Written by Lisa Bolen, HRSD Public Information Specialist
Published on October 12, 2022

Fall is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Some scary things about Halloween that most people don’t think about is the environmental waste that is involved: plastic candy wrappers, plastic in mass-produced costumes, and rotted jack-o-lanterns that end up in the trash that fill already overloaded landfills. Well, never fear! Hurry ahead (don’t walk like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers) to find out some suggestions on how to help alleviate some of those environmental issues.

Don’t trash the pumpkins!

If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin, you know it starts to get gross after a few days. What we think is gross can be a tasty treat for birds and wildlife. Here are some ideas on how to recycle your pumpkins this fall.kids with pumpkin on face

  1. Share the seeds with birds and wildlife. Collect pumpkin seeds, allow them to dry for a day or two, and scatter them outside or add them to a birdfeeder. Do not add any salt or seasoning as that is not healthy for the wildlife.
  2. Make A ‘Snack-O’-Lantern’. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the innards, and fill the halves with bird seed, pumpkin seeds, or both.
  3. Donate Pumpkins To A Local Zoo or Farm. Pumpkins are a nutritious snack that most animals love. See if your local zoo accepts donations. NextDoor is a good place to check as well. Last year, my neighbor collected unwanted pumpkins and donated them to a pig farm.
  4. Compost it or plant the seeds for future pumpkins.
  5. Scoop out the seeds of the fresh pumpkin and roast them for a tasty treat. When you carve your pumpkin, scoop out all the seeds. Clean them off, toss them in oil, and sprinkle them with your favorite seasoning, whether that’s cinnamon sugar, salt and pepper, or Old Bay. Roast them at 350F until lightly browned and enjoy!

Costume Swap!

In 2019, an environmental charity investigated Halloween costumes from 19 retailers and supermarkets. They found that 83% of the material used in costumes was oil-based plastic...plastic that may end up in a landfill as people usually wear different costumes every year. Here are some plastic-reducing options for costumes:kids in halloween costumes

  1. Hit the thrift stores to find “new to you” costumes. Not only does it help the landfill, but it also helps your wallet!
  2. Re-use costumes from previous years. Most people won’t remember what you wore anyway, so it’ll be like a new one. If it’s out-of-date, you can be retro!
  3. Make your own from non-plastic materials or use clothing/accessories you already own to create something unique.
  4. Have a costume swap! If your friends and family have costumes, get together for a costume swap to share costumes, accessories, and ideas.



Halloween may be a frightful holiday for some, but the environmental impacts don’t have to be. If everyone does a small part, it makes a big difference!

Happy Halloween!