A graphic that says Halloween Waste Reduction Tips and shows Jack O'Lanterns.

Like last year, this coming Halloween will include pandemic precautions, but there are still plenty of ways to have a safe, spooky, and Earth-friendly holiday.

With the City’s official Halloween trick-or-treat hours set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, Iowa City's recycling coordinator Jane Wilch has a Jack-o'-lantern filled with fun ideas on how to  enjoy a green Halloween this year.

Durable, reusable, recyclable Halloween decorations

Choose quality, durable decorations that you can use year after year. This saves money and reduces waste over time.

If you prefer recyclable decorations, avoid metallic or glitter-coated decorations, as these cannot be recycled. More information at icgov.org/recycle.

Eco-friendly costumes

Use what you already have around the house to create a costume, or shop for a costume secondhand! Check out our great selection of local secondhand and consignment stores for costumes.

Make sure that in addition to a Halloween mask, a face covering over your nose and mouth will help keep you safe.

Give sustainable treats

Consider candy options with less packaging or that have organic or Fairtrade status. Alternatively, you can offer a treat other than candy!

Provide treats from a safe distance, from your driveway, or in your yard. Light the path to your treats and direct traffic away from your door. Wear a face mask over your nose and mouth, and remember, Halloween masks do not protect against COVID-19.

Sometimes individually-wrapped candy is the easiest and safest option. Most wrappers are not recyclable, so be sure to place these in the trash once the candy is eaten.

Collect your candy and treats in a reusable or durable option

Use a reusable cloth bag, pillowcase, or wicker basket (among many other options) to carry your candy around while trick-or-treating. Always wear your face coverings, and don’t forget the hand sanitizer!

Compost your pumpkins and gourds

Iowa City curbside customers can compost at the curb. Remove any candles or lights from inside your pumpkin and place it in your yellow-top organics cart or in a paper yard waste bag, and then set it at the curb by 7 a.m. on your collection day.

Residents can also take pumpkins to the Iowa City Landfill’s Compost Facility to be composted at no cost.

A PDF version of this guide is also available online.

Questions? Call our Recycling Coordinator at 319-887-6110 or email at jane-wilch@iowa-city.org. Sign up to receive curbside service notices at icgov.org/subscribe.

A safe Halloween during COVID-19 pandemic

With input from the Johnson County Public Health Department, the City has issued safety recommendations for a safe and fun Halloween. Read how you can stay safe at our website. 

Date of publication

Monday, September 27, 2021