Ghosts, haunted houses, Ouija boards, creepy sounds late at night, and scary movies are just a few of the scary things associated with Halloween. But there is one terrifying aspect of Halloween that few talk about: Halloween waste.

According to Waste Managed, “in the US, over 11 million pounds of textile waste is produced by businesses and consumers throwing away Halloween costumes. The article also points out a startling statistic by a journalist, Lisa Morton, who specializes in researching and writing Halloween content: “A single trick-or-treater generates one pound (half a kilo) of trash at Halloween.”.

Read the full article here.

According to this article, “one study conducted in 2019 estimated that around 2,000 tons of plastic waste is generated from disposable Halloween clothing in the UK alone.” The US is significantly larger than the UK and arguably celebrates Halloween more intensely. Just imagine the waste.

Still not spooked? Here are some other scary statistics:

  • According to, “A 2019 study found that discarded Halloween costumes generated around 2,000 tons of plastic waste each year.”
  • Every Halloween, some seven million costumes are thrown away, their synthetic fibers accounting for the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles. We buy 300,000 tons of candy and 90 million pounds of chocolate just during Halloween week. No one seems to know how much plastic is used to make all the skulls, cauldrons, and gravestones that decorate front yards each October. Source: Earth 911.

Here are some ideas on how to enjoy a more sustainable Halloween:

  • If you are reading this and still don’t have a costume, how about making one? Head over to your local thrift store, pick up a few pieces, and create something new. Then hold onto those pieces for future costume ideas.
  • If you purchased a new costume this year, wash it, store it, and save it for a future Halloween. You can always reimagine a costume if you feel like a change. Were you a witch or a pirate this year? How about being the zombie, or dead, version of it next time around?
  • Consider donating your costume and decoration before throwing them in the trash.
  • Save your pumpkins. You can preserve pumpkins by freezing them and their seeds.
  • Consider composting your pumpkins.
  • I love this idea in the Tennessean about sending leftover candy to service women and men.
  • This post on Budget Dumpster has additional tips.

As a big fan of dressing up, I have DIYed my own costume in the past because I love having an outlet for my creativity. This year, however, Matt and I purchased new costumes (from a small business) because we wanted to tap into the spirit of one of our favorite shows, “Stranger Things.” However, we intend to rework them in the future (see the point above about being the zombie version of your original costume). I have never thrown away a costume, and I am always thinking about how I can make my Halloween more sustainable.