haunted-houseDuring Halloween, it’s easy to see the waste associated with individually wrapped treats and costumes that are only enjoyed once a year. Although I have never been a fan of haunted houses myself (I visited one with friends when I was 13 and cried until an employee took off his mask and led me kindly to the exit), haunted houses provide many thrills for those more adventurous than I. But what is the environmental impact of these seasonally scary attractions? Well, it’s presumable that bigger Halloween events come with a lot of waste. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, which takes place in both Hollywood and Orlando, sees a large number of visitors each year. While there is not any concentrated information on how much energy usage and waste is associated with the Halloween Horror Nights exhibits, an April 2008 press release included information on “greening” the theme park’s new Simpson’s ride. The ride’s environmental aspects include an LED lighting system and a custom software system that looks for maximizing efficiency.

The company’s environmental program, Green is Universal, works to keep the Hollywood park green by recycling all cardboard, using recycled water for landscaping and wash-down purposes, using solar panels to create enough energy to power approximately 1,400 homes each day and using eco-friendly cleaning supplies for the park’s restaurants and kitchens. We can only hope then that Universal Studios still has green on its radar for the Halloween season and works to reduce the waste associated with the scary event. So, how can you be environmentally friendly while still having a terrifyingly fun time? Carpool with friends to haunted houses, ride a bike or take public transportation. Call the haunted house’s management to inquire about conservation practices. Will the haunted corn maze have blue bins for recycling? Will the haunted asylum have energy-efficient eerie lighting? Are props and costumes made from recycled/reused materials? Do part of the proceeds go to a local environmental cause? If you are running a haunted house, consider waiving admission to those that bring electronics for safe recycling. Or, maybe an environmentally themed haunted house could scare the neighbors into recycling and conserving!