Thursday, October 9, 2008

HOLIDAY TIPS: Eco-Friendly Halloween Ideas

Here's a list of some practical things you can do to make your Halloween more eco-friendly:
  • Buy organic treats -- you will still have the individual packaging for safety reasons but at least you'll spend your money on something better for the earth and for children. Go organic. Ideas include individual bags of organic microwave popcorn, organic lollipops, organic snack bars, organic fruit rolls, small bites of organic chocolate, organic individually packaged beverages. You can type into Google any of these keywords and come up with brands and online vendors. Your grocery store may carry some of these items, at least the snack bars and popcorn. And Whole Foods is likely to have a selection of options.

  • Buy paper-wrapped treats -- If you're not going organic, look for treats that are individually wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Taffy is often wrapped in paper. Also, some gummy snacks are also found wrapped in paper. I found Milk Duds sold in bulk in individual paper boxes.

  • Buy alternative treats -- instead of food, you can look into giving out alternatives to sugary treats. Look for options that steer you away from plastic if at all possible or at least give the child something that will last. I've seen toothbrushes given out, but it's a toss up to know if that's cost effective or even popular with kids. Any little toy made of wood and painted non-toxic is a go, but might be expensive. But maybe you could be more creative -- what about giving out a quarter? a $1.00 gift certificate to McDonalds? (it pays for an ice cream) a miniature magnifying glass? (will last a while because all kids like to explore and is sold in bulk at ) Halloween-themed stickers? (you can cut up a sticker sheet into 4 or 5 pieces) trading cards? (go to your local comic book store and ask what are the hottest trading cards for kids; buy a couple boxes and hand out a card to each kid as the treat) Literally, think outside the box.

  • Use a reusable goodie bag -- instead of purchasing a plastic Halloween treat bag, have your child use a reusable bag. A pillowcase works great. But a canvas bag of any kind is also a great choice.

  • Choose low-impact costumes -- nearly every child wants to look cool on Halloween. More eco-friendly costume choices are ... going to the second-hand store to buy a used costume or pieces of clothing that can be morphed into a creative costume. If you buy a ready-made costume from the store then ideally your child would get more than one use out of it; when my son was very young he was into Power Rangers and wore his Power Rangers Halloween costume for months on end after Halloween (good thing he doesn't ready this blog!) as a part of creative play. You can also rent costumes. And you can make your own costume from clothes and materials you already have at home, perhaps only purchasing

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