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How To Have A Healthy, Safe (And Green) Halloween

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Orange and Black have always been the designated colours of Halloween. That being said, I think it just might be time to add a new colour: GREEN!

Not only is green the colour of witches and ghouls, swamps, and slime, but more importantly, green signifies the importance of our responsibility to the environment and our health, even on Halloween.

Between all the apple pies, pumpkin spiced lattes, and Halloween treats, October is not only considered by many to be the best time of year, but also might be one of the sweetest, literally! While some indulgence during our holidays and community traditions is not a bad thing, neglecting our health, and the health of our environment, during these festivities can be downright scary.

So paint your pumpkin a terrifying shade of green this year and have a ghastly glance at my 4 tips on how to have a Green Halloween!

4 Tips On How To Have A Green Halloween

1. Scare Yourself Up A Costume

It's the one time of year when a kid can truly be whatever they want to be. Whether it's a scary goblin or witch, a superhero or princess, or magical fairy, dressing in a costume is an exciting part of Halloween, for the young and the young at heart.

There is no shortage of costumes to purchase in our local department or online. However, using your imagination to create your DIY Halloween costume not only engages you and your little one's imagination but can also help you be a little more green this Halloween.

You can also get some great costumes at your local Thrift or used clothing stores.

Anything and everything you can find in your home can be used to create your Halloween get-up with a little creativity and maybe a glue gun. An old sheet can be transformed into a spooky ghost, a hooded sweatshirt made into a cape for a superhero. Reusing old or discarded materials can breathe new life into those items that might have otherwise ended up in our landfills.

Add in some reflective tape to your costume to make sure cars and cyclists will easily be able to see you while you're out trick-or-treating at night.

And don't forget to recycle and donate your old costumes. Alternating costumes between siblings or friends can breathe new life into that pirate or princess outfit and help others be a little more green as well. And the bonus, I guarantee no one will have the same costume as your little one!

2. Make Up Your Make-Up:

While parabens, Dibutyl phthalates, and coal tar dyes may not mean much to you, as a Naturopathic Doctor these ingredients, which are often found in costume make-up and hair dyes, are the stuff of my Halloween Nightmares!

For some a Halloween costume would not be complete without make-up. After all, what would a zombie be without their gory green hue?

The problem is that many of the products on the market geared towards getting that perfect ghostly pale appearance are loaded with toxic ingredients. Costume make-up often contains artificial dyes, fragrances, waxes and oils which are absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream due to your skin's porous nature.

Try going without make-up this Halloween, or if your costume isn't quite right without it, make sure to get a product that contains fewer harmful chemicals or try your hand at one of the many different natural make-up recipes you can find online.

To know how green your health and beauty products are check out the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep page and read about greener solutions.

3. A Spooktacularly Green Scene

Do you remember that one house you and your friends had to work up the courage to go up to on Halloween? You know the one, with the front porch decorated with spooky skulls and spider webs, skeletons, and other ghastly decorations?

Nothing sets the mood for Halloween like some excellent decorations. But creating your own terrifying ambiance doesn't require a trip to the store. With a little ingenuity, you just might the spookiest house on your block!
  • Try making some lanterns out of old aluminum cans and candles and punching or drilling some holes into their surface to create a spooky face or scene.
  • Make a scarecrow to greet trick-or-treaters by filling old clothing with sheets or other fabrics. Don't forget the boots and the pumpkin head!
  • Use old newspapers, flour and water to papier-mâché scary skulls and ghosts.
For more ideas, see tons of DIY Halloween Decorations on Pinterest.

4. The Big Candy Trade

Don't worry, I'm not about to tell you to take all the chocolate, suckers, chips, and other sugary sticky treats out of Halloween. But being green means not only being environmentally conscious, but also making green decisions about our family's health!

The World Health Organization recommends that we restrict the amount of sugar we eat and drink to 10 per cent or less of our daily calories. However, according to Statistics Canada, Canadians consume 110 grams of sugar a day, the equivalent of 26 teaspoons, amounting to 21.7% of the total daily calorie intake (1). Double the recommendation!

From juices to granola bars, cereals and other snacks, kids' diets are loaded with an abundance of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. In fact, all the sugar in your little one's loot bag may be the scariest thing this Halloween!

Did you know that too much sugar in one's diet is not only linked to obesity, diabetes, and dental carries, but also cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and possibly linked to pancreatic cancer (2, 3, 4)?

Ensuring our little treat-or-treaters have a healthy diet is integral to their long term health. Limiting, or swapping out, Halloween treats may be the best way for you and your family to be healthier, and a little greener this year.
  • Instead of handing out candy try stickers, pencils, colouring books, crayons, whistles, and puzzles. Bonus if your choice includes an item made of recyclable material and can be used multiple times. Remember, items with small parts may not be appropriate for all trick-or-treaters.
  • Have healthy snacks and treats to toss in loot bags including:
    • Dried fruit
    • Ginger candies
    • Nut-free granola
    • Rice crackers
    • Seaweed snacks
    • Natural fruit gummies
  • While nuts are often a healthy snack for kids, for those with an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts and tree nuts, this option poses a serious risk. Go with nut-free choices to make sure all kids are included in the Halloween fun.
  • Have your child trade in their Halloween candy for one big or several smaller prizes. The biggest prize will be knowing that you're making the greenest decision for their health, both now and for all the Halloweens to come!
  • Choose from a huge list of Hypo-Allergenic treats to ensure your family is healthy and safe this Halloween:
    • Grain: rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, arrowroot, mochi
    • All dried beans, peas, lentils
    • Safer nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, sesame (tahini), sunflower, pumpkin
    • Milk substitutes: rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk
    • Baked or dehydrated vegetables and fruit, natural juices
    • Best to avoid sweeteners but if necessary: cane juice, brown rice syrup, molasses, stevia

So let's keep the orange and the black this Halloween, as it wouldn't be the same without these traditional colours. But I say, let's add one more colour, green, to our classic pair, to make Halloween both spooky and healthy for our planet and our littlest ghouls.

I hope you have a fun and green Halloween! To get more GREEN ideas make sure to check out my brand new "A Very Green Halloween" children's book full of lots of Hypo-Allergenic ideas to have a safe and healthy Halloween.

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