Spooks, Ghouls and Recyclables


Written by Danielle Magnuson, Utne Reader

Halloween has become a consumer orgy to rival Christmas. We can buy costumes for our kids, our dogs, and our cell phones; personalized trick-or-treat bags; and every make and model of miniaturized, individually-wrapped candy conceivable.

For the socially conscious parents who still want to take their cute little tyke out into the beautiful October evening in their adorable cowboy or octopus costume, we’ve got a few ideas. Two great tips come from the Utne Reader archives: fair trade chocolate (don’t support child slave laborers on the Ivory Coast) and eco-friendly costumes (farewell, toxic vinyl).

And here’s a new tip from Tina Hay at The Penn Stater (Oct 20, 2011): You can recycle all those mini plastic candy wrappers and even the bags they come in. Turns out a company called TerraCycle in New Jersey sponsors a Candy Wrapper Brigade to collect these items that typically land in the trash. As Hay explains: “TerraCycle specializes in stuff that’s otherwise hard to recycle: They have a Chip Bag Brigade, a Yogurt Container Brigade, a Cork Brigade, a Drink Pouch Brigade … you get the idea.”

So pair up with your coworkers, your kid’s school, or any other organization and pile together the many, many empty candy wrappers that will emerge from the Halloween sugar frenzy. One more notch for recycling stuff you didn’t think could be recycled.

This post was originally published by the Utne Reader.


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Photo from kellygifford via flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Denise L.
Denise L6 years ago

living in the country I never see many trick-or-treaters and miss it but I'll still carve a pumpkin and have some candy just in case

this year the pumpkins are harvested from my own garden

Meta Reid
Meta Reid6 years ago

I know it's probably expensive and I'm sure not all kids will be thrilled, but colored pencils, or artwork type stuff would be fun for kids too (surely better than candy and will last longer...).

Joan S.
JC S6 years ago

Always used a pillow case. Do like that candy wrapper recycle thing though. Was thinking omg when I got this huge bag of goodies to hand out. Hard pressed to think of another way and do love the day.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago


Dan and Tina Partlow
Daniel Partlow6 years ago

Small wonder more people are becoming diabetic. In my younger days we only got candy at Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. Now it's a daily staple!

Molly F.
Molly S6 years ago

We used to use decorated pillow cases, not plastic throwaway bags.

Faith Billingham
Faith Billingham6 years ago

thank you for this article :)

Melinda K.
Past Member 6 years ago

these are all great ideas especially the eco friendly costumes, I hope people devote themselves to eco principles, because action is what changes things

Monica D.
Monica D6 years ago

I like the sound of the brigades, but I think that it would be better for the materials not to be produced in the first place. The world needs more sustainable products. I like organic chocolate and ecofriendly clothing sounds like a good thing.