Let Healthy, Green Living Keep Your Child’s Halloween Magical
Let’s be honest: there are parts of the year that make eating healthy and staying green a little more difficult for a lot of families. Fall may bring beautiful weather and explosions of color, but it also brings holidays built around unhealthy eating habits and increased consumerism of mass produced, non-sustainable plastics. This presents a traditional parents’ dilemma: how to keep your kids healthy and mind your carbon footprint while making sure your kids have fun and leave the holiday season with a treasure of cherished memories. Between the candy and the costumes, Halloween can be as much of a trick as a treat.
First things first — all that candy. The ceremonial candy binge can have serious consequences for your kids. There are a couple of ways to head off the upset stomach and dentist bills. Keep healthy Halloween-themed snacks at home, like clementines with jack-o-lantern faces drawn on the peel, pretzel broomsticks and roast pumpkin seeds. Set up a candy budget with your kids, letting them know when and how many pieces of Halloween candy they can have a day. Arrange a trade-in system, wherein your kids turn in some of their candy for a toy or an outing. Donate your candy at a buyback program to help the troops and get a free toothbrush, or a children’s hospital.
If you’re not thrilled about the idea of handing out candy, little toys can still make you the hit of the neighborhood. Depending on your budget you can give out anything from bubbles, crayons, and temporary tattoos to Lego blind packs or books. Added bonus? Make your home friendly to kids with allergies or dietary restrictions. If you still want to give out candy but don’t like all the traditional options, you can go for organic candy or choose companies that donate to charities.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
There’s so much consumerism associated with Halloween. The costumes can be a wreck of plastics and cheap fabrics. Use what you’ve got around the house; closet cosplay can be fun and creative. Hit up a thrift store and save money. Organize a costume swap at your child’s school — make use of all of those outgrown costumes.
Decorating your home can be a family bonding activity. Hit up a pumpkin patch? Carve or decorate pumpkins together. Bonuses to pumpkin carving include roasting pumpkin seeds and tossing that old pumpkin in your compost patch on November 1st. Use lights in your decorations? Make them LEDs to cut down on your energy consumption. Upcycle (or downcycle, if you’re going for a spookier look) unused household items.
Make it about nature
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the candy and costumes.. Whether you live in Austin or Milwauke you can find something local that’s family-friendly and nature-centered. Nature also offers a wealth of early learning activities, like exploring the senses, identifying shapes and colors, or lessons on the life cycle of plants.
When it comes to the big day, walk, don’t drive. Get in some exercise, mingle with the community. Let your kids play!
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.