Creating a Halloween your kids and your mother (Earth, that is) will love. Halloween, like all holidays, is meant to be enjoyed, but somewhere between planning and cleanup, many parents find themselves feeling uninspired or overwhelmed. It might seem that considering the planet while following tradition is too much work and way too expensive. Some fear it could zap the fun right out of the day. But creating an eco-savvy Halloween doesn't have to be scary or cost an arm and a leg when you follow these pointers.
Consider costumes. Many costumes and accessories contain toxic chemicals that are not only a potential hazard to your child, but also to the environment and the people who helped to make them. If purchasing online, look for fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk or make them yourself from materials you know to be safe. Here are a few more ideas:
Think decor. Americans spend billions of dollars on Halloween decorations (second only to Christmas). When decorating your home for Halloween, skip the cheap, plastic black cats and paper skeleton streamers that will barely last through the last trick-or-treater's knock. Instead, choose dcor inspired by Mother Earth -- fallen leaves and gourds or pumpkins and 100% beeswax candles.
Choose green treats and treasures. With concerns like the childhood obesity epidemic, lead-laden treats and child-slaves in the chocolate industry, even savvy parents may not know what is safe, earth-friendly, ethical and affordable to hand out to the kids who come knocking.
Not to fear -- there are ample possibilities. You've just got to "think outside the conventional candy box."
Here are a few possibilities:
(When it comes to "treasures" take a clue from doing laundry. What kinds of things do you empty from your children's pockets? Acorns, shells, coins?)
Regardless of which "goodies" you choose as giveaways, hand out less. Preferably your goodies of choice are healthy and/or Earth-friendly, but even if they're not, handing out just one (rather than the conventional handful), of something is better for kids, better for the planet and better for your bank account.
Green Halloween is a program of Treeswing, a Seattle non-profit working to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Through innovative programs and partnerships, Treeswing improves the health of our children and builds generations of healthy, active communities. Learn more at Treeswing.org.
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