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How to recycle Halloween decorations

Updated on December 13, 2014
erinshelby profile image

Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.


After the fun of Halloween festivities this year, you’re stuck with Halloween decorations. Is there anything you can do with them except for throwing them away or saving them for next year? Learn how to recycle these Halloween decorations in a flash.

Recycling Halloween Pumpkins

Jack-o-Lanterns that have served their purpose can turn into a slimy mess, but gardeners know that old pumpkins can live on in a compost bin. Recycle these decorations by removing any candles or pieces with wax and place only the pumpkins in a compost bucket or bin.

Halloween Luminaries

Your Halloween luminaries can live on after trick-or-treat. First, blow out each flame and wait a few minutes for the candles to cool. Carefully remove each candle from the bag. Decide what to do with each item:

  • Candles can be stored away for use in centerpieces, craft projects or as a light source during a power outage.
  • Sand can be stored in a tightly sealed container for craft projects. Or, if your home has a sandbox, consider adding this sand to it to replace the sand that somehow slowly trickles out. Throw away any chunks of sand containing melted wax before adding the sand to your sandbox.
  • Brown paper bags without wax coating can be placed in your compost bin. If you want to speed up the composting process, tear the bags into smaller pieces before throwing them into the bin.

Halloween Tablecloths

If you’ve purchased thin, plastic tablecloths meant for one-time use, are they still in good shape? If so, try using it for something that doesn’t involve dining. A used tablecloth that's past its prime can be a cheap drop cloth during your next DIY project. Stripping wallpaper, applying primer to a wall or stripping thick coats of paint from furniture can all make for messy clean-up without a drop cloth. To turn your tablecloth into a drop cloth, use a damp rag to clean it. Fold it as best as you can and store it until it’s needed. If there are any rips in the tablecloth, keep in mind that your paint or varnish will run through.


Halloween Party Supplies

Any Halloween paper plates, cups and napkins you have may be out of fashion, but they’re not useless. Consume your meals from these first – instead of from your usual dinnerware – and you’ll have fewer dishes to wash. Be sure to throw used items in the recycling bin before bidding them a final farewell. Another option for these items is to donate them to a local food bank where a grateful recipient will be found.

© 2013 erinshelby


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    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      Glad you found them useful, Deborah.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      What great, practical tips.

    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the comment, Eiddwen.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant hub and thank you for sharing.

      Looking forward to many more by you.


    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      A picnic with games sounds like a fun way to spend your evening. Using paper plates left from Halloween, that makes for quicker clean up time!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Good ideas. There's no reason to be wasteful, especially with size of the landfills these days. We combine Halloween paper plates randomly with left over plates from birthdays and holidays, then mix them up. It's kind of fun to have a no-frills family night eating off paper plates. We even take our plates to the living room with games and call it a "pic nic."