Halloween is just around the corner and for many of us, this year Halloween will rime with green. If youâ€™re new to â€œgreenâ€, start small and pick only one of the following aspects of Halloween that you feel you can have fun with: costumes, decorations or treats. Little by little, your Halloween will truly be green and you will have a spooky, eek-o-friendly time!
In the (very recent) past, Halloween costumes and props have been found to contain lead, phthalates and cadmium, and until there is some sort of regulation, it is only logical to assume thatÂ some of this yearâ€™s costumes will be just as toxic. So stay away from PVC-made masks as they will probably contain phthalates. Also, avoid any props such as chains, necklaces, swords, etc that feel heavy: they most likely are made with lead. A potential environmental hazard, as well as a carcinogenic chemical element, cadmium is also present in many vinyl products, as a stabilizer.
You can make a spooky statement simply with a good make-up, but make sure to use water-based make-up. After the party is over, a few drops of pure jojoba oil will take it off better than any chemical-loaded make-up remover. If you are looking for eco-friendly costumes and props ideas and inspiration for your kids (or even adults), check out GreenHalloween.org. Make sure to use lead-free paint for any home-made project.
If you donâ€™t want to do it yourself, then head for the second-hand store: by re-using clothing and costumes, you help reduce the manufacturing of unnecessary clothes and all the chemicals and unsustainable fabrics linked to the process.
Donâ€™t be tempted by the seemingly inexpensive plastic decorations available in major retail stores: they cost a lot to the health of our planet. The most eek-o-friendly decoration you can get is a home-made jack-o-lantern: youâ€™ll need a pumpkin, a few carving tools and a tea-candle. Do it with a few friends and youâ€™ll all have a good time, too.
For quasi effortless decorations, go for a walk in the woods and pick up autumn-colored leaves (even California has deciduous trees!), as well as acorns. Display them on a nice plate or tray to decorate a table, or sew them loosely to create spooky shapes for your walls. Of course, plain white sheets covering tree branches make excellent green Halloween ghosts. No matter what your decoration ideas are, stick to simple, natural ones as much as possible.
These may not be traditional Halloween treats, but sweets such as honey sticks, organic fruit leather, organic lollipops and fair-trade organic chocolate are a healthier and more eco-responsible choice, as they are not loaded with high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and artificial colors and flavors.
Think little to no packaging, too, as much as feasible. If organizing a party at home, or participating in a potluck, home-made cookies are a good choice. Make sure to purchase cookie cutters made of stainless steel (not plastic). Go to GreenHalloween.orgÂ for more more ideas for healthy and eek-o-friendly treats.
You can also skip the sweets altogether and/or add non-food treats, such as pencils, soy crayons, or small toys. Just stay away from plastics and buy post-consumer recycled (and recyclable) products.
Last, but not least, if you go trick-or-treating, make sure the bags that will hold these treats are as eco-friendly as possible: check out reusablebags.com to find yours.
Happy Green Halloween Preparations!