also a number of iconic television and movie characters with pretty simple outfits that you likely have in your closet. Or take an idea from The Office’s Jim Halpert and go as someone else with just a nametag.


Do you need more decorations around the house to get in the Halloween spirit? If so, consider some crafting before going out and buying new items. Here are some great ideas using recyclable items you likely already have.

And keep in mind what holiday decorations you would like when it is not the season. Garage and estate sales are great opportunities to give decorations a second life. It may seem odd to purchase a ceramic Jack-o-Lantern in May but you will be happy you did when October comes again.

From all of us here at Bridging The Gap, have a safe and happy Halloween! If you have additional sustainable Halloween tips, please share with us on social media!