My kids love Halloween, and we are pretty relaxed with letting them eat a fair amount of candy–especially as they’ve gotten older! Still, Halloween is a holiday that full of Bad Stuff (and nope, not just the candy).
Read on for our tips for avoiding toxins–and have a safe, healthy Halloween!
1. Avoid PVC Costumes
Many store-bought Halloween costumes are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). You’ll often be able to identify these by the strong plastic-y smell they emit.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contains phthalates, those endocrine disruptors that I’m always talking about.
Some of these costumes have also been found to be laced with heavy metals and flame retardants.
If you’re anything like me, sewing a Halloween costume is absolutely off the table. My husband often gets very creative and we do usually cobble together homemade costumes that don’t involve a sewing machine. Here are some ideas that I like, and this brand is great for basics.
If I had a baby, I’d toss this (with the matching hat) on him and call it a day!
2. Choose Non-Toxic Face Paint
Conventional face paints can contain arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. Here is the face paint I use every year, and this is a fun non-toxic cosmetic glitter. If a costume requires nail polish, here are some fun, toxin-free colors to try.
Product on salePiggy Paint Non-Toxic Nail Polish Gift Bags$9.99 – $22.50
3. Swap Out Candy
The amount of sugar in Halloween candy is obviously a big concern, but there are lots of other ingredients that make most candy Bad Stuff: from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, candy really shouldn’t be considered food at all.
So is there a way to have a healthy Halloween without handing out raisins?
I do usually wind up giving out candy—typically these or these (both of which skip the very worst stuff).
When I was a kid, my parents stocked up on what they called “hippie candy,” which ranged from organic lollipops to healthier gum to crackers.
I would bring home all the candy we’d collected in the neighborhood, and then play a game that involved placing a selected piece of junky candy (like a Tootsie Roll) into a bag and then closing my eyes and selecting something from my mom’s bag of aforementioned Hippie Candy in exchange.
Another variation we tried as we got older was just to dump our pillowcases full of candy on the floor as my parents dumped all the Hippie Candy out, too. Then the bartering began!
Somehow, I never felt deprived or bummed out about this; for one thing, I actually liked fruit leathers, and the game of switching was fun. Also, my parents always let us keep some of our very favorite “real candy” (for me, this was always the peanut butter cups–here’s a healthier version of those!).
I’d like to give a special shout-out to Glee Gum for being the only healthful candy that comes in cardboard, not plastic.
And, full disclosure–I am much less strict than my own parents were, so my kids eat plenty of real candy on Halloween. I offer the suggestions above for those of you who are committed to doing better than I am!
4. Remove Face Paint Safely
When the festivities end, you can clean off face paints with either nontoxic face wipes or plain coconut oil.
Bonus: Make a Seasonal Table
I wish I could say I’ve been able to pull this off, but not yet. Still, look at how pretty my mom’s house looks every Halloween—proof that it doesn’t have to be just a time of big plastic spiders!
I’d love to hear your favorite healthy Halloween tips. Please comment below!
Maia, Founder & CEO
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