Halloween is a fun holiday for children and adults, and with just a little over a week left before the big day, many people have shifted into high gear to make the celebration festive.  It is important to be green conscious with Halloween plans so that we protect the environment and stay safe.  Here are a few tips to have a healthy and happy Halloween:

  • Make sure any store-bought costumes and makeup are safe.  Many of the costumes, masks and ornaments on the market, particularly those manufactured in China, contain some levels of lead.  Several new reports out this week noted the seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of shipments of pirate costumes with lead in ornamentation, masks and props, such as swords.  The best way to avoid lead contamination in products is to buy costumes made in America or to make costumes at home.  I think it is important to note that store-bought costumes are permitted to have some levels of lead, but I feel that avoidance of this toxic substance altogether is the safest route to take.  The same is true for face paint.  These products often contain lead and other heavy metals and can be toxic, causing allergic reactions.  Make sure your face paint is organic.  The healthiest alternative is to avoid face paint altogether if you are unsure of the ingredients, or go to the website, Big Green Purse Blog at http://blog.biggreenpurse.com/biggreenpurse/2009/10/make-your-own-green-halloween-face-paint-.html to get reliable information on safe face painting.
  • Be careful about lighting.  While tea light candles in decorator bags lining a pathway are scenic, they pose a danger to trick-or-treaters.  Instead, try LED lights, which are safe for the kids and the environment.
  • Swap or donate costumes.  Once Halloween is over, consider swapping out used costumes with friends, or neighbors.  An alternative is to donate used costumes and props to local theater groups.
  • Try natural decorations.  While the plastic pumpkins and ghosts may seem like a bargain, they are not good for the environment.  This year try natural decorations with real pumpkins, bales of straw and corn husks.  As a bonus, these decorations can double for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Some clever fall decorating ideas can be found on Pinterest.  Remember to save the pumpkin seeds to eat later after carving pumpkins.  Roasted pumpkins make a delicious and healthy snack.

These are just a few tips for an environmentally healthy and happy Halloween.  Let’s put green into our orange and black celebration so that everyday we live green, be green.

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