Want a low-waste Halloween? Try these eco-friendly treats

From foil-wrapped candy to canned bevs, here are 11 ideas to get you started

An illustration of a jack-o'-lantern surrounded by a recycling symbol in front of fall foliage.
Gary Meader / Duluth News Tribune
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If you haven’t already stocked up on Halloween treats, consider going eco-friendly this year.

Here are 11 ideas to get you started.


Boxed, foil-, paper- wrapping

Dove chocolates in caramel, mint and more line a grocery store shelf.
Hershey’s Kisses, Dove chocolates and Rolos are among low-waste, foil-wrapped candies, and the wrapping is recyclable.
Melinda Lavine / Duluth News Tribune

Milk Duds, Nerds, Dots and Junior Mints come in small recyclable boxes, and paper-covered Pixy Stix are more eco-friendly than single-use plastic treats.

Hershey’s Kisses, Dove chocolates and Rolos are among low-waste, foil-wrapped candies, and the wrapping is recyclable , according to “101 Ways to Go Zero Waste” author Kathryn Kellogg.



Individual Cuties are easy peasy, healthy options with an even easier compostable “wrapper.”

And, if you want to be on theme, add a bowl labeled “poisoned apples,” and fill it with your fave in-season variety.


Cases of mini Sunkist, Squirt and 7Up line a grocery store shelf.jpg
Mini canned beverages can serve as an eco-friendly treat on Halloween.
Melinda Lavine / Duluth News Tribune

Getting a full-size can of pop on Halloween is a win-win for trick-or-treaters and the planet — (especially, if you avoid cans with plastic grips on top). Today, there’s also a large selection of mini canned beverages.

Mix it up with caffeinated and caffeine-free options — Pepsi, Diet Coke, Orange Crush, ginger ale, lemonade. You can’t go wrong.


Hot apple cider

If you go this route, opt for cups that are compostable or made from recycled materials.

Better to skip if you’ve got to do plastic or foam cups.

Bulk-fed candy bags

This option best suits family and friends, and would do well for a Halloween party.

Consider filling small paper bags with your choice of bulk jelly beans, chocolate-covered peanuts, banana chips and dehydrated pineapple slices, and you can find it all at grocery stores and Whole Foods Co-op.

Optional: Decorate your candy bags with your fave Halloween imagery.


Tiny coloring books or single coloring pages


Halloween-themed or not, passing out a couple of pages or a miniature coloring book sparks some much-needed creativity in kiddos of all ages. Going small may make it easier on your wallet, and hey, maybe you’ll see some fridge art out of it.

Miniature notepads 

Same here, these never go out of style, and you can encourage your trick-or-treater to write a poem or a story, or sketch a picture — a treat for everyone.

No. 2 pencils + erasers

Halloween-themed or plain, BE. THAT. HOUSE.


A pile of quarters.
An assortment of change is a Halloween treat that keeps on giving.
Bob King / 2012 file / Duluth News Tribune

For a truly low-waste option, hit up your coin jar. Just remind kiddos they’re not edible.

Miniature wooden shapes

Kiddos can paint these later, and they’ll last longer than chocolate.

Bamboo straws

This reusable and biodegradable option may be a hard sell for the kiddos, but mentioning they’re great for milk shakes, smoothies and everything else might help.

"I’ve been out on that trail. I know what the hills are like, I know what the conditions are like. ... I have so much respect for them," Mallory Cummings of Duluth said.

Melinda Lavine is an award-winning, multidisciplinary journalist with 16 years professional experience. She joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2014, and today, she writes about the heartbeat of our community: the people.

Melinda grew up in central North Dakota, a first-generation American and the daughter of a military dad.

She earned bachelors degrees in English and Communications from the University of North Dakota in 2006, and started her career at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that summer. She helped launch the Herald's features section, as the editor, before moving north to do the same at the DNT.

Contact her: 218-723-5346,
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