It’s spooky season! Images of pumpkins, haunted houses, and ghouls and goblins arriving for their favorite sweet treats are on our minds.
It's easy to roast pumpkin seeds!
Separate out the seeds and preheat your oven to 300⁰. Rinse the seeds with cold water and shake them off. Next, oil a baking sheet, place the seeds in a single layer, and roast for 30 minutes. Take them out, toss evenly with olive oil, salt, and your favorite spices to taste. Roast again until golden, about 20 minutes.
Have fun with your seasoning! Standard pantry spices are great, but you can also use grated parmesan with garlic, cinnamon and brown sugar, powdered ranch, lime juice and taco seasoning, or turn up the heat with some cayenne pepper.
Preparing for the season adds up. The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $10.6 billion on Halloween festivities last year, at $100.45 per person. A lot of spending goes to costumes and decorations that are used once before going in the trash.
Is this sea of plastics and disposable items causing a fright? Leave the scares to the ghosts, and plan ahead to reduce impacts to the environment and your wallet.
Create a costume
What costumes can you put together from what’s already in your closet? Reuse costumes from previous years, or trade costumes with family and friends. Thrift stores are a great resource for your next wizard, pirate or superhero creation.
Don’t forget online resources like buy nothing groups and the Facebook marketplace. Cheap packaged costumes from party stores are often low quality and contain a lot of plastic, and cannot be recycled in our area.
Be a packaging know-it-all
Say no to excess packaging when possible, and brush up on what can and cannot be recycled. Throwing a party? Instead of buying treats from the store in bulky plastic packaging, try out that cute recipe you’ve had on your Pinterest board since 2014.
When it comes to trick-or-treating, all candy bar and fun-sized packaging goes in the garbage bin. Elaborate and thick packaging creates a lot of waste, so choose options with minimal or thin packaging, as they often use less resources.
Don’t get tricked by trick-or-treat bags
Do your dressed-up little ones need a collection bag for their treasure haul? Wicker baskets, buckets and reusable shopping bags all make great trick-or-treating tools. Get crafty and have kids decorate an old pillowcase in the theme of their costume. Want a more traditional plastic pumpkin carrying case? Do a bit of treasure hunting to find one at a secondhand store instead of buying new.
Pumpkins – the plastic-free decoration
The most iconic Halloween decoration is also a natural and compostable option! Carving pumpkins is a great way to decorate with natural items, and it’s a memorable holiday activity. Buy them from a local farm to further reduce impacts from transportation.
Once the jack-o-lantern grins start to get droopy, they can go in the yard debris bin, so embrace their seasonal orange color and don’t paint them. Gourds, corn husks, straw bales, pinecones, and dried fallen leaves also make lovely decorations.
There are great reuse craft ideas as well – turn some of your plastic bag stash into ghosts with a little tape and construction paper or create tombstones with the cardboard in your recycling bin.