Green HalloweenWe’re a bit stuck on Halloween.  The thing is – we’re suckers for holidays in general.  Personally, I love the Christmas season.  But Carl is all about Halloween.

We love seeing how excited the little ones in our neighbourhood become.  We love contributing to that excitement.  We want lots of kids to come to our home and have a spooky, fulfilling, fun experience.  We want to see the joy on our own kids’ faces when they hike around the whole block and then come back to spread their candy out on the living room floor and look on in awe that such a day exists.

So, we are kind of bummed that we now know a little too much about high fructose corn syrup and energy consumption to redo last year’s celebration verbatim.  This year we decided to have a socially responsible halloween.  And now we’re pouting – even moping – about it.

We have visions of sending kids home with homemade fudge only to have it tossed in the garbage by parents who don’t know us and can’t take the chance on untrusted baked goods.  We have thoughts of sending our own children out dressed as something their very uncrafty mother has thrown together and not quite being able to explain what they are.  What the heck is our problem?

Whenever something is getting me down, I try to figure out the root of it.  In this case, I have to ask myself, is high fructose corn syrup really what I like about Halloween?  Does my 3 year old really care about her costume?  As I’m puzzling over this, I come to an epiphany.  Darnit – those candy marketers are good!  We are making this way harder than it is.  This holiday can still be good.  We just need to focus on the good stuff.

Treating (and Treasuring)

Do you remember when we were kids and we used to go out for Halloween?  We would literally get 1 treat per house.  1 small bag of chips or chocolate bar.  And we were thrilled.  It’s only when we got older that we started to strategize about maximizing our “take”.

Why is it that we find ourselves wanting to impress the slew of 14 year olds that bombard our house while their parents sit in an idling car at the end of the drive?  I’m thinking it’s long past time I let go of this insanity and focus on the little ones.  My actual neighbors.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to splurge on a healthy supply of organic chocolate bars from the local bulk food store for the little ones.  We’re also going to get a treasure bowl filled with stickers, non-plastic play things and perhaps the odd packet of Annie’s Homegrown fruit snacks (or “gooby snacks” as my kids call them).  When kids debatably over 12 come to our door, we’re going to offer them only the treasure bowl.  Are they going to judge us?  Sure they are.  But it’s really not about them.

Dressing Up

I remember making our own raggedy Anne and Andy costumes with my best friend in fourth grade.  It was her very brilliant idea.  We spent days threading red yarn through the pantyhose we wore as wigs.  Its things like this that I remember about Halloween.  And these are the memories I should focus on helping my children to create.

Of course, my 3 year old is not quite ready for handmade wigs yet, but someday, God willing, she will be.  The truth is, we already picked up a dragon costume for my daughter in a weak moment at Winners.  (I did at least confirm that it is non-toxic.)  And there’s no way I’m going to take it from her now.  My son, however, will be a chicken this year – the same costume my daughter wore 2 years ago.  And next year, he will be a panda.  After that, he can decide.  But by then, we’ll be better organized at making or swapping costumes.

Doing It Up

Our neighbors have the coolest giant cat that swivels its eyes – seemingly watching you – as you walk by.  I won’t lie.  Carl wants one.  Bad.  But I think he has finally let go.  Although it’s very tempting to buy all of those spooky Halloween gimics and decorations, it’s really not for us.  Seriously people, what could be spookier than candles everywhere?  This year, we’re going lightless – except the one mandatory “open for treating” light out front.  This is the one holiday where absence of lighting may actually put the kids more in the spirit.

Beyond making costumes, kids can also get in the spirit by helping to decorate for the occasion.  Carl had a great idea that we would put our old artifical Christmas tree out front and decorate it with little paper pumpkins and witches and things.  There are loads of eco-friendly Halloween crafts out there.

Is Green Halloween Still Good Halloween?

So, is “Green Halloween” still Good Halloween?  In my opinion, it’s even better.  Let’s teach our kids how to do it right.  How to eat right.  How to give right.  How to live right.  And how to have a little unbridled, unabashed fun while they’re at it.  Now that’s good.

Looking for more green and healthy Halloween ideas?  Check out these great sources.

Green Halloween
Celebrate Green
Practically Green
And, of course, our friends at Healthy Child Healthy World!

Image: Tina Phillips /

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Just a small town mom trying to make the world a better place for my kids. One small change at a time.

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