And for good reason.
Nearly $8 billion a year is spent on costumes, candy, décor and other accessories, often made from unhealthy, unsustainable materials, by people who may not be paid living wages or treated fairly. Most of the stuff – what isn’t consumed – winds up in landfills. And frightening facts about high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, lead-laden accessories just fuel parent’s concerns.
But our goal is to show families that it’s easy and affordable to keep the fun, while losing the unhealthy, un-Earth-friendly traditions. It’s not about telling parents how they should celebrate – it’s about inspiring them to make choices that make sense to their families, their budgets and their schedules.
And when many families make healthier and more sustainable choices for Halloween – taking even the smallest of steps – big impacts can be made for the short and long term.
It’s actually pretty simple to celebrate a Green Halloween
Busy parents need greening to be simple. Whatever the choice may be (goodies, costumes, décor, etc.), adding an eco-friendly twist shouldn’t increase stress and chaos to an already hectic holiday season. But making healthy and green choices is, in fact, easier than it seems.
The key is thinking (and acting) outside the conventional candy box.
Plan ahead. Halloween is a fairly last minute holiday, resulting in a lot of knee-jerk choices that aren’t good for kids or the planet. But if you make a habit of thinking ahead, you can find exactly what you want while saving time, energy and reducing stress.
Create an annual appointment in your calendar for each October 1st. Decide what you are going to give away this year and, if necessary, order it online or pick it up. If you have the bandwidth to coordinate with a few friends or co-workers, you can save money by buying online, splitting the quantities and dividing the shipping charges. If nontoxic temporary tattoos are a hit, make it easier on yourself by giving the same thing away next year. (Make your green goodies a tradition.)
Think outside the candy bowl. Who said trick-or-treating is just about junk food? (Well, just because it normally is, that doesn’t mean you can’t buck the trend.) Running to the grocery store the night before Halloween to pick up that 300-piece bag of candy will land you with enough artificial ingredients to scare adults and kids alike! Some of the biggest offenders are:
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners
Partially hydrogenated oils
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Preservatives – including: sodium benzoate, sulfites (sulfur dioxide), polysorbate 60, 65 or 80, nitrites, TBHQ, and BHT/BHA
And for children with gluten and dairy sensitivities, you’ll want to avoid maltodextrin, modified food starch, caramel coloring or flavoring, citric acid, and “natural flavorings”, milk fat, and lactose.
What to give out instead? Opt for candy made from higher quality ingredients from brands like Glee Gum, Surf Sweets, or Yum Earth. If you’d like to forego candy altogether, try some of these non-candy options…
DIY glider planes
Super useful Carabiner clips
Halloween themed stickers
Play-Doh mini packs
Maybe boring but always needed Pencils
Playing cards with magic tricks or Halloween jokes (from a local bookstores, or even better you can DIY them.)
Include the kids. Going green is a family affair, so make it easier on yourself and include the kids by asking for their ideas. When they’re involved from the get-go, they’re more like to stay involved and to have positive attitudes. Let them help with crafts or natural Halloween decorating.
Relax. Going green isn’t an all or nothing deal and busy moms have a lot on their minds and plates. So start with simple green steps that will work for your family this year. You can always add more the next time around. Holidays should be about the fun, not about the stress. Even green choices, if stressful, won’t be sustainable over the long haul.
Putting some green into your Halloween does not have to be difficult or costly. In the continuum of being green, all families can hop on board!
You can start wherever you are. For example, if your family eats organic and shops mostly locally, you’ll find tons of ways you can make your holiday even healthier and more green with tips even seasoned health-conscious parents will find useful. If your family has yet to try healthy alternatives, this is a great year to start.
Greening your Halloween means trying one new tradition–or trying them all. By going green for just one part of your Halloween, you’ll be making a difference you and your family can be proud of.
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