Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have a Green Halloween!


This year Vivian is going to be dressing up for Halloween as a ladybug.  And I didn't have to spend anything on her costume, since I picked up at last year's Green Halloween costume swap! If you haven't got a costume for your kids yet, or if your closet is still full of old costumes, you should consider participating in National Costume Swap Day, this Saturday, October 8th.  National Costume Swap Day is just one event that's run by Green Halloween.

Last week I had the opportunity to learn more about the Green Halloween movement and I also got some simple tips to make my kids Halloweens "greener".  Green Halloween was started by a Seattle mom (hurray for Seattle moms!) who had a great idea while trick-or-treating with her kids. Here's her story, from the Green Halloween website:
In 2006, I took my six-year-old princess and two-year-old fairy (I know…) trick-or-treating. While most of the neighborhood handed out the requisite Tootsie Rolls and M ‘n M’s , a few homes placed non-candy treats like bubbles and stickers in my girls’ pumpkins. I was so thrilled that someone thought outside the candy-box, that while shouting, “Thank You!” at the top of my lungs, I made a note to myself to remember to trick-or-treat at these homes the following year. But after winding through several streets in the dark, I had already forgotten which homes were candy-free. I mentioned to a nearby parent, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a sign you could place on your door or window that notified trick-or-treaters that their upcoming treat would be healthy?” This way, parents could seek out those homes and turn trick-or-treating into a scavenger hunt – a hunt for treasures rather than treats.

I began thinking about Halloween as a whole and about how it is hard to find treats that are kid healthy. Some parents I know spend weeks researching where to find affordable, kid-friendly, and for some, Earth-friendly treats. But most parents don’t have the time, inclination or money to seek out alternatives to conventional candy. They may not like offering traditional candy, but what other options do they have? Wouldn’t it be terrific if affordable, kid and Earth-healthy treats and treasures were available everywhere?

What began as a conversation with my local Whole Foods Market store (in Bellevue, Washington) quickly turned into a movement with other organizations and businesses wanting to take part in making Halloween healthier and safer for our children and for the environment. Within weeks, Overlake Hospital and ParentMap Magazine joined Whole Foods Market and me. Parents from all over the Puget Sound began contacting me to find out how they could bring Green Halloween to their neighborhoods. Merchandisers began asking if they could put the Green Halloween logo on their items and even better, everyone involved has said, “Yes!” to helping a local non-profit partner, Treeswing, by donating money to their cause: improving the heath of children through nutrition and exercise.
I love this idea of recycling and reusing and thinking outside the candy bowl for Halloween treats and costumes. Earth-friendly and healthier for my kids too! Green Halloween has lots of tips and resources on the website, everything from costumes to make-it-yourself face paint to ideas for what to give out in place of candy.  The site is a great resource for parents, kids and schools. To get you started, here is some information that Green Halloween sent me, a list of 10 easy steps to making your Halloween "Eek-o-friendly".
1. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute shopping which often limits your choices
2. When it comes to costumes and decor- reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do-it-yourself.
3. Treat bags can be anything! For extra fun, match the bag to the costume using something you already own. Here are some ideas: purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks, lunch boxes.
4. Choose healthier treats. Take baby steps with organic candy and honey sticks, two child-favored choices. (Honey is not for children under two years of age).
5. Choose fun treasures instead of conventional sweets. This of the treasures your child collects in her pockets- pretty rocks, coins, etc.
6. If you're giving a party, avoid disposables including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other decor.
7. Walk from house to house instead of driving.
8. Compost pumpkins and any other food, including leftover candy. 
9. Collect candy wrappers and help your kids turn them into gift items like purses, bracelets and picture frames. Find directions on the internet.
10. Avoid purchasing any treats made with palm oil.
One type of treat that you might want to consider is treats from Stretch Island Fruit. My kids and I think they're really yummy. You can get either All Natural Original Fruit Strips in a variety of flavors, or Fruitabu products. The Fruit Strips have a 1/2 serving of fruit each, are 100% natural with no artificial additives and no added sugar. The Fruitabu Smoooshed Fruit Rolls have 1 serving of all-natural fruit, no artificial additives and no added sugar. My kids are especially fond of the fruit rolls- they love unrolling them and eating them. They're a favorite afternoon snack in our home!

Happy (Green!) Halloween!

Disclosure: I received a reusable Halloween bag as well as some Stretch Island Fruit goodies as thanks for my time in attending the webinar and posting. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.

1 comments:

Ecogreen said...

Really enjoyed reading your post. We are doing a similar thing over at Purchase.ie. We suggested a few tips and are offering some eco prizes for additional feedback from other posters. Check it out at http://purchase.ie/competitions/ecohalloweentips/