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Tips for supporting a green Halloween

Buy a local pumpkin. Go to a local pumpkin patch, Farmer’s Market, or Fall Bazaar to buy your pumpkin. After carving it, save the seeds, bake them and eat them or feed them to the birds. There’s no problem putting pumpkin seeds out for birds, wet or dry. Make use of all pumpkin parts. If possible, bury or compost the carcass.

Recycle your old costumes. Take old costumes and donate them to the Goodwill and pick up other used costumes. It’s inexpensive, and a great way to make your Halloween eco-friendly.

Have fun with an eco-friendly theme. Dress up as a tree hugger, Al Gore, a trendy cloth bag, a compact fluorescent light bulb, or Mother Earth. But don’t buy anything new - that doesn’t make for an eco-friendly Halloween - instead, look in your recycling bin, second-hand stores, friends’ and relatives’ closets, and your basement or attic for costume ideas. For green ideas visit

Explore vintage shops for recycled jewelry and accessories. Or, ask elderly family members if they want to recycle their classic treasures to help you have an eco-friendly Halloween.
Walk with your trick-or-treaters. Instead of driving your kids to other neighborhoods, walk with them. It will cut down on the number of houses they hit and reduce the amount of processed sugar they’ll be eating. Instead of using plastic bags to collect treats, use a bag made out of recycled material, a straw basket, a bucket or an old metal pot with a handle and if you really want volume, use an old pillow case. Teach your children not to litter.

Tips for eco-friendly Halloween parties: Forget about plastic party bags, processed junk food and supermarket chocolate bars. Instead, go for ethically sourced party bags, biodegradable balloons and eco-friendly paints and recycled paper for party crafts. Include yogurt-covered raisins, trail mix and roasted pumpkin seeds in your green menu.

Send eco-friendly invitations. Invitations can be made of rice paper, hemp, banana stalks, organic cotton, or bamboo or use—the most eco-friendly Halloween party invitation is e-mail.

Burn soy candles in your Jack O’Lanterns. Wax candles are made from petroleum that unleash the equivalent of diesel exhaust. Instead use a natural soy or beeswax candles without polluting the air. Or try!-yay.

Scare up some healthy treats. Find individually wrapped miniature muffins, dried fruit, raisin boxes, trail mix and reduced-sugar granola bars for kid-friendly treats. Rummage through your treasures for key rings, stickers and other fun items to hand out as treats instead of candy.

Quench thirst with green libations. Serve organic juices and substitute tap water for bottled water by adding squeezed lemon, lime or orange or a sprig of mint to it. Use reusable cups or ones made of recycled paper.

Use eco-plates, napkins and recyclable flatware or even better, rent plates and cutlery. Avoid paper or plastic dishware; even the paper ones aren’t eco-friendly if they’re coated in petroleum-based wax.

Spooky decorations. Making your Halloween eco-friendly includes using natural decorations such as driftwood, squash or large fall leaves. Bring out last year’s decorations or make more with some recycled goods: Egg cartons make great bats and spiders, go to for more ideas.
In recognition of sustainability awareness week, the Environment and Community Sustainability committee will be available to answer questions on sustainability from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Horsehoe.

For information on MUSC recycling program, visit


Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.