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Five tricks for a low-waste Halloween

Environmentally-friendly Halloween fun

Halloween is right around the corner, and to us there’s no thought more terrifying than piles of plastic candy wrappers heading for the landfill.

Here are a few ways to put a little green into this orange-and-black holiday:

  • Candy in recyclable packaging – If you’re giving out candy to trick-or-treaters this year, opt for candy that comes in cardboard boxes like Smarties or give out canned drinks (which mom and dad can take to a bottle depot for a profit!). Or hand out small, non-food items like lip balms from Lowen’s or YYC Beeswax.
  • Reusable bags – Instead of plastic pails or garbage bags, encourage your kids to use cloth bags to carry their loot instead. Consider finding bags in The Apothecary in Inglewood’s zero-waste home section or use grocery totes from Blush Lane or Community Natural Foods.
  • Buy-back for biofuel – For many years, Dr. Thom Evans of Maxwell Dental has been hosting a Candy Buy-Back out of his clinic the day after Halloween. Kids get $1 for every pound of candy they bring in, and the collected candy is sent to Blume Distillation in California to be turned into biofuel. In addition, the clinic donates a pound of apples to the Food Bank for every pound of candy and in 2017, 2,500 pounds of apples were donated. This year's buy-back event takes place November 1, 3-7 p.m.
  • Feed pumpkins to the green bin – According to a 2015 article from The Weather Network, Jack-o-lanterns contribute approximately 254 million tonnes of waste in United States landfills every year. To avoid this happening in Canada, put your pumpkin in the green bin (as long as it’s not painted – as it is not compostable then) or in your garden.
  • Cost of costumes -- Kids grow like weeds, and while they might not always fit last year’s costumes, consider getting creative with what you already have at home to create a new getup. If buying a new costume is a must, shop at a consignment store like Value Village, on Kijiji or at a locally-owned costume establishment such as The Costume Shoppe. Or plan a costume swap with your friends and put your kid’s favourite disguise into circulation.

We hope you have a safe, happy, and spooky All Hallows Eve!


  1. Check out Green Calgary’s blog from 2016 for even more ideas to reduce waste this Halloween.
  2. Check Family Fun Calgary for Halloween activities this month.
  3. Want to plan a costume swap? Click here for ideas.
  4. Peruse our directory for more businesses to support that are locally-owned and sustainably-conscious.