This article was formatted for Primal Kidz Mag, was written by Larraine Roulston, and appeared on The Green-Mom blog in its original form.
This Halloween, be EEEKO friendly!
While the Halloween hype typically consists of treats and festivities adorned with orange and black, this year parents and “crunchy moms” alike can GO Green for Halloween simply and inexpensively with a few slick tricks.
- Costumes can become much more creative by looking in your closets for old clothes, hats or fabrics. A trip to a thrift store may also provide some good choices. Use older, recycled (fabric) costumes from siblings, family members, or friends.
- Cheap costume jewelry should be avoided, such as painted pearls and trinkets, since they have been known to contain lead.
- Face paints can be made naturally at home or you can use a more natural brand without lead, parabens, heavy metals, bismuth, and other artificial ingredients. Insead, use this all natural Halloween face paint recipe or use this brand free of those nasty chemicals.
Over the years Halloween masks have proven to be somewhat dangerous for vision, and so face painting has become more popular, but unfortunately these traditional Halloween face paints have been found with scary stuff lurking in the ingredients. Increasing awareness about harmful chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and personal care products should cause us to step back from the merriment to inquire about this colorful “goop.” What’s more, when it is time to retire the little goblins, witches, rock stars and princesses to bed, all those chemicals get washed into our water supply, possibly affecting our drinking water and polluting the rivers, lakes and eventually the ocean.
Talk to your children about the risks of chemical exposure: informed youngsters will still embrace the mystery and fun of the night.
Halloween Parties Wreak Havoc On The Environment
Another frightening aspect of Halloween is “The Party” where billions of dollars are spent on cheap decorations, food in non-recyclable packaging and party supplies that generally end up in landfills. If you are hosting a party, take up the challenge: go for Zero Waste.
- Decorate with nature by using branches and leaves.
- Make paper decorations that can be either reused or recycled. The fresh aroma of homemade (Paleo!) brownies will set the tone as well.
- Use china plates or recycled paper plates, napkins, and utensils.
- Eliminate balloons, straws and other non-recylcable disposable cutlery.
- Place recycling containers and pails around the house and outside to collect food and any paper products for composting.
- Obtain a spooky ambiance by using beeswax candles and/or LED lights. Beeswax candles are a safer option that paraffin candles that are made from petroleum and burn less cleanly, and LED lights last as much as 133 times longer than incandescent bulbs and cost 80% less to use.
Halloween falls directly after Waste Reduction Week (October 20-26).
Halloween with all its activities provides a perfect opportunity to encourage children to practice the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). Incorporating some or all of the above tips above will help to ensure a less toxic and chemical free Halloween for not only your children but for the environment as well. A few more tips to reduce your carbon footprint this Halloween can include:
- Placing your Jack O’Lantern in a corner of your yard will allow it to decompose slowly, providing an excellent example of home school Biology 101.
- Opting for non-food treats like pencils, stickers, or word searches, and using treats that are wrapped using recycled content, such as cardboard boxes of raisins, which can be recycled again.
- Selecting Fair Trade chocolate is another conscious decision that works to promote fairness for the international growers who work hard for a living.
- Walking around your neighborhood, the traditional way, when trick or treating, rather than hopping in the car.
A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children’s adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at Castle Compost.