Just because the chocolate-covered debauchery of Halloween is upon us doesn't mean you have to give up being healthy and sustainable. Chocolate is, after all, full of antioxidants. But here are a few things I keep in mind when preparing for Halloween: health, fair-trade, and waste.
Stay healthy by treating yourself to homemade goodies instead of mass-produced junk. I play this trick on myself all the time when I'm craving junk food; health food junk food is at least a little better for you! Think dark chocolate and raw desserts. Try out some of the recipes below or buy treats from sites that check everything out for you, like Abe's Market or the Natural Candy Store. Buy quality and you won't mind passing up the waxy traditional chocolate and candy.
Every year, costume shops pop up all over NYC. They are full of plastic junk and poor quality costumes that are clearly meant to be tossed out after one use. It's better for your wallet and the environment to go another route. Make a costume out of recyclable materials like foil or cardboard; use clothing you already have; or buy items secondhand from thrift shops or sites like Ebay (refine your search to "used" or "preowned"). My favorite costume of all time was created from items I already had plus some thrifted shoes.
Another unhealthy feature of the holiday is face paint. To get the color to stay on and be shelf stable, most of the face paint in costume stores is full of chemicals. Avoid possible skin reactions by making your own with this recipe from POPSUGAR.
Top Row: Free Vegan Halloween Recipes E-Book via Abe's Market | 5-Ingredient Vegan Snickers via Minimalist Baker | Raw Caramel Apples via Fork and Beans | Middle Row: Cosmic Chocolate Peppermint Patties via Chocolate-Covered Katie | Green Goblin Milkshake via Chocolate-Covered Katie | Vegan Salted Caramels via Fork and Beans | Bottom Row: Shadow Puppet templates via Mini-eco | Downloadable paper bag costumes from Wee Society | Seriously Easy Homemade Face Paint via POPSUGAR
Chocolate is a big part of Halloween, but it's decidedly better to go for quality over quantity. West Africa produces 70% of the world's cacao, and 40% of that comes from the Ivory Coast. Many of those farmers don't have direct access to the market and are forced to sell to intermediaries that don't pay fairly. Conventions like fair trade certification attempt to remedy this situation that often leads to cheap slave or child labor. There is a dismal irony in giving out Halloween candy made from cacao harvested by children. After learning about the ills of cacao industry, fair trade chocolate is something I'm now strict about buying. Fair trade is not a perfect system, but it is working to address these complicated issues in the agriculture industry. Learn more about the virtuous circle of fair trade.
Halloween is traditionally a pretty wasteful holiday: candy wrappers, costumes, plastic buckets, and trinkets abound. The candy dilemma at home is easy enough to solve by making your own or buying options with less packaging (look for recyclable paper and aluminum packages). The stranger danger element of trick-or-treating makes it a little more difficult when giving out candy. One solution might be to have a party instead of taking your kids trick-or-treating — zero-waste Halloween party anybody? I don't really get any trick-or-treaters at my apartment, but if I did, I might give out jack-o-lantern clementines, fair-trade chocolates from Equal Exchange, or recycled crayons. Yes, I'm that person. If you do have a party, consider sending out invites electronically instead of on paper. Paperless Post has some really cute ones.
Find more ideas like these on my Healthy Halloween Pinterest board!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy anything through the link (it doesn't change the amount you pay). I only include brands that I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you.
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