Every year, toxic ingredients pop up in holiday decor… and Halloween is no different. Exposure to chemicals found in vinyl costumes, masks, candy, and decorations have been linked to behavioral problems, hormonal issues, obesity and even cancer. At the present time, regulations are not put in place to protect us or our children from many of these health-altering toxins, but the good news is, as consumers, we can choose safer alternatives for both our families and world.
In this guide, we will touch on the following topics:
- Eco-Friendly Costume + Face Paint Ideas
- Candy-Free Treat Ideas
- Organic Halloween Candy
- Pumpkin Carving & Decorating Tips
- Switch Witch Idea + Where to Donate Leftover Candy
- What to Avoid
Eco-Conscious Costume + Safe Face Painting Ideas
COSTUMES | Year after year, millions of costumes are mass produced for the sole purpose of being worn for just one day! In 2020, approximately $2.6 billion U.S. dollars were spent on Halloween costumes alone. These cheaply made costumes are often made from polyester with plastic accessories and components that break easily. Talk about ‘fast fashion’! The good news is, there are ways to have a more sustainable Halloween.
Here are a few Eco-Conscious Costume Ideas that come to mind:
- Make your own costumes using old clothing, sheets, cardboard boxes, and other households goods! Primary.com has hundreds of easy DIY costumes for kiddos!
- Borrow from a friend or neighbor.
- Rent from a costume shop.
- Browse a thrift store online or in-person. Poshmark, the Facebook Marketplace and Buy Nothing groups are great places to start.
- Purchase cute hand-made options from Etsy if you aren’t ready to channel your inner creative genius.
- Purchase a safer costume option. If you’re looking to purchase an eco-friendly costume this year, you’ll want to consider the following brands: Hanna Andersson, Monica & Andy , Sarah’s Silks, and Magic Cabin.
- Sustainable Trick-or-Treat Bag. Pull out the pillow cases or purchase a cute, reusable cotton treat bag for your kiddos this year and avoid sending another plastic Halloween bag to the landfill!
FACE PAINT | Traditional makeup and face paint are often full of some not-so-great ingredients. Ingredients like phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, lead, and other heavy metals pose a significant health risk to us, our children, and our Earth AND can be found in both face paints and everyday cosmetics. Since the FDA does not require the testing of cosmetic products or ingredients prior to them appearing on store shelves, we must be conscious consumers and choose products that are safe for our families.
Here are a few safe Face Painting Ideas to try this year:
- Go Green Face Paint is an organic face paint, made in the USA, and tested by Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama. Learn more about her scientific-based testing here.
- Earth Paint and Elegant Minerals are two other face paint brands that are made in the USA and use natural pigments.
- Piggy Paint is a great toxin-free nail polish option for little ones.
- Clean, non-toxic makeup of your own can be used to create just about any look you want to achieve!
Candy-Free Treat Ideas
If you’re looking for candy-free options for trick-or-treaters this year, consider the following ideas.
- Bouncy Balls
- Halloween Erasers
- Halloween Pencils
- Halloween Stamps
- Mini Halloween Notepads
- Mini Halloween Coloring Books
- Slap Bracelets
- Mini Bubble Wands
- Wikki Sticks
- Glow Sticks | Although glow sticks are not an eco-friendly solution, kids really enjoy them for the evening – and adults do too!
- Mini Playdough | Not as non-toxic as I’d prefer, it is still a good candy free Trick-or-Treat option.
- Granola Bars
- Crackers & Snack Packs
- Natural Fruit Leather
- Made Good Snack Packs
- Mini Pumpkins
Organic Halloween Candy Options
Whether you have a serious sweet tooth or are looking for healthier Halloween candy options, we’ve got your covered! The following organic candies are a “healthier” option and do not contain artificial flavors, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, or yucky, questionable ingredients.
- Yum Earth | Made without artificial colors or flavors, these candies are also organic, allergy-friendly, gluten-free, kosher, and vegan — making them a top choice for my sweet tooth! Lollipops, fruit sours, hard candies, chewies, and Giggles (pictured above) are my favorite alternative to my former love, Skittles!
- Lovely Organic | These yummy candies certified organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free! Lollipops, hard candies, & chewies (similar to Starbursts) are some favorites from this brand.
- Annie’s | One of my go-to brands, Annie’s offers a few individually wrapped favorites (perfect for Halloween) including yummy fruit snack gummies, cocoa krispy bars and cracker variety packs.
- Justin’s | The best responsibly sourced organic peanut butter cups on the market! No, they do not taste like Reeces, but are the closest I’ve found.
- Surf Sweets | Made using organic ingredients in a nut-free factory, Surf Sweets makes delicious gummies without artificial colors or flavors!
- Manuka Honey Pops | Made with organic ingredients, manuka honey, and zero artificial flavors or colors, these yummy lollipops are made by one of my favorite brands… Wedderspoon! These pops also contain 100% of your daily vitamin C.
- Wholesome Candies | Made with organic ingredients, Wholesome Candies are Fair Trade Certified, kosher, gluten-free, and free of artificial colors and flavors! Fruit chews and the DelishFish!
- *Smart Sweets | Smart Sweets candy isn’t organic, but is naturally sweetened without sugar alcohols or added sugar and doesn’t contain any artificial colors or flavors making it a much better choice than conventional brands. Best for fish, peach rings, and yummy gummies! *Not organic
- *Unreal | Best for chocolate cover candies including peanut butter cups, milk chocolates, and chocolate covered coconut bars, Unreal candy is made up of partially organic ingredients without any of the nasty additives. *Not 100% organic
Pumpkin Carving + Decorating Tips
Decorate using natural Halloween decor. Pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds and haystacks are a fall staple in (and around) my home! This natural decor simply screams fall! Best of all, it is compostable and goes right back into the Earth.
Create DIY Halloween Decorations. Milk jugs, cardboard, and old clothing can all be used to make cool, eco-friendly Halloween decor! Checkout Pinterest for some ideas.
Purchase a Pumpkin Carving Tools Set made to last! Most tools are made from a cheap metal and flimsy plastic and they NEVER last longer than a year! This carving set is made from wood and stainless steel – a much more eco-friendly alternative that will save you money in the long run!
Choose a natural beeswax tea candle. Paraffin waxes are made from petroleum and pollute the air we breathe. Opting for a natural beeswax candle with a cotton wick is a much healthier alternative.
Carve the pumpkin, eat the seeds, & don’t forget to compost!! Pumpkin seeds are full of vitamins and nutrients. Roast the seeds and enjoy a delicious snack after all of your hard work! When the festivities are over, avoid the landfill and remember to compost your pumpkin afterwards. Check out composting some tips here.
What to Avoid this Halloween
As an eco-conscious consumer, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid this Halloween:
Costumes made from from vinyl/PVC. Often masks, shiny or flexible plastics are made from PVC which contains chemicals linked to hormonal problems, lower IQ, and numerous health issues. Costumes containing foam are not great for the environment and most likely contain toxic flame retardants.
Cheap plastic jewelry. Plastic jewelry often contains are harmful chemicals such as phthalates, plasticizers, and may even contain heavy metals like lead and antimony. Plus, so many cheaply made plastic items break quickly, sending them directly into a landfill!
Costumes labeled as “Flame Resistant”. This indicates flame resistant chemicals were most likely – unless the product is naturally flame resistant which is NOT the case with most costumes. Flame retardants are known to cause a host of health issues from behavioral problems to cancer.
Rubber face masks. This may be difficult to avoid if your kiddo just HAS to be his or her favorite superhero… And I get it… it’s only one day, for a few hours. This is one of those “weigh-your-options” scenarios. A few thoughts to consider: 1.) Most are probably made with toxic chemicals and perhaps heavy metals. 2.) Not Eco-friendly and most are not recyclable. 3.) Smell Test: If you can smell that plastic-y smell as soon as it is opened, it is probably something you’ll want to avoid.
Eh…Glitter. This is a hard one for me! Prior to learning about toxins, this girl was 100% all about glitter! But, the reality is, glitter is bad for the environment and most contain phthalates and other yucky chemicals.
Faux polyester spider web decor. Not only can birds and other wildlife get caught in this type of web, but more than likely, you will dispose of it the same year you purchased it.
The festivities are over… What to do with alllll that leftover candy!?
- The Switch Witch tradition is a healthy way to enjoy all of the fun, festive Halloween activities without all of the sugary sweets. As the tale goes, the Switch Witch visits your home on Halloween night and swaps out sugary treats for a toy or other goodies! If you don’t want your kiddo to miss out on all of the candy fun, you can throw in some organic candy or simply let them have a few pieces after trick-or-treating. Buy The Tale of the Switch Witch Book on Amazon today by clicking here!
- Donate to a good cause! Today wrote an article a while back that shared 6 organizations that accept leftover candy. Now, you can feel good about giving away the goodies! Here’s the list: Treats for Troops, Halloween Candy Buy Back, Operation Gratitude, Operation Trick or Treating for the Troops, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Looking for other non-toxic favorites for your family? Check out my Amazon Storefront for my favorite toxin-free products.
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