Looking for ways to have a green & healthy Halloween? Just apply this equation:
3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) + 3Gs (good for people, good for planet, good for community) = a green and healthy Halloween!
When you consider each component of Halloween (treats, costumes, décor, etc.) through the screen of the 3R’s and 3G’s, it’s easy to give Halloween a healthy, sustainable makeover, while keeping all the F-U-N.
Let’s consider treats, for example…
Reduce: Like many American traditions, Halloween has become supersized. So we suggest handing out less (you’ll save money, too). Instead of giving handfuls (now the norm), place a selection in a bowl and invite kids to choose their favorite. Or reduce the amount you usually hand out by 25%. Every little bit helps.
You can reduce the amount of “goodies” your family consumes well. Try this trick-or-treating twist: When you arrive home with your young children after going door-to-door, allow them to select a few of their favorite treats, then tell them about the Halloween Fairy who uses candy to make her fairy dust. Put all the remaining candy in a basket and set it outside the door while they’re brushing their teeth. When they’re finished brushing and open the door, in the basket they’ll find a gift or two from the Fairy like a parent-approved book or toy.
Reuse: We are not suggesting reusing treats from the year before! (Although if you stock up on “treasures,” to hand out instead of treats, that’s another matter). But candy wrappers can be reused to make uber cool crafts. Check out these runway-worthy candy-wrapper accessories for inspiration. Or just grab some glue and let the kids make some post-Halloween abstract art!
Recycle: Candy (as scraps from your Halloween party, jack-o-lanterns and natural décor items) can be composted. So if you end up with more than you choose to keep (or the Halloween Fairy receives an over abundance), just unwrap and add to your compost bin.
Good for people: Are the treats you choose to hand out healthy? There are so many awesome choices today that are made with real food kids will love. Try organic Jammy Sammys or Yo Drops from Revolution Foods, mini Larabars or Endangered Species “Bug Bites.” Check out this list for dozens of think-outside-the-candy-box, good-for-kids ideas. Of course, choosing organic and Fair Trade means you are making a “good for people” choice for the farmers who grew the ingredients in the treats as well.
Good for the planet: Once again, organic comes into play of course. Chemicals used while growing edibles not only affects the kids who eat them, but also the Earth that provides. Consider ingredients that are farmed with the least environmental impact. Choosing less-waste packaging, locally produced or handmade treats and treasures, non-GMO goodies, and treasures made from natural materials as other “good for planet” options.
Good for communities: When treats we purchase have a “give-back” element, it’s a great thing not only because we feel good purchasing it, but because we are teaching our children to consider how our consumer choices can choices can benefit our communities. So look for brands that support 1% for the Planet or any other non-profit whose mission you are passionate about. (As a non-profit program of EcoMom Alliance, Green Halloween receives a portion of sales from Surf Sweets and Recycling Is Cool!)
Of course, you can apply the 3Rs and 3Gs to costumes, décor, party activities or any element of your holiday.
Remember, the 3Rs and 3Gs are an ideal. Perfection is not what matters here. See what choices resonate with you and which work best for your family. Then, add one or two 3R and 3G actions to your Halloween traditions each year.
And remember, children can get in on the greening too! Try planning a family meeting and list all the ways your family can celebrate a 3R & 3G Halloween. Then vote on your family’s top 10 and give ‘em a try! You might be surprised at how easily kids will get on board when you model enthusiasm and make the process fun.