Halloween is upon us, and with the exception of those affected by Hurricane Sandy and therefore delaying the festivities until the weekend, tonight is Trick or Treat night, which is just the culmination of the 2-3 weeks that turn October to November. It is a time of year for dressing in costumes, decorating and smashing pumpkins, collecting and eating candy, pranks, littering and other shenanigans. The resounding theme illustrated by all Halloween activities is that they lead to a great deal of fun and goofiness, but also a massive accumulation of trash.

Take the Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls, as an example. About two weeks before Halloween, the high schoolers in the community gather pumpkins and take them to a notorious hill in town that is perfect for sledding. Once the pumpkins are thoroughly smashed, the students will break out the sleds and hit the hill with the unique exception that the pumpkin innards make the slick surface rather than the snow of winter. The mess, as pictured above, is extensive and is just the beginning of the holiday pranks that create public messes during Halloween festivities.

Halloween shenanigans not only lead to trash buildup, but the holiday itself encourages us all to recycle trash and even clothing. Unless you are willing to decorate your house with a purchased dumpster diver costume, you will likely hit the dollar store and litter your house and yards with fake cobwebs and creepy decorations that will be wasted to the pages of history when fall weather forces you to throw them away after the holiday. Those more resourceful, like one industrious man in Temple, TX (North of Austin), will recycle their household trash into an entertaining display worthy of tours. Those less involved, but resourceful in their own way, will often hit the thrift store to recycle other people’s clothing and get creative with their costumes.

It is a fun time of year that allows people to embrace their childhood, eat some candy, vandalize property and take out frustrations on harmless pumpkins. Regardless of whether you are creating the debris, or recycling it, you aren’t truly embracing Halloween without the its trash.