Seasonal decorations are fun and festive, but many end up as trash when the holiday is over. Those cute plastic pumpkins and bats on the porch can be harmful if they make their way to the watersheds. Since household waste is the most common litter in streams and lakes, the best practice is to avoid waste by reuse and recycling. Be like Dr. Frankenstein, and give new life to items you already own to create sustainable Halloween decorations and costumes with these three tips:

Say Hello, Gourd-geous Carving jack-o-lanterns is a classic Fall activity. Eliminate waste by mashing the pumpkin flesh into puree for tasty treats like muffins, cakes, bread, soups, and pie. Don’t forget to roast those pumpkin seeds too. When Halloween ends, discard the remains in the green waste can or in your backyard compost pile.

Think Outside the Coffin Get creative by re-using household items instead of buying store-bought manufactured decorations. DIY projects could include a wreath with autumn leaves, spider webs from black garbage bags, bats from egg cartons, and ghosts from old sheets and crumpled newspaper. A Google search will yield lots of easy-to-find instructions.

Let the Past Haunt You Dig in the back of the closet for those “don’t-wear-them, can’t-throw-away” finds and create a unique costume. Liven up a tropical shirt with a lei, beachcomber hat and a pair of boxing gloves to knock your friends as Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch brand mascot. Carry a roll of paper towels while wearing a red flannel shirt and transform into the Brawny man. Or team up the flannel shirt with jeans, sew on some patches, and strategically add straw to become a scarecrow. Cut a rib cage pattern into an old white tee shirt, pair with a black tank top and make yourself into a skeleton. Little black dress, add the pointy hat: witch. Denim shirt, red bandana: Rosie the Riveter. Have some recycling fun with all the possibilities in your closet!

Horror movies and haunted houses may be scary, but hurting our watersheds and wildlife is even more frightening. Choose to reanimate items from your household for Halloween fun. Click here for more tips on a clean and safe Halloween.

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