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Have an EEK-O Halloween

Halloween CandyNext to Christmas, more money is spent on Halloween than on any other holiday.  Although a fun holiday, almost everything associated with Halloween is disposable, single-serving, or synthetic.

Read on for eco-ideas on what to do with items you may have leftover after Halloween.

Halloween Candy
Want to limit how much candy your kids eat from their huge stockpile? Rather than throw it out or bring it to the office, ask your kids to donate some (or all) of their Halloween Candy to good causes. Some local dentists collect and/or buy back candy and send to the military troops via Operation Gratitude.

Here are a few local dentists that are accepting Halloween candy, and paying you for it! Some donate to the troops, others donate to local kids in need. Please note there are varying days, hours and dollars per pound collected.

Support for the Kids, a nonprofit that supports underprivileged kids is donating candy they collect for the kids’ Christmas parties. You can drop off candy on Wednesday, November 1st from 5-6pm at Wendy Park.

Here is a list of local dentists and orthodontists that are collecting candy for Operation Gratitude:

Premier Orthodontics -- $2/lb: Nov. 1st only
228 Lombard Street, Suite A
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone: (805) 585-3184
Hours: 8:30am- 5pm
(also have an office in Oxnard)

Oak Park Dentistry -- $1/ lb. Collecting Friday, Nov 3 only
1115 Lindero Cyn Rd (818) 889-5440
Hours: 8:30am- 5pm
(also have an office in Simi Valley)

Thousand Oaks Smile Design -- $1/ lb.  collecting candy from Nov 1-Nov 3
430 E. Avenida de los Arboles, Suite 102, Thousand Oaks
(805) 492-3553
Hours: 9:00am- 5pm

After Halloween, you can donate or sell any unwanted or outgrown Halloween costumes. If you have more time, you can organize a costume swap before Halloween next year.

If you want to donate those costumes right away, however, you can bring new or gently-used costumes to kids in foster care through James Storehouse in Newbury Park. Support for the Kids is donating costumes they collect for the kids’ Christmas parties, and for Halloween costumes next year.

You can drop off costumes on Wednesday, November 1st from 5-6 at Wendy Park. Costumes of all sizes and ages are appropriate to donate, as James Storehouse also serves babies in foster care.

If you would like to donate costumes to James Storehouse at other times, here is their info: 3541 Old Conejo Road, #117 Newbury Park, CA 91320, Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm or by appointment.

Next year, consider renting costumes instead of buying new. Other options include buying from thrift stores. With the new sharing economy, you can find anything online, sold or rented by people in your local community.  One such site is Six Degree Rentals.

Leftover Pumpkins
What to do with that Halloween pumpkin after Halloween? Turn it around and if the back is not carved or decorated, use it for Thanksgiving décor. Roast the seeds and use the pumpkin pulp to make pumpkin bread, cookies or pie. Or, compost your pumpkins so they don’t add to the landfill where they will produce methane gas, a dangerous greenhouse gas.

Glow Sticks
What about those ubiquitous glow sticks? They have a very short life and are not recyclable. If the chemicals inside the glow stick are released from the container, they may be damaging to the environment or irritate your skin. After the glow is gone, they often go right in the trash where they end up in the landfill forever. Next year, choose alternatives to glow sticks including glow in the dark apparel, neon t-shirts and LED flashlights.

Halloween Décor and Party Disposables
Reuse plastic trick or treat pumpkins that your kids have outgrown by painting them with non-toxic low or no VOC paints. And if you have a Halloween party, remember to recycle cans and bottles.

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