Monday, October 25, 2010

The Top Ten Ways to Green your Halloween

Taking a few small steps to a ghoulishly greener, healthier Halloween can be easy - and make a difference. Avoid toxins, sugars and you're well on your way.

Here are ten do-able ways to green your Halloween:

1. Avoid toxic, lead-laden face paint – In its 'Pretty Scary' report on heavy metals in face paints, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 10 out of 10 face paints tested contained lead - a neurotoxin. Instead of gravitating towards a cheap pack of face paint/make up from the dollar store - that may or may not work - invest in a set of quality non-toxic, lead-free face paints that will last and not harm you or your child. Another option is to wear a mask.

2. Swap a costume – Rather than spending money on an off the rack costume, why not swap one with friends or family members? It not only saves money but is a great way to show kids how to reuse, especially as they seem to outgrow a costume a year.

3. Make your own original – Another costume option instead of buying one is to get creative and make it with things you already have around the house. You'll not only enjoy the satisfaction of creating something yourself, but you're guaranteed not to see someone else wearing your costume! If you're stuck for ideas, here are some great homemade costume ideas and some innovative group Halloween costume ideas.

4. Deviate from disposable decorations – Avoid buying throwaway paper decorations that once taken down on November 1st will be destined for the bin. There are lots of different options out there, including non-toxic window crayons that are not only easy to remove, but can also be used at Christmas, Easter, on the bathroom mirror - anytime you want to write on a window or mirror! Autumn leaves and twigs also add an element of spookiness to any Halloween decorating.

5. Switch up for less sugar – Why not try handing out healthier treats with less sugar and additives than the average rocket or chocolate bar? Look for fruit bars, apple crisps - or other more candy-like treats sweetened with fruit juices, etc. Shops like Whole Foods have a great selection of organic treats.

6. Alternative treats – Try handing out something entirely different this year - something that lasts a little longer than the time it takes to melt in your mouth. Why not give out a recycled newspaper pencil or a recycled star crayon? Something kids can actually use will not only be appreciated by them, but their parents too.

7. Reduce treat consumption – While loads and loads of treats may be collected - especially by older kids - there's no need for your child to consume them all. Why not suggest giving half away to charity or perhaps to children in hospital who couldn't go out trick or treating? Some schools gather excess treats to give to others less fortunate as do some community groups.

8. Reuse candy wrappers for crafts – Encourage kids to collect the wrappers from their treats rather than simply throw them away. Get creative and use them for crafts - cover a 'treasure' box, the front of a notebook, make a collage picture, even a candy wrapper bracelet - the possibilities are endless.

9. Reuse your pumpkin – Don't just throw away your pumpkin after the 31st, reuse it. Yes, there's the traditional pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin loaf, but what about a pumpkin facial? Pumpkin candles? A pumpkin air freshener. Here are some great things to make with pumpkin.

10. Get outside and enjoy the season – Take the kids to the pumpkin patch, visit a farm, go for a walk under falling leaves, collect chestnuts or simply rake leaves in the yard - whatever you do, enjoy!

For more Halloween suggestions, check out our Green Halloween Ideas page and our collection of Halloween Eco Products to help make this holiday ghoulishly greener.

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