Environmentally speaking, there is more to a green Halloween than organic Jack O’Lanterns and GMO-free candy. The amount of waste generated from non-recyclable plastic wrappers and pumpkins that are tossed instead of eaten makes for some scary Halloween landfill stories.
Creative Alternatives to Candy
Aside from shelling out candy, try some healthy alternatives that will not scare your neighbourhood kids away. For safety’s sake, tamper-proof treats are still recommended for edible handouts, but when considering Halloween treats, pairing safety with waste reduction can be a challenge. (Nobody wants to be that family that hands out toothbrushes and boxes of raisins.)
Here are some tips to try to steer the younger generation away from junk – or at least, reduce it by one household: Consider ‘fun’ items that can eventually biodegrade, or at least, be used repeatedly by the kids.
Non-Candy Halloween-Themed Toy Suggestions
- Jack O’Lanterns erasers
- Halloween-themed pens or pencils
- (Recycled) Orange paper pads
- Pumpkin coloured super balls
- Skull pencil-toppers
- Stickers made from recycled paper
- Miniature cans of Play Doh™
- Miniature Halloween-themed flashlights
Organic Candy for Halloween
For those who do believe candy is to Halloween what cake is to birthday – there are environmentally sound alternatives to mini-chocolate bars and fistfuls of sweets. Smaller versions of chocolate bars, such as Cocoa Camino’s organic and fair trade chocolate bars, paired with a sheet of stickers would be a fine treat for kids of all ages.
A somewhat more affordable option would be a fistful of Pure Fun: A vegan and Kosher GMO-free candy that doesn’t contain fat, gluten, artificial colours or flavours, preservatives or pesticides. Sweetened with brown rice syrup, these hard candies have the fun look of traditional bad-for-you sweets, from vegetable-based colours.
Many health food stores and some bulk food stores can provide organic and/or peanut-free, alternatives to HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) candies. For more ideas on how to create a less sugar-oriented Halloween, try doing an online search to find candy-alternative Halloweens, or organic candy for Halloween; one might find a local candy maker or get ideas for affordable little toys to make neighbourhood kids smile…with healthy teeth.
Socially Aware Halloween Shell-Outs
The Books For Treats movement started by Rebecca Morgan in 1995 was a grassroots movement to battle childhood obesity and diabetes. Morgan gave kids age-appropriate, gently used children’s books to neighbourhood children, and received such positive feedback from parents and kids that she expanded her program to encourage others to do the same.
Giving a child candies that can be consumed in a minutes while the wrapper lasts for years in a landfill sounds like more of a trick than a treat. Encouraging a love of reading, giving a book that can be enjoyed repeatedly without creating waste is a treat indeed!