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Annual Post-Halloween Stroll

I started a tradition a few years back. I go on a walk the day after Halloween with a empty bread bag. Usually I enjoy walks by looking at houses, plants or chatting with neighbors along the way. Instead, on this walk my eyes are laser-focused on trash--specifically candy wrappers. Luckily, or unluckily depending on the context, they are easy to spot. Try it next November 1st.


Ripped open lollypop wrappers and even unopened candy fill my bag, plus a few plastic water bottles, a soda can and two small pieces of styrofoam top it off. All was found on the sidewalks and green areas in my immediate neighborhood, about a 6 block radius, the remnants of Halloween trick or treating the day before. My bread bag this year was from a purchase of 16 hotdog buns for a party this past summer (I reuse bread bags for all sorts of things, but that is another story.)

Over dinner that evening, I asked my children (9 and 6 years old) the reasons why this litter occurs. They came up with a couple of reasons: trick or treat bags overflow or kids are in a hurry in the excitement and drop things. I added wind and the absence of light as two other reasons. Wrappers are light and they blow easily if not disposed of properly. Once the sun goes down, it is harder to notice littering.


The Halloween tradition and activity of trick-or-treating won't change anytime soon. I don't suggest that as the solution to the post-Halloween trash problem. I suppose the best action we can take is to reduce the amount of Halloween candy in the first place. Do we really need to have huge mounds of candy available and out for the kids? Kids will likely go to several houses and collect along the way, so they don't need a huge assortment at one home. It is better for their health and the environment to have less either way.


Sitting next to me as I write, my son suggested that I should end this entry with a hope (he learned this idea in his 4th grade writing unit.) So, I hope you will plan a post-Halloween stroll next year as an eye-opener into the amount of waste a community can produce after activities. It really adds up.

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