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Black, Orange & GREEN: The Primary Colors of Halloween

Remember the ‘cool house’ that gave out full-size candy bars on Hallow’s Eve? I do, and once I got married I was determined to be “that house.” My husband thought it was ridiculous we were spending so much money on Trick-or-Treaters, but I hit up Costco and rationalized it was only one time a year.

Fast forward a few years later. Now I’ve got my own little one (see our own version of “The Great Pumpkin” to your right), and for the most part we kept him candy-free until he turned two.  So how did I justify dolling out double serving sizes of chocolate covered goodness to other people’s children, when I was trying to teach my little one that raisins and fruit leather were a special treat?

Last year I thought I had found a decent compromise – candy bars and organic vegan fruit & nut bars that were packaged so delightfully, I think a few of the kiddos took them just based on looks. Not sure what happened to the bird-food after they got home to verify their spoils and discovered my mischievousness.

But this year I’m looking for something different, especially when you consider:

  • This generation of kids has a life expectancy that is shorter than their parents.
  • The EPA considers that 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides found in non-organically grown foods are carcinogenic.
  • Over 6,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the processed-food industry.
  • A 2004 study found that children’s behavior measurably improved after a one week diet without preservatives and artificial colors and dramatically worsened on the weeks they were given preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Coco beans used for chocolate that are grown in full sun (as opposed to shade) are susceptible to disease and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • The chocolate industry has engaged in the use of child slaves and other unethical treatments of growers.
  • Store-bought costumes, makeup and accessories may contain phthalates, cadmium, lead and other toxins.

-From “Green Halloween FAQ’s

So I’ve been trying to find ways to make this year a less sugar crazed, more eco-friendly day (and month) of festivities. Fortunately I found it at Green Halloween – “a non-profit, grassroots community initiative to create healthier and more Earth-friendly holidays, starting with Halloween.” There are loads of ideas for making the holiday greener: from costume swaps and crafts, to ideas for neighborhood parties and ideas for ‘trick-or-treaters’ (yes,they mention tooth-brushes).

So in my search to still be a Cool Kid, I’m asking for your help, and offering up this month’s challenge. I’m not planning on overhauling our entire Halloween this year, but I do think a step in the right direction for our family starts at our doorstep. So what creative & GREEN treat ideas do you have for the little witches, ghosts and ghouls that visit us on the 31st?

**And if I may be so bold as to offer a “ps” since I won’t be seeing you until next month: It’s a good time to start thinking about, locating and ordering your heritage or locally raised turkeys for Thanksgiving!**



    Just wanted to update ya’ll on what was decided at the Mangum Casa for our hallowen Treats.
    Armed with your suggestions I hit up Costco in search of the play-dough, but apparently they didn’t get any in…and finally settled on Stretch Island Fruit leather, glow sticks (not super green as they’re made in China, but at least we weren’t contributing to tooth decay), and a plethora of crisp, cold red and green apples we had picked earlier in the week at a friends farm. (I was surprised how many kids opted for the apples and just ate them as they stepped off the porch.)

  2. Please don’t throw out unwanted candy….talk about a waste of money and resources! Donate it to a local food bank or find a dentist in your area that offers a candy exchange. Sometimes they will pay kids in money or toys in exchange per pound of goodies.

  3. I’ve done glow sticks, whistles, balls, pencils, play doh, dracula teeth, rings, think Oriental Trading–you can get a bunch of stuff in Halloween Colors. The kids get excited to see what comes out of our house. :)

  4. I personally love glow sticks, but I am guessing they are not very eco-friendly. I’ve done Halloween stickers (bought on clearance the year before). My Mother-in-law always does caramel popcorn balls for people that she knows. Right now I am living in Poland and I am really enjoying the that there is no halloween. We can just have our own party and do everything on our own terms.

  5. A few years ago we started handing out small comic books. I can’t remember the name of the company that we ordered from, but we ended up with a box of about 200 for under $20. There were four different comics in the box so you weren’t giving a tween something a much smaller kiddo would enjoy. My own kids have enjoyed the reactions of the other kids that they would prefer to stay home and hand out the comics than do the actual Trick-or-Treating.

  6. One year we ended up with about one hundred tiny pumpkins in our garden, and I gave those out to some very surprised but happy trick-or-treaters! I meant to continue the tradition this year, but the seeds we planted grew into strange warty gourds instead! Rude!

  7. Suiter….you know me, I’m
    Not to fashion forward when it comes to living green, but I do hate all the candy! I gave glow sticks one year, which was great & most kids don’t mind it. I always have a “bigger, cooler” treat for my besties. There’s always pencils, or googly eyeballs from target. OR… Just give in and enjoy the craziness that is this sugar-filled holiday & go for the gold!

    PS-I pour all my kids’ candy into one bowl & they get a couple pieces a day for about a week & then I toss it all! Love ya!

  8. I mix in healthier choices like pretzels, yummy earth lollipops, organic gummy snacks, and play dough into my candy bucket. That way the kids have a healthy choice, if they want to choose it. Plus the toddlers can pick something that their parents will actually let them eat/play with. And worse case, if the healthy stuff is picked over, I don’t mind letting my kids eating it later.

  9. One other thought: you could try looking into treats from other countries like Cadbury. I’m not sure it’s any greener persay, but they may have different standards on what goes into candy and are less likely to be made with HFCS (though I think Cadbury products we get in the US are produced separately FOR the US so probably not.) If you ordered Cadbury Halloween treats from an online source you might have better luck with safe ingredients (since we really only get Easter candy) or I know Australia has a ton of popular candy treats that we’ve never seen here, which MAY have better ingredients. Again, not really greener since you’d be dealing with global shipping, but what’s inside may be less toxic.

  10. A couple thoughts… first don’t be a kill-joy on my favorite holiday. :-)I The junk load of this single day is NOT the problem, and you won’t change any child’s eating habits by giving out weird “treats.”At Second, if you REALLY feel you must avoid the combined evils of Hershey and Nestle (Nestle owns something like 95%the of food products sold in grocery stores, so not just Crunch bars) try giving out a small toy or puzzle instead. The play-do is a great idea (but don’t be too shocked to find it smeared s
    on your windows by pre-teens hoping for Resees cups), just make sure whatever you pick it’s something fun. And this probably goes without saying, but stay away from home-made food unless you know all the kids in your neighborhood really well (and their parents know you) The more delicious looking the treat, the more depressing when they have to throw it out!

  11. We just bought a big bag of little play-do containers at our local wholesale club to give out on Halloween. The bag came with 80 mini size containers of play-do and it was $9.99. A little more than I would have spent on candy, but worth it to me.
    I am so excited to give out something other than candy, especially since one of my sons has food allergies and can’t eat most candy he gets.
    My kids thought it was a great idea and can’t wait to help give them out.

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