Clark County Green News

Current Green Schools news, articles and information

Guide to a Sustainable Halloween

 With Halloween just around the corner, we can spend some time getting creative and sustainable! There are so many unique ways we can conserve our resources and reduce waste while celebrating this season.


 Let's start with the biggest ticket item, your Halloween costume! According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Americans buy $3.2 billion worth of Halloween costumes every year and 83% of those costume materials are oil-based plastics. This equates to 2,000 tons of plastic in our landfills!

It is easier now than ever to find a great costume second-hand. There are numerous local thrift stores and even public events for costume swaps. You can create a yearly costume rotation with friends, family, and neighbors.

Light up your child's creativity and make your own costume with old clothing and items around the house. You can also have a lot of fun making costumes with normal clothes in your closet. Pretending to be characters from movies, like pop culture icons, usually only require a certain shirt or statement piece.

The fun doesn't have to end after Halloween either. Donate your costume or save it for swapping parties next year! This small mindful change one day a year can strongly reduce our unnecessary waste. Not to mention the economic gain, support for donation center jobs, and reduction in carbon footprint during production of new materials.


The U.S. spends around 2.36 billion on plastic decorations each year. Repurposed and recycled materials make for truly great Halloween decorations. Items like egg carton bats or milk jug Skeletons can be fun options to craft while listening to some spooky stories around the fireplace or with candles lit in the evening.

LED red or colored lights projected onto your haunted house can easily set a spooky mood with so much less waste. Solar panel lights can be used to light the path for trick-or-treaters.

You can donate decorations you no longer use and recycle some items like paper and cardboard that are not suitable for donation. There are some decorations that are easier to repurpose or recycle than others. If looking for new décor, items inspired by nature are beautiful options, like pinecones, leaves, or berries. Something to always ask yourself when buying a new decoration is, "where will this end up when I am through with it?"

Classroom Parties 

 If hosting a party, an easy way to reduce plastic waste is to buy bulk, non-packaged candies or make a caramel apple decorating table. Pick intentional party favors like reusable sandwich bags, small potted plants, seed bombs, mini pumpkins, crayons, small beeswax wraps, wood or bamboo items, reusable water bottles, and powdered hot chocolate mix.

Party supplies can be a hard issue to tackle but renting or borrowing utensils and plates could work with some planning. Bringing food in large aluminum foil pans is a good option and can be recycled if cleaned. There are also movements like "Bring Your Own Utensils (BYOU)" or reusable containers for food that could work for students.


Personalized tote bags are a cool sustainability swap idea! What a fun way to snag your treats this year! Ditch the hard plastic pumpkin or bucket and have a reusable bag for many Halloweens to come. You can get super creative with eco-friendly paints, stitching, and patches, or keep it minimal and still be fashionable.

While planning your optimal route for treats consider walking or carpooling. Try to stay as close to home as possible to reduce your carbon footprint while getting to know your neighbors!

Swapping some single-use candies with less packaging and more usable items like little erasers, seed packages, or opting for fair trade chocolate brands is a great way to do your part to generate less waste and have a less harmful environmental footprint.


 After Halloween, 60% of purchased pumpkins end up in the landfill. Decomposing organic material, like pumpkin or food scraps, produces methane gas which is a harmful greenhouse gas. In order to have a more eco-friendly Halloween, it is important to know the best options available to get rid of your organic waste and it starts with where you buy the item in the first place! Buying from a local farmer drastically decreases waste in all areas of environmental sustainability and helps boost your local economy. Buying organic is even better.

When a carved pumpkin starts to cave in you have to act quickly or you'll have a glop of goop on your front porch. This is the perfect time to compost your pumpkin friend and say goodbye until next year. You can compost by adding to your garden compost bin, tossing in your food scraps green cart (at school or in City of Vancouver and City of Ridgefield) or dropping off at a local compost site. We have a quick and easy food scraps cart that you can use at Heritage Farm. Alternatively, you can check out ShareWaste or contact a friend who has a compost bin! Pumpkins provide rich nutrients that would be beneficial for gardens all around the county if we compost more of our food waste.   

The biggest fight we stand against climate change is intentionality. Reevaluating traditions and processes for common unsustainable practices can drastically make for a more sustainable county. Being sustainable can be a lot of fun too, especially when we invite children to get creative and feel good about the contributions they are making.

Choose businesses that focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Look for an alternative to buying a new costume and opt for a sustainable Halloween party. Buy candies from environmentally conscious organic fair-trade brands and try to be mindful of chemicals in makeup, costumes, or other quickly mass-produced items.

Even just one of these practices is a step in the right direction. There is a lot to learn and new things coming to light all the time in sustainability. It is okay to take it slow and do what you can today. How ever if you chose to celebrate the holiday, I hope it's one full of fun memories for you and your little ones.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Do you ever wonder about the leaves?
Youth climate activists are at it again! Gov. Insl...