Healthy and Green Halloween

When I was a kid, I was all about big ‘E’ environmentalism: saving the whales and other endangered species; planting a tree on Earth Day; and raising awareness about catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska or Chernobyl. At home, though, I would grumble about turning off lights when I left the room or sorting recycling…

Now that I’m older and wiser, I know it’s the tiny decisions we make every day that add up. Do I walk the five minutes to the grocery store? Do I unplug appliances and turn off lights when I’m not using them? Do I hoard paper, plastic and aluminum in my basement until I can find places that recycle them?

In North America, holidays tend to be pretty disposable and gluttonous. So this year, I’ve decided to focus on healthy and green options for Halloween. This is good for the kids around here (whose parents drive everywhere, leave their cars running when they’re not in them, and generally have a spare tire around their middles). it’s good for me (I don’t eat the leftover candy and I don’t spend as much on throw-away junk!), and it’s good for the planet.

In my search for healthier and greener Halloween options, I came across a couple of good websites: Green Halloween and Alberta Health Services’ Capital Health. Here are some of the best tips from these sites.

What you could hand out to trick-or-treaters:

  • Fun pencils, erasers, finger puppets, mini cookie cutters, stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Sugarless gum
  • Packets of trail mix, nuts, corn nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Granola bars
  • Bags of pretzels, popcorn, or Gold Fish
  • Fruit leathers
  • Individual packages of hot chocolate

When shopping, planning parties, etc keep the following in mind:

  • Is this people-friendly?

Look for Fair Trade goods and support local companies that pay fair wages and provide safe working conditions when at all possible.

  • Is this planet-friendly?

Look for things made from recycled products, that are made from sustainably-farmed products, and that contain as little packaging as possible.

  • Is this kid-healthy?

Look for items that are organic or pesticide-free, made from healthy and whole ingredients that won’t contribute to the raising levels of type-2 diabetes and childhood obesity.

And, of course, don’t forget to roast those pumpkin seeds when you carve your Jack-o’-lantern and compost it before the neighbourhood kids smash it to smithereens!!

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© 2011 Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. All Rights Reserved.