Tips for a Greener Halloween
“Green” Halloween is the hip way to celebrate our spookiest season. But what does that mean? At Big Green Purse, we focus on putting some “eco” in the EEK! See how, in the first of this two-part series on greening Halloween.
Costumes and Face Paint
At my house, before we hit the shopping mall or even browse online we dig into our closets and attic and see what treasures we can find to pull together a fun, no-cost get-up. It doesn’t take much to turn scarves, ties, hats, baggy shirts, sports gear, long skirts or mini dresses into damsels, monsters, and everything in between. If your own threads don’t work for you or your kids, trade costumes with friends and family, or see what the nearest vintage/thrift store has to offer. Shop for accessories at yard sales, where you could find funky boots, goofy hats, clunky (or glamorous) jewelry, and more. Use your imagination, but don’t obsess. The point is to have fun, not be fashionable!
Now that lead has been found in conventional Halloween face paint, the search is on for safer ways to turn our kids into tigers, fairies, and their favorite cartoon characters. One thing is clear: ONLY face paint that’s cosmetic-grade quality should be used. Fortunately, many options exist. We’ve got a big list of them for you here on Big Green Purse.
Even though my kids are in their twenties now, they still want to know what kind of candy I’m giving out on Halloween. They remember with embarrassment the boxes of raisins I doled out one year. I remember that, too, since I found most of the boxes on the sidewalk in front of my house the next morning.
Treats to Pass Out
These days, there are dozens of organic and (relatively) natural treats to hand out to kids. For example:
Organic Chocolate – Both Divine Chocolate and Equal Exchange sell dark and milk chocolate mini bars in bulk and at a reasonable price -– especially considering the chocolate is also Fair Trade. For quick delivery, order them online at divinechocolate.com and/or tundratrading.com.
Lollipops and Candy Drops –- YumEarth sells both in bulk bags perfect for stocking up for Halloween. Though sweet and tasty, the candy is free of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, gluten, and peanuts, using real fruit extracts instead. You should be able to find these at natural foods stores and in the natural foods sections of conventional grocery stores.
Gum –- Glee Gum gives kids something to chew on -– without fake food dyes and artificial sweeteners. Buy it online at GleeGum.com
Unreal Candy –- No corn syrup. No preservatives. Gluten-free. No GMOs. Plus, it’s available at Wegman’s, Stop & Shop, Target, and Giant, among many other local stores.
If you really don’t want to hand out sweets, think creatively about what kids could use and would like. Avoid little plastic nonsense-y toys, stickers they’ll just throw away, or something you as a parent find charming but that a kids is just going to trash. I sometimes give out nickels (most kids still have piggy banks) or dimes. Even if a hundred kids come to my door and they all get a dime, it’s only $10 – far less than I’d spend on candy for them.
One mom in our neighborhood doles out small cups of apple cider to the kids who show up at her house. Everyone knows and trusts her, so no worries there. And most kids are so parched from running around in their costumes that they appreciate getting a drink and catching their breath before they head to the next house.
What about candy bags? The best option for candy collectors is last year’s bag, a pillowcase or a reusable shopping bag with handles. But if you need something new, try the reusable bags from ChicoBag.com. Kids will love their spooky designs, and you’ll love that you can buy three for only $15.
Time for the party! If you opt to celebrate at home in lieu of trick-or-treating, put out bowls of snacks rather than serve up individual servings in throwaway wrapping. Offer popcorn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips, fresh apple cider, and cookies shaped like bats and ghosts. Kids will enjoy painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on “flashlight hunts” in the yard (if the party’s after dark) for hidden Halloween surprises. Send electronic invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.
What do you do to green Halloween for your family?
Please let us know, and stop by Big Green Purse for more tips. GreenHalloween has lots of ideas, too. And don't forget: for eco-friendly Halloween decorating tips, and some ideas on what to do with left-over pumpkin, make sure to drop by next Monday for the second installment of this two-part special feature on Green Halloween.