Credit:  Live Green Magazine

Credit: Live Green Magazine

As we are approaching the annual celebration of Halloween, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about ways to make sure your festivities are fun, safe and green for both children and adults.

We remind you here of the importance of making sure any costumes you select are safe.  When selecting costumes and accessories, particularly masks, avoid products that contain lead.  Many of the products made in China contain toxic material, and the best way to avoid contamination is to purchase costumes made in America or to make costumes at home.  Face paint also is a concern as these products often contain lead and heavy metals that can be toxic and often cause allergic reactions.

If you are decorating at home, pay special attention to lighting.  Remember that tea lights placed in bags along paths are particularly dangerous to trick-or-treaters.  LED lights are a better choice.  Also, the autumn with its bounty of pumpkins presents a great opportunity to make natural decorations.   Combinations of carved pumpkins with scary faces, bales of hay and ghosts made with sheets make intriguing scenes for Halloween revelers, and the pumpkins and hay bales transition easily into Thanksgiving decorations.  Additionally, the pumpkins seeds can be saved and roasted for an enjoyable treat.

As you plan your evening of trick-or-treating, here are some ideas to take Halloween to the next level:

  • Have a family dinner before heading out.  This likely will discourage snacking on candy along the trick-or-treat route.
  • Reinforce the rule that all treats need to be inspected for safety by parents prior to consumption.
  • Consider trading candy for gifts, such as puzzles or Legos.
  • Take candy to work to get it out of the house.  Your fellow workers will enjoy it.

Finally, for a new idea this year, consider reverse trick-or-treating.  Give a treat to the houses you visit with your children.  Note that this treat has a twist.  Collect small fair trade gifts.  Possibilities include fair trade coffee divided into single serve units, individual chocolate bars, teabags, or decorator soaps made from natural ingredients.  Wrap these articles in Halloween decorations (made from recycled paper) and give the gifts with a note (see below) explaining the concept of reverse treat-or-treating:

The act of knocking on people’s doors on Halloween and giving each house a little fair trade, organic treat instead of taking the conventional stuff that isn’t fair trade to any of us.  We hope to see you at our door next year.[1]

In light of the many accounts we hear about random acts of kindness and paying it forward, imagine the good feeling you will spread among your friends and neighbors, not to mention the pride your children will feel, for using the opportunity to trick-or-treat to start a movement that empowers us all to live green, be green.

_________________

Sources for this article:

[1]  Pic.twitter.com/jxi5MXVMG9 #Green Halloween.
[2] http://greenhalloween.org/blog/

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