Avoid Recycling Horrors Every Halloween

When the trick and treating is all done, what you have left are mountains of candy wrappers, decorations, costumes, and food.

Around 600 million pounds of candy are bought for Halloween, and about 12,500 tons of Halloween costumes are sent to landfills every year, according to Real Simple magazine.

Here’s a quick guide to what you can do with them:

Candy wrappers

24% of people think candy wrappers are recyclable, according to a survey by Republic Services. Unfortunately many wrappers are made of mixed materials and so should NOT go into your recycling bin. However, companies like TerraCycle do accept wrappers.


String lights can get tangled in machines at the recycling facility so they should NOT go into your recycling bin. But you can contact your city’s municipal solid waste office or look for a mail-in recycling program.

Inflatable nylon decorations are difficult to recycle and should NOT go into your recycling bin. But the motors might be recycled as e-waste. Here’s more tips on recycling decorations.


Costumes that are just fabric can be recycled with other textiles, but items like latex masks cannot. The best way to recycle costumes? Use or alter them for next year or donate them.

Pumpkins and other Food

These can be composted or should go into your organics bin. Check your recycling program for what foods are accepted. And of course, edible food can be donated through organizations like Replate.

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