I’ll be the first to admit that as soon as I feel that first whip of brisk fall air at the end of summer, I’m already counting down the days left until Halloween. Ever since I was a child, all things ghoulish and spooky were my cup of tea. It certainly didn’t hurt that Halloween is also notoriously known for candy corn and miniature-sized chocolate bars, either.
But as an adult, I’ve come to see that Halloween seems to be associated more with tricks and less with treats. From the PVC-ridden plastic face masks that line your local retail store to the gradual rise of childhood obesity over the last several generations, you may get spooked at the idea of Halloween — for all of the wrong reasons!
You can always maintain clean and natural practices that keep both you and your loved ones healthy — even on Halloween. Whether you’re planning a costume party or intend to spend the night giving out treats to trick-or-treaters, be sure to follow these simple tips and tricks to ensure that your Halloween activities are clean and safe for everyone involved.
1. Eat a Hearty Meal Before Trick-or-Treating
It’s no secret that kids love candy. But while this may be a well-known fact to parents and children alike, that doesn’t mean that your Halloween is destined to be full of disgruntled complaints of upset stomachs and trash cans full of empty wrappers.
If your Halloween plans consist of trick-or-treating — whether for yourself or your family — it’s essential to reduce the likelihood that you and your fellow trick-or-treaters will binge on too much candy afterward. Eat a hearty and healthy meal for dinner that includes foods known to reduce sugar cravings to reduce your appetite for sweets later on in the night .
When Halloween falls on a school night, it’s even more critical to ensure that the kids feel healthy and ready for class the following morning, too.
Speaking of trick-or-treating, walking from one house to the next is a huge part of the fun. It also just so happens that this evening stroll is a great workout for the entire family, too.
Try to see how many houses you can hit and make a goal to visit as many new neighbors this year as possible. Whenever possible, make a game out of it to see who can visit the most homes, too. Just remember to bring your reusable bottle of water along with you!
3. Create a (Mostly) Healthy Menu for Your Guests
Whether you’re throwing a party or hosting a get-together, you want to ensure that nobody leaves your house with an upset stomach or on a sugar high. But on a holiday known for sugar and candy, how you provide clean-eating treats that are both healthy and a crowd-pleaser?
Try preparing a few Halloween treats that don’t involve candy yet are also fun to eat . While you may have an easier time pleasing the adults who visit your house with fruits and veggies, your younger audience may be harder to satisfy. But when you turn healthy foods into fun and recognizable Halloween forms, you’ll have an easier time convincing the young ones that chocolate isn’t the only tasty treat.
Add a few chocolate chip “eyes” to bananas to form a healthy ghoul. Or, peel up a dozen oranges and put a small celery “stem” in your fruit to transform them into eye-catching pumpkin snacks. Regardless of how you decide to present your healthy menu selections, remember that you can still have fun while creating — and eating — these nutritious displays. And if candy abstinence is a hard no – a little won’t hurt. Remember not everything needs to be over the top kale & granola, moderation is key.
4. Offer Eco-Friendly and Green Treats
Not all candy is made equal. In fact, chocolate — a traditional Halloween favorite — has a not-so-sweet history attached to its production. In some instances, chocolate is produced by child laborers and farmers working in less-than-ideal conditions that consist of dangerous materials, hazardous industrial chemicals and hours of tireless work for a small compensation .
If you’re looking to go green this Halloween, consider offering eco-friendly treats that are crafted with positive labor practices instead . Or you can try being unique by providing your guests with a sustainable, non-candy item instead. If you still want to offer a snack, consider purchasing fair trade and organic sweets for your trick-or-treaters.
5. Pay Attention to Your Costume
When you walk down the costume aisle of your local party store, do you smell that strong scent of plastic that seems to fill the air around Halloween masks and attire? Halloween costumes — especially masks — are notorious for containing a host of different toxins. One of the worst offenders, perhaps, is PVC — a flexible plastic that can produce a host of adverse health effects on those who inhale or wear goods made with this material .
Concerning issues that are linked to these dangerous chemicals like PVC include respiratory problems, hormonal disruption, and even cancer. The best way to keep your family clean and safe this Halloween season is by ditching the plastic-ridden costumes and opting for outfits made of safer material alternatives instead.
Break out your sewing kit and try your hand at sewing to make a unique and original customer that’s not only PVC-free but unlike any other outfit, you’ll find lining your local department store. If you’re not feeling up to the task, the Internet is chock-full of organic cotton and sustainable fabric costumes that are great for both you and the earth, too.
While those cheap face paint products at your local dollar store may seem like a great complement to your clown outfit for this upcoming Halloween, you may want to think twice before you decide to put chemicals on your skin or face — especially if these makeup products contain questionable ingredients.
When you consider the fact that many everyday makeup and face paint products contain lead, a substance known for inducing a myriad of adverse effects, it becomes even more important to scrutinize your topical products with a close eye .
But that doesn’t mean you have to discount the idea of using makeup or face paints on Halloween altogether. After all, no alien outfit would be complete without a face full of green pigment. Luckily, the Internet is full of DIY recipes made from natural and safety-ensured ingredients . Consider browsing through a site like Pinterest to find the concoction that works best for you.
7. Get Thrifty
Last year, I was invited to a Halloween party last second — or the night before the party, to be exact. I wasn’t prepared for the upcoming festivities because I lacked a costume. I haven’t trick-or-treated in years, so my outfits from back in the day weren’t helpful. But I didn’t want to fork out the cash on a new wardrobe for the night, knowing that my money — and the materials used to make the costume — would go to waste shortly after the party was over. So, I went thrifting, of course!
Did you know that the average American throws away a whopping 70 pounds of clothes on average every year ? And when you consider the fact that Halloween costumes are typically only used once a year, these outfits have an even higher chance of ending up in a landfill when compared with our everyday outfits.
When you purchase your Halloween attire from a thrift store, your money not only goes to a good cause, but you also help to do your part in reducing unnecessary waste by repurposing an old outfit, too. Turn thrifting for your costume into an entire day excursion, hitting up all of your local thrift stores as you piece together your outfit.
8. Donate Old Supplies
When you’re shopping at the thrift store for yourself and get excited over the prospective ideas for outfits, remember to keep the excitement going for others by donating your old Halloween gear, too.
Whether you’ve outgrown your Dracula outfit or really don’t have the space for all of those pumpkin decorations you stocked up on at your local craft store, make sure that your old Halloween accessories end up at a thrift store — and not in your trashcan.
Consider donating any old decorations you have to a retirement home or shelter as well. Low-income programs are always in need of Halloween costumes and treats to give out, too. You’ll help find a new home for the items you no longer have a use for while putting a smile on someone else’s face and keeping the landfills a little bit cleaner in the process, too.
9. … Or Host a Swap!
Unless you’re fond of sporting your witch’s hat every Halloween, you may find it ideal to change up your costume whenever this holiday rolls around. You may even have an interest in switching up your decorations from time to time, too. Chances are, if you find that the fun of Halloween comes from exploring your decoration and costume options, your local neighbors and residents are likely to think the same, too.
Having a natural Halloween means being mindful of the resources you have available to you and ensuring that you don’t unnecessarily waste valuable products in the name of Halloween. But, that doesn’t mean you have to reuse the same old goods every year either.
That’s why hosting a swap meet is the perfect way to keep your Halloween accessories fresh and new. During the first week of October, consider designating a specific day for the swap where local community members can trade their Halloween decorations, costumes, and other accessories amongst themselves. Not only will you help your community save money, but you’ll also repurpose and find a new home for many useable outfits and goods, too.
As is the case with any other holiday, Halloween is known for producing a lot of trash. From the dozens of candy wrappers that pile up on your kitchen counter to the interior pumpkin pieces that make their way to your garbage disposal, Halloween activities and festivities create a fair amount of waste — to say the least.
But when you get crafty with your leftovers, you’re much more likely to reduce your ecological footprint on this celebratory night. If you decide to carve a jack-o-lantern, don’t throw out those leftover pumpkin chunks — make a delicious pumpkin treat or meal instead ! Candy wrappers can also be turned into a crafty project, such as a coin pouch or a friendship bracelet.
Also, those plastic bags you see some kids carrying on trick-or-treat night? They’re no match for the goodies your kids will collect. Give your kiddos bigger, more durable reusable bags to carry around in order to avoid the wasteful practice of throwing out plastic bags willy-nilly .
And if you find that you’ve collected a bit too much candy on Halloween night, don’t dump those unwanted chocolates in the trash. Donate your leftovers to your local shelter or nursing home to ensure that others get to enjoy the Halloween season just as much as you did, too.
Are You Ready to Enjoy a Healthy Halloween?
Halloween, like any other holiday, should be fun. But also recognize that you’re free to ditch some of this holiday’s long-established traditions for cleaner, more natural, practices instead.
When you make an effort to reduce the amount of waste, chemicals, and unhealthy substances we’ve begun to normalize as the standard, you’ll have an easier time pursuing a happy and healthy life.