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October 19, 2021

Have a Green Halloween!

Halloween is almost here, and there are a lot of simple ways to make the holiday “greener” than ever. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer spending on Halloween related items is expected to reach an all time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion in 2020. Most American’s Halloween budget goes toward candy, home/yard decorations and costumes. These items can add up to a lot of extra waste (packaging, wrappers, etc.).

In addition to the waste from costumes and decorations, on average, an extra 1 pound of garbage per trick or treater is generated each Halloween. This results in hundreds of tons of waste in Oneida and Herkimer Counties alone. “If each of us made a few small changes to the way we celebrate the upcoming holiday, we would see a major environmental impact. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) offers the following money saving and environmentally friendly tips to help “green” your Halloween,” stated Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator.

Get creative with decorations. Use natural Halloween decorations like gourds, pumpkins, mums and corn stalks – all of these can be composted when you are through with them. Turn recycled paper into window decorations like spiders, pumpkins or witch hats. Paint grocery bags Halloween white for ghostly effects or make a graveyard scene with paper tombstones. If you are purchasing new decorations, try to find items that can be saved and re-used year after year.

Make your own costume. Halloween would not be the same without a costume. Skip the racks of expensive, plastic costumes and come up with creative ideas for a home-made costume – you might even win the Authority’s virtual costume contest! If you can’t make your own, check out secondhand stores or host a costume-swap with friends. View the rules and prizes for the “Go Green for Halloween” Costume Contest by visiting our website at or our Facebook and Instagram pages!

Collect your treats in reusable bags. Instead of spending your money on plastic pumpkins or plastic Halloween bags, use old pillowcases or reusable shopping bags for trick-or-treating. You can even make them festive by decorating them to match your costume! The Authority is providing FREE reusable bags for children at its EcoDrops in Utica and Rome through October 31st during regular business hours. Visit for locations and hours of operation.

Stay local and walk instead of drive. Stick close to home this Halloween and walk to help reduce air pollution and fuel use. It’s also a great way to connect with neighbors and get some exercise!

Compost your pumpkins. You can add pumpkins, gourds, mums and corn stalks to your compost pile! If you do not compost at home, Halloween is a great time to start. If you live in a community where green yard waste is collected, place your pumpkins to the curb to be collected for composting. Green waste may also be delivered to the Authority’s Utica and Rome EcoDrops for composting.

“Waste reduction and recycling is the easiest way to help the environment and have a direct impact here in the Oneida-Herkimer region. With a little creativity and mindfulness, we can make the holiday season less wasteful. Reducing the amount of waste we create will conserve our region’s landfill space, natural resources and energy,” continued Brown.

For more information on how to “green” your Halloween, please visit the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s Facebook page – “Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority.” For solid waste and recycling questions or for more information on the Authority’s other programs, please visit or call (315) 733-1224.