Halloween means pumpkin carving, costume-wearing, trick-or-treating and lots of kids strung out on sugar looking for their next fix. Of course, this sounds like fun for the kids, but is it necessary to fill them with lots of sugary unhealthy treats and spend lots of money to celebrate just one day of the year?
Halloween can be a fun and exciting experience; all the while keeping the environment and healthy eating in mind.
There are many different alternatives to buying a new costume. Let’s be honest, most of the time that costume we buy will be used once and discarded.
- Organize a costume swap in your town or among friends or participate in a costume swap yourself to give life to an old costume.
- Make your own costume with materials you have around the house. My best costumes have been homemade.
- Rent a costume. If you are planning on spending money on a costume (I have seen some prices-they don’t come cheap), rent one instead. This way you don’t have to worry about what to do with that costume once you are done and it is better for the environment to boot!
I guess Halloween, wouldn't be Halloween without a jack-o-lantern, right?
- Try to buy local/organic. This way you know the environment was not harmed.
- Avoid using flame candles in your pumpkins. Traditional candles contain paraffin which is the predominant wax used in the candle industry. They release an assortment of pollutants into the environment when they are burned. And, you breathe in these pollutants as well. Try using a flashlight, or a non-plastic flameless candle. If you still want to use an actual candle, look for alternatives such as 100% beeswax or non-GMO soy candles.
- If you decide to forgo carving your pumpkin, why not make it into a delicious soup after Halloween.
- Roast or bake the pumpkin seeds so they do not go to waste. They do make a nice healthy snack.
- Compost your jack-o-lantern when it is all said and done!
Everyone associates Halloween with candy. I associate it with lots of waste from those individually wrapped candies. However, there are some fun ways to lessen your environmental impact and make your dentist happy at the same time.
- Look for fair-trade, organic options and, yes, even healthy ones too. Sugar is sugar whether it is organic or not, so try and look for less sugary alternatives such as popcorn, granola bars, fruit leathers, honey sticks, raisins or Larabars (which are fruit/nut bars). Peanuts are a great option because they are already packaged in a shell, and all ready to be composted. But, so many kids are allergic, so maybe ask the little goblins or their parents if they are allergic first.
- Attempt to purchase items that create less waste after consumption. If you live in a small town and know the kids that will be dropping by, make your own treats. This way there will be less waste and the food will taste so much better. When I was a kid, I looked forward to our neighbor making her yearly popcorn balls. My mouth is watering thinking of them!
- Skip the candy and give out non-food items such as used books, pennies or dimes, eco-friendly crayons, or nature type items for crafts or collecting. In a perfect world, all kids would appreciate non-candy items. Maybe, some kids actually would, but I am thinking the majority won’t. I still think this is a great idea, but it may not be realistic.
- Have you heard of the switch witch? You can switch out the candy for something else, such as a small toy or an experience or something healthier or even some cash! The switch witch comes to switch out the candy. We do something similar to the switch witch. Our kids go trick or treating but they know that isn't getting all that candy in their bag. At the end of the night, they get to pick 7-8 items that they really want and the rest is gone. We have some healthy snacks and candy available to them. To be honest, they have so much fun going through their candy and picking the items. They are content with that and it has now become our tradition!
- Make your own candy bag or use an old pillowcase. Why purchase something new, when you have lots of creative and original bags sitting at home you could dress-up?
- WALK! Just like we did when we were kids. It’s more fun and it will be good for your kids to burn off some extra energy before chowing down on the candy.
These are just a few ways to help green up your Halloween. Try some of them, and remember “every little bit helps!”
What are your green Halloween tips? Are you ready to think outside of the candy box?