Last year alone, Americans spent more than $8.4 billion dollars on Halloween costumes, decorations, and candy. And what much of that spending leaves is waste, even right here in Cumberland County. From candy wrappers to plastic trick or treat bags, a lot of that money is thrown away.
Here are three ways to ensure October is spooky for all the right reasons.

1. The Not-So-Sweet Tooth
600 million pounds of candy are purchased every year—just for Halloween. And so it’s no surprise that plastic wrappings and packaging never get the chance to be recycled, or even properly disposed in the garbage in many cases.
And while purchasing candy for fright’s biggest night is often bought on the basis of price, thinking outside of the box can help you save green and go green, too.

  • Purchase recycled goodie bags from online retailers.
  • Package loose candy in small canvas treat bags to encourage reuse.
  • Purchase in bulk: less packaging, more candy, and more money saved.
  • Skip the sugar, and give out school supplies: recycled pencils, erasers, and notebooks.

2. Masking the Truth
The average American will spend upwards of $100 on a costume alone. And the amount of waste generated during October in synthetic materials is far more fear-inducing than the things that go bump in the night
We can guarantee you’ll turn more heads in a homemade costume than any manufactured monster or overproduced Disney princess.
These green ideas will get your creative juices flowing. Not only will you save money and aid the environment—you’ll have your friends howling at the moon with something truly homemade. Click through the links to see the costumes.

  • Minions: by using a few conventional materials around your home, you can have the most creative, endearing, and “despicable” costume on the block.
  • Maleficent: this couple transformed their 4-year-old daughter into villainous Disney character, Maleficent, without any sewing skills.
  • The Oz Balloon: with some cardboard and little paint, wheelchair-friendly costumes will have everybody talking.
  • Ghostbuster: one of the hottest costumes from last year is sure to spring up again this Halloween. And with this DIY, you’ll be more convincing than what they sell on the rack.

3. Decorations
Drop into any retail venue throughout the year, and you’re garishly bombarded with cheaply-made, one-and-done decorations for various celebrations and holidays. Not only are these items often chucked the moment a party or celebration has ended, but they end up in landfills across America—and right here in your backyard in Cumberland County, New Jersey.

  • Pumpkins are a perfectly festive way to get into the spirit of Halloween. Cut back on other decorations like plastic-bulb Halloween lights, dummies, or store-bought décor, and carve a dozen pumpkins for your walkways and porches. Not only will it be unique, but affordable family-friendly fun, too!
  • Stuffing a scarecrow can be done without spending a dime. Pack an old pair of overalls or a plaid shirt and jeans with rolled-up newspaper. You can cover a basketball with an old pillowcase and draw on a face without ever stepping foot into a store.
  • Using mason jars and little food coloring can cast a creepy effect of mad science. Seal a few of your children’s small toys (animals, insects, spiders, action figures) into different mason jars in different shades of colored water, and stack them on a shelf or table.

Contact the Cumberland County Solid Waste Complex for information on how you can do your part in keeping Cumberland County, New Jersey clean: 856.825.3700.

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