Halloween is right around the corner, and if you have not started thinking about it, I bet your children have. This year why not consider adding some green to your family’s orange and black? Going eco-friendly and healthy is possible. Here are five areas you can easily make life greener and healthier this Halloween (and maybe even save you some green at the same time)!
Decorations can serve more than one purpose and provide you the opportunity for reuse. Pumpkin seeds make a healthy snack when roasted or try only decorating the surface of your pumpkin and then turn the inside into a pie after the holiday is over! Whenever possible, buy your pumpkin from a local farmer or farmer’s market to cut down on the distance it travels to reduce the gas usage and exhaust from transit. Bales of straw, after they are stacked in your yard display, can become ground or garden cover for the winter. Corn Stalks add brown foliage to your compost after they add ambiance. Milk Cartons, a black marker, and battery-powered tea lights combine to make ghostly luminaries to line your driveway or sidewalk.
An essential part of any Halloween celebration is a collection container for the loot that children receive during Trick-or-Treating. This year consider using something that will last for years to come. Children will enjoy decorating an ordinary container to make it personal and unique. Whether it is a canvas bag, basket, bucket or something rescued from your recycling bin, save it to reuse again next year.
Do you have a closet of costumes from years past just taking up space? Take this opportunity to clean out your closet and organize a neighborhood costume swap. One neighbor’s clutter is another neighbor’s great find! Finding costumes at consignment sales is another way to recycle. For a fun family project, get creative and reuse items around your home to make your costume this year. If crafting is not your style, check out the Vend Raleigh Directory to find a local mom-owned small business to craft your child’s costume for you.
Halloween is known for painted faces. But have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly you are putting on your skin along with the paint? Our skin is our largest organ and is a direct pathway for chemicals to enter our bloodstream. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested ten children’s face paints for heavy metals. The independent lab tests found lead in all ten samples. The Campaign noted, “Lead exposures early in life can lead to hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, IQ deficits, reduced school performance, aggression and delinquent behavior.” Six of the ten samples contained nickel, chromium and/or cobalt that were at levels far above safe recommendations. These heavy metals can cause skin rashes. The full report can be found here. Instead of using store-bought face paint, have a paint making party to make your own. Links to recipes are available on my Pinterest “Green Halloween” Board.
This year think outside the candy box! I’ve been giving away alternatives to candy for the past few years, and I’ve been surprised by how many kids are really excited about alternative goodies. Plus, I am confident there are a few parents out there who are thankful for a little less sugar. Last year I gave away fall-themed pencils and erasers, and I plan to do the same thing this year to use up my leftovers.
For those who cannot celebrate Halloween without Chocolate, consider buying Fair Trade Chocolate. October is designated Fair Trade Month. Fair Trade Chocolate ensures that the Fair Trade Federation Principles are being followed from the grower to the manufacturers and everywhere in between. One of these nine principles is cultivating environmental stewardship and encouraging eco-friendly practices throughout the supply chain. In addition to environmental standards, Fair Trade Chocolate ensures growers receive fair wages for their labor and the chocolate is free of child slave labor. Most of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, and the practice of child trafficking and using child slave labor is prevalent on Cocoa plantations. To learn more, check out The Dark Side of Chocolate documentary on YouTube, and consider Reverse Trick-Or-Treating to share about the importance of Fair Trade with your neighbors. You can find #31 Ideas for Celebrating a Fair Trade October at Global Exchange. Help make Halloween sweet for all of the world’s children by looking for the Fair Trade label on your Chocolate wrapper.
As my favorite quote says, “Many small people in many small places can do many small things to change the face of the world.” I hope you will consider how you can make small changes to have a more eco-friendly and green Halloween this year! What’s your favorite way to go green, live healthier, and protect our planet?
Suzanne Miller is a Blogger and Consultant at LoveAndSmallThings.com, which she is launching October 1st! She is also a member of the Vend Raleigh Directory. Contact her to speak to your civic or church group about eco-living, social justice, fair trade, or the connections between these ideas and Christianity at [email protected] or 919-815-7861. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @loveandsmall. She has information about these Green Halloween suggestions and more on her Pinterest page.