7 Sweet Ideas for an Eek-O Conscious Halloween

~ By Tangee Veloso-Pueblos

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for me and my husband.  Of course having a child has made it even better.  What with all the cute and creative costumes that my ever-so-talented husband makes for our son.  And since I’m the ever-so-conscious mama, I’m always looking for ways to make Halloween fun even without all of the artificial sugar and waste!

Ok so perhaps our house may very well be the #1 disliked house that never gives candy away but heck the kids get enough sweets from everyone else, right?!  Plus, we still don’t give our almost 4 year old son candy so it’d be hard to explain to him why we’re giving it out to all the other kids but him.  And even though he never really gets tempted by candy, I’m not about to experiment with that concept just yet!

Just so you know, it’s not like our son has never seen candy before!  As a matter of fact, there was one time during an Easter egg hunt, when he was opening up the eggs to see what was inside, his exact words were “Oh, candy.  I don’t eat candy” and then gave it away to the other kids.  I was shocked and quite ecstatic that he didn’t try to eat it.  The funny part is when he came to the eggs that had money in them that’s when he got excited (smart kid)!  Yes, I know things will most likely change as he gets older and may very well swallow candy whole when that time comes but for now I’m going to enjoy the fact that he doesn’t care for it!

Not only was it easier to make the decision again this year to not hand out candy but it just felt good giving the trick-or-treaters a more conscious option that they could still enjoy.

So the question is, if you’re not giving away candy, then what can you give away that isn’t going to just be another cheap plastic toy forgotten and thrown into the landfill the next day?

If you’re like me and want to hand out something other than artificially-flavored, corn fructose injected sweets or cheap thrills – here are a couple of ideas that you can do instead:

1. Stick it to ‘em!

Kids love stickers!  And they love to decorate their things with them.  Even middle-schoolers like decorating their lockers and notebooks with them.

I was originally going to include the suggestion of giving away temporary tattoos as an option but as I started doing research on it, a good point made by Jennifer Taggart of the Smart Mama mentioned that “…many decal temporary tattoos are printed on a polyvinyl film, and usually the end user doesn’t know what is in that film.  Some are a PVC film, and may have hormone disrupting phthalates.”

Hmmm…that definitely does not sound sweet to me because anything you put on your skin is similar to ingesting it through your mouth so I’ll just stick to the stickers with this one!

2. Pencil it in…

Last year, we gave away a variety of colored pencils and Halloween-inspired erasers and it was actually a hit for most of the kids that came by.  One girl got really excited and said “School supplies!”   Okay, so maybe not everyone will be as enthusiastic about it as she was but it’s still another great alternative to sweets.

Now for the older kids/teens, stickers and school supplies are probably not going to cut it.  And to avoid your house getting teepee’d or egg’d, it might be a good idea to purchase some chocolates.  BUT word of advice:

3. Support Fair Trade!

We all know chocolate’s main ingredient is cocoa and for the vast majority (about 80%) of it is grown in West Africa.  Unfortunately, big corporations (ahem…M&M’s/Mars and Nestle just to name a few) do not use ethical standards.  When I found out that as many as 300,000 children on these farmlands are trafficked and coerced to handle dangerous pesticides and work over 100 hours a week, I was saddened to think that the candy that most people are handing out on Halloween to children is supporting an unjust/unethical system to children in other parts of the world.  Most of these children have never even tasted chocolate before!

So before you reach for the cheap bag of Snickers, look for chocolates that say Fair Trade (which can be found in most health food stores).  They may be a little bit more on the pricey side but it is worth it knowing that you’re supporting a company that employs the field workers with fair labor wages (vs. enslaving them).  And when you purchase from a fair trade company, it enables the field workers to provide for their families and helps keep their children in school instead of the fields!

Besides what you hand out to the little ones, there are also some other fantastic ways to make your Halloween an eek-o friendly holiday:

5. Host a costume swap.

Instead of buying yet another Halloween costume made out of cheap materials only to put it in the pile of costumes that you and/or your child will never wear again, how about organizing a costume swap party with your friends and neighbors?!  What a great way to recycle costumes and find new ones without having to spend money!

6. Skip the plastic pumpkin.

You know the traditional orange plastic containers that have been around for decades?  Well skip it this year and go for a reusable bag or even an old pillowcase.  The plastic pumpkins are…well made out of plastic and the handles tend to break easily and aren’t the most comfortable to hold while trick or treatin’.  So avoid buying one and instead have an arts and crafts day with your kiddos and decorate an old pillowcase.

Or how about supporting an eco-friendly company called Chico Bag and buy one of their adorable Halloween-themed reusable bags that are environmentally friendly?!  Another great place to support WAHMs (Work-at-Home-Moms) is my all-time favorite online store, Etsy.  And one of my favorite shops is the Little Birds Boutique.  Check out her cute sack bag and other Halloween-themed decorations that you can buy and reuse every year.

7. Repurpose the candy wrappers.

Every Halloween can become one of our planet’s most dreaded holidays as billions of waste usually ends up in landfills.  But with conscious companies like Terra Cycle, there is some relief.  This awesome organization collects hard-to-recycle items and turns them into affordable green products!  Their Candy Wrapper Brigade requires you to at least have about 100 candy wrappers before sending them in so perhaps tell your family, friends and neighbors about this company and ask them instead of throwing away their wrappers to join the brigade with you.  The extra bonus besides putting less of a carbon footprint is that Terra Cycle will send you a check to give to a charity of your choice!  Talk about giving back and paying it forward!

So there you have it – 7 ways to make this year’s Halloween more of a thriller!   When you start to take the time to find ways to become more eek-o conscious, you’ll find it easier to sleep when things go bump in the night…

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