From candy to face paint to candles, Halloween can be a “toxic” holiday. There are simple ways however, to make Halloween greener without spoiling the fun!
Face paint, play make-up, lipstick and nail polish contain chemicals and lead that are harmful to kids and linked to hormone disruption and cancer. Instead try natural cosmetics. You can check the safety of your cosmetics at cosmeticsdatabase.com. Skip the colored hairspray, which contains harmful chemicals and fragrance that kids can easily breathe in. Wigs, hats or funny hairdos work too.
Rather than buying a cheap, synthetic costume, why not get one from a resale shop or borrow one from a friend? Return to simpler times and make one using items you already have. Those are the ones your child will remember. I have a vivid memory of being a ghost made from an old white sheet!
Synthetic facemasks and fake teeth are made from plastics and unlabeled materials. Putting plastic teeth in your mouth or breathing the chemicals from the plastic masks doesn't seem like a good idea for young developing bodies and can be harmful. Try making your own mask from a paper bag or use a half-face mask instead.
Traditional paraffin-based candles (made from petroleum by products) give off toxic compounds. Use fragrance-free ones made from soy or beeswax. Avoid plastic pumpkins and other cheap Halloween accessories. Fall gourds, pumpkins, corn stalks, and even leaves make beautiful natural decorations.
Kids look forward all year to Halloween candy, but there is a steady stream of holiday candy from Halloween through Valentine’s Day. Why not give out healthier granola bars, puffed rice squares, or bags of popcorn or pretzels? Whole Foods and Trader Joe's sell less sugary candy. With my kids I would “buy back” a portion of their Halloween candy and then let them buy a new toy with the money. (I always over paid them but it was worth it to limit the candy.) They actually loved spreading their candy out and deciding which to give back and which to keep. It became a math game too.
As with all holiday indulgences, moderation is the key.
Some information compiled from Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org.
For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.