Helpful hints to green your Halloween

COAST CITIES — This season, Waste Management of North County reminds its customers to save money and Think Green by avoiding traditional Halloween routines in favor of recyclable, eco-friendly habits.
— Use the whole pumpkin: Most everyone buys a pumpkin to celebrate the holiday and ends up tossing it in the trash on Nov. 1. However, avoiding that waste is easy by using the pumpkin for both food and decoration. It’s easy to bake the seeds with a little bit of salt for a tasty and healthy snack; or, puree the freshly cutout pieces for recipes that call for fresh pumpkin — avoiding canned pumpkin. All other parts of the pumpkin can be added to your compost pile.
— Skip the expensive plastic costumes: Put less stress on your wallet by opting for costumes made of reusable or recycled materials. Incite your family’s creativity by constructing a unique, exciting costume from scratch.
— Use recyclable bags for your Trick-or-Treaters: A fun family activity is to create a unique Trick-or-Treat basket, or simply put a reusable bag or pillowcase to good use. Avoiding the plastic Jack-O-Lantern type containers will avoid clutter, save money, and add a dash of originality to your Trick-or-Treaters’ costume.
— Candy options are out there: When stocking up for the Oct. 31, look for candy brands that donate part of their profits to environmental causes; Fair Trade-sourced chocolates; or sweets made with pure cane sugar, fruit juice and natural colors. If you’re skipping candy for health reasons, try handing out small toys, pencils, or soy crayons. Buy in bulk to avoid the packaging waste.
— DIY decorations: Making your own decorations provides yet another money-saving, green-going opportunity. Must-haves like plastic spiders, witches and ghosts can be a one-time purchase saved for use, year after year. When possible, look for reclaimed material; if you’re buying things you know you can’t keep-like streamers or paper plates-be sure to look for brands that are both recycled and recyclable.

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