GreenHalloween.org

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: As you start thinking about Halloween this year, make a conscience effort to make this fun holiday aHalloween 2010 little more healthy for your family and less scary for the planet.  

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. According to the National Retail Federation, “average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.”

Some really scary facts:

  • This generation of kids has a life expectancy that is shorter than their parents.
  • The EPA considers that 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides found in non-organically grown foods are carcinogenic.
  • Over 6,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the processed-food industry.
  • A 2004 study found that children’s behavior measurably improved after a one week diet without preservatives and artificial colors and dramatically worsened on the weeks they were given preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Coco beans used for chocolate that are grown in full sun (as opposed to shade) are susceptible to disease and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • The chocolate industry has engaged in the use of child slaves and other unethical treatments of growers.
  • Store-bought costumes, makeup and accessories may contain phthalates, cadmium, lead and other toxins.

Source: Green Halloween

Here are some ways to make your Halloween a little more “EEK-o-friendly” this year. Focus on one area you could make a difference or freak out your family and do it all:

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Instead create your own costume with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild. Once Upon A Child, for example, has gently-used costumes for sale.

You could also plan a costume swap. National Costume Swap Day is Saturday, October 12th this year. Check http://www.greenhalloween.org/CostumeSwap/ for a Costume Swap near you or organize your own with family and friends.

More resources:
I blogged about making your own costumes, Make Your Halloween Green.
Jenn Savedge with Mother Nature Network has some great ideas for easy eco-costumes, Green Halloween costumes.
Greenfeet has some great ideas for a Green Halloween including some great homemade costume ideas.

The Treats:

To lessen the possibility of a sugar overload, before you head out for tricks and treats, give your kids a full, healthy meal. And, when you’re handing out the treats, instead of unhealthy candy, hand out organic candies, pencils, stickers, crayons, fake tattoos or small toys.

Local places to find organic treats and fun alternatives:

More resources:

Beth Swanson at Kiwi Magazine unmasks The Scary Side of Halloween.
Halloween’s Hidden Impacts by Julie Starkel, MS, MBA, RD

The Trick or Treating Bags:

Your Trick or Treat bag could be anything. Use your imagination. You could use a bucket, purse, basket or cloth bag that you decorate to enhance your costume. For example, one year my littlest went as an adorable piggy (note: costume was a gift from Grandma for our oldest daughter many years ago). The treat “bag” she used was a little decorative silver bucket that we use for storage, it looks like a farmer’s feed bucket. Perfect.

The Decorations:

Use natural decorations like pumpkins, squash, gourds and hay bales. And when, for example, your pumpkin has The Great Pumpkindone it’s duty as a jack-o-lantern, toss it in the compost bin. Or buy decorations that can be used year after year. You’ll save money and the environment.

Join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op and ensure that every year you, your family and our community will be able to buy local and organic pumpkins and squash.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Green Halloween
Green Halloween.org is dedicated to offering fun, healthy, affordable, not-too-time consuming ideas that will support your goal of creating a Halloween that is happy and healthy for your kids and the planet we all share.

In 2010, Green Halloween became a program of EcoMom Alliance, a 501 (c) 3 with members worldwide. EcoMom Alliance works to inspire and empower women to reduce global warming and propel an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future. To do this, EcoMom Alliance utilizes the historically proven power of education, mothers and community action, and in this way create a global network of change leaders – an EcoMom Alliance.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Ideal BiteChristopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

GREEN TIP: Have a fun, safe, healthy and green Halloween.

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. Let’s endevour to make it fun, safe, HEALTHY (or, at least, healthier) and GREEN this year.

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Instead create your own with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild. Once Upon A Child, for example, has gently-used costumes for sale.

More resources:
Last Halloween I blogged about making your own costumes, Make Your Halloween Green.
Jenn Savedge with Mother Nature Network has some great ideas for easy eco-costumes, Green Halloween costumes.
Greenfeet has some great ideas for a Green Halloween including some great homemade costume ideas.

The Treats:

Instead of unhealthy candy treats, hand out organic candies, pencils, stickers, crayons, fake tatoos or small toys.

More resources:
Beth Swanson at Kiwi Magazine unmasks The Scary Side of Halloween.
Halloween’s Hidden Impacts by Julie Starkel, MS, MBA, RD

The Trick or Treating Bags:

Your Trick or Treat bag could be anything. Use your imagination. You could use a bucket, purse, basket or cloth bag that you decorate to enhance your costume. For example, this year my littlest is going to be an adorable piggy (note: costume was a gift from Grandma for our oldest daughter many years ago). The treat “bag” she’ll be using is a little decorative silver bucket that we use for storage, it looks like a farmer’s feed bucket. Perfect.

The Decorations:

Use natural decorations like pumpkins, squash, gourds and hay bales. And when, for example, your pumpkin has done it’s duty as a jack-o-lantern, toss it in the compost bin. Or buy decorations that can be used year after year. You’ll save money and the environment.

My Green Side’s weekly website pick:

Green Halloween
Green Halloween is a program of Treeswing, a Seattle non-profit working to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Through innovative programs and partnerships, Treeswing improves the health of children and is working toward building generations of healthy, active communities. Learn more at www.Treeswing.org.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Reduce, reuse and recycle all at once by making your own Halloween costume!

Have you seen the myriad of temporary stores that pop up during the Halloween season?  They are disturbing to me on a number of levels.  First, they are full of plastic and unnatural fiber junk that people use one time and throw away.  Second, I feel they don’t allow our children any creativity to make their own costumes.  When I was little, thinking about and making the costume was what made Halloween fun. 

I challenged my girls this year to think creatively and come up with costume ideas we could make from items we already had around the house or that we could get from a thrift store.  My 18-month-old just looked at me and said “Mama?  Da-DEE?  Nana?  GeeGah!.”  OK, Halloween isn’t for everyone. 

My five-year-old, on the other hand, embraced the plan wholeheartedly.  She sketched for days coming up with some very unique costumes, finally settling on… an Apple Fairy.  We may have to modify the original plan somewhat because it included using many of Grandpa’s organic apples, the leaves and the trees.  She stopped short of the tractor.  Nevertheless, she’s loving the process. 

Halloween should be about fun, creativity and time spent with family.  And with our current economic outlook, let’s save some green while we do something good for our planet.

Greenfeet has some great ideas for a Green Halloween including some great homemade costume ideas.

Check out GreenHalloween.org. They are an organization that focuses on “thinking outside the candy box” to make Halloween green!

For more green tips, visit About My Planet for an “Easy Eco-Halloween.”

Boo!

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