Halloween night was a wild brawl. An orgy of not fair trade candy, wrappers tossed idly on front lawns of the most trick-or-treated streets. Jack-o-lanterns rotted, kicked down the curb. Cheap costumes shredded, tossed into the trash or "donation" bag. Every year, despite my eco-intentions, I end up sinning one way or another. Ate too much candy. Outfitted a kid in a cheap a costume. Or threw out something that could have been reused or bought new when we could have gone second hand.
What's done is done. Here's how to green clean up our messes.
A couple years ago, a friend compiled this amazingly thorough list of what to do with leftover Halloween candy and candy wrappers. I particularly love the idea of an advent calendar to Thanksgiving comprised of Halloween candy.
This year, I plan to try the Halloween Candy Bark. Maybe freeze it and give it out as a Christmas gift?
I might also stash some for decorating a gingerbread house or make it into a Thanksgiving dessert.
So much for jack be nimble, jack be quick. Jack is a moldy mess by now! If you have preschool or elementary aged kids at home, read Pumpkin Jack with them. It is about the life cycle of a pumpkin - beginning with a jack-o-lantern decomposing out in the garden. Every year, we put the kids old jack-o-lanterns out in the garden and watch nature work her magic. By spring time, all that is left is the stem.
One website talks about pumpkin roads where people all take their jack-o-lanterns to dot long rural roads.
If you are not so inclined to watch your creation rot, the compost pile or green waste bin is a good place for it. Or give it your chickens or livestock - provided it isn't actually moldy or covered in candle wax. Of course, if the pumpkin wasn't carved (maybe just colored with a marker), then for goodness sake's. Eat it! Pumpkin mac n cheese. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin milk shakes.
If your costume is more than something pulled out of your closet, there is the question of what to do with it. Most store-bought costumes cannot stand up to much wear. Their seams split. They get a hole here or there. Still, most often they can be reused for children's dress up. If your kids won't wear them again, check with local schools. Many classrooms for younger kids have a dress up corner that could use some fresh costumes.
Alternatively, a neighbor or friend might have a child with a dress up trunk. (One of my kids has one and wears costumes all year long!). Finally, pack the costume away with your Halloween goodies. Next year, you or your child might wear it again (my youngest wore the same costume 3 years running), you can swap it at a costume swap, or turn it into a thrift store when it will be snapped up while folks are in the mood.
How do you green up the day after?