5 Ways to Have a Healthy Halloween

Written by:

Maia James


My kids love Halloween, and we are pretty relaxed about letting them eat candy–as they’ve gotten older, this is just a battle we aren’t going to win! Still, Halloween is a holiday that’s full of Bad Stuff (and nope, not just the candy). It can also be a time with a high environmental footprint because you’re buying more plastic (from decorations to candy wrappers).

Read on for our tips for avoiding toxins and lessening the burden on the Earth–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’ve been talking about for years. 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.

Even better, this year we have a whole line of adorable, PVC-free cotton costumes in our store, for babies and kids up to age 7.

  • Black Bat Costume
  • Rainbow Lion Costume
  • Green Dragon Costume
  • Lavender Unicorn Costume

2. Choose Non Toxic Face Paint

Conventional face paints can contain arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. We’ve been using Natural Earth Paint for years, and Evereden makes some great toxin-free face crayons (you’ll get 15% off if you use this link.)

  • Piggy Paint Toe Tally Gift Set from Gimme the Good Stuff
    Product on sale
    Piggy Paint Non-Toxic Nail Polish Gift Bags
  • Natural Earth Paint Torquoise from gimme the good stuff
    Natural Earth Paint- Natural Cosmetic Glitter (Safe Enough for Kid’s Faces)
  • Natural Face Paint from from Gimme The Good Stuff
    Natural Earth Paint-Face Paint Kit

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—often these or the Trader Joe’s lollipops.

When I was a kid, my parents stocked up on what they called “hippie candy” from the food co-op (think, yogurt covered raisins, fruit leathers, and dark chocolate bars).

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 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! (Related post: Heavy Metals in Chocolate)

Somehow, I never felt deprived or bummed out about this; for one thing, the games were fun, and I actually liked fruit leathers. (Btw, these are made with real fruit instead of concentrate). 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!).

(P.S. Glee Gum deserves a special mention for being the only healthful candy that comes in cardboard, not plastic.)

4. Remove Face Paint Safely

When the festivities end, you can clean off face paints with either nontoxic face wipes, plain coconut oil, or even just a gentle bar soap.

  • Babo Botanicals Calming Wipes Lavender and Meadowsweet from Gimme the Good Stuff
    Babo Botanicals 3-in-1 Calming Baby Wipes – Lavender & Meadowsweet
    $7.99 or subscribe and save up to 8%
  • All Good Coconut Oil Skin Food from gimme the good stuff
    All Good Organic Coconut Oil Skin Food
    $15.99 or subscribe and save up to 10%
  • Tandi’s Naturals Gentle Herb Soap (Unscented) from Gimme the Good Stuff
    Tandi’s Naturals Gentle Herb Soap (Unscented)

5. Invest in Reusable Decorations.

We certainly do have some plastic decor that goes out on our stoop, but we’ve stopped using fake spiderwebs, which have to be tossed after each use, and can be hazardous to local wildlife.

Every year, I consider investing in these gorgeous velvet pumpkins. This felt garland is also fun! We also love to burn natural candles or spritz room sprays with autumnal scents that come only from essential oils.

  • A bottle of essential oil room spray sitting on a table with a white and a red flower.
    Fontana Essential Oil Room Spray
  • A lit candle in a tin sitting next to a bowl fruit on a wooden table.
    Non-Toxic Beeswax Candles with Essential Oils from Fontana Candle Co.

I’d love to hear your favorite healthy Halloween tips. Please comment below!

healthy halloween

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

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Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

  1. christina mccarthy Avatar
    christina mccarthy

    Could you recommend healthy gloves for washing the dishes.

    1. Suzanne Weaver-Goss Avatar
      Suzanne Weaver-Goss

      Hello Christina,

      I would recommend silicone gloves like these: https://amzn.to/35nLlXh

  2. Maxim Avatar

    First link in ‘I do usually wind up giving out candy—typically’ goes to the face paint.

    1. Maia Avatar

      thank you–fixed!