8 Tips for a Non-Toxic Halloween This Year!

Can you believe that Halloween is almost here? Many of us love the fun fantasy of the holiday, but aren’t so in love with the toxic face paints and sugary treats.

Fortunately, with a few easy steps, you can make your Halloween safe and non-toxic for your family.

1. Choose Lead-Free Face Paints. I wrote about this last year. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 10 face paints and found lead in all ten, plus nickel, cobalt, and chromium in six of the others. Look for natural options like Luna Organics, Terra Firma Cosmetics, or make your own with these recipes from the Campaign.

2. Consider a Costume Swap. Halloween costumes are typically used once or twice, then thrown away. Fortunately, there are options. Did you know that National Costume Swap Day is on October 8? People across the country get together to go green and exchange gently used Halloween costumes. You’ll save money and help the environment. According to Non-Toxic Kids, swapping half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons. Swaps this year are already scheduled in states across the nation. Click here to find one near you, or put together your own!

3. Avoid Toxic Ingredients. In addition to face paint, you may want to use other cosmetics to dress up a costume. Use my Ingredients to Avoid card to stay away from potentially toxic ingredients. Lipsticks can contain hidden lead, so choose shiny, beeswax-based lip balm instead. Nail polish can contain phthalates and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer, so look for natural brands. Choose fragrance-free sprays and lotions, as these can contain up to 200 unknown chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children. Finally, avoid powder cosmetics. Children can inhale the small particles, which can lodge in the lungs.

4. Use Wigs Instead of Hairsprays. Hairsprays often contain toxic chemicals like phthalates that can be easily inhaled. Skip the colored ones and choose wigs, ribbons, and hats instead.

5. Think Twice About Masks. Most masks and fake teeth are made from synthetic materials that often include vinyl and plastics—both potential sources of hormone-disrupting phthalates and BPA. Make your own, which can be more fun for you and the kids, or make sure your mask is labeled with the ingredients used to make it. Another option—use cloth or half-masks. Some ideas for making your own: click here. Non-Toxic Kids has some more ideas here. Don’t forget the thrift store!

6. Avoid Toxic Candles. It’s fun to light candles at Halloween, but be sure yours aren’t giving off toxic fumes. Choose fragrance-free options made from bee, palm, or soy wax, and those scented with essential oils. I have some other ideas for safe candles here.

7. Choose Eco-Friendly Decorations. Pumpkins, straw, hay bales, fallen leaves, and cornhusks are all inexpensive and compostable after the holiday has passed. Choose reusable decorations to save money and minimize waste.

8. Good-For-You Treats. Instead of stocking up on sugary treats with high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients, try pure dark chocolate, organic granola bars, or snack-sized bags of popcorn, raisins, or peanuts. Toys also make a great option—think spinning tops, stickers, fancy pencils, polished rocks, beads, bells, fake jewels, crystals, and collectable cards.

Do you have other ideas for celebrating a safe and green Halloween?

Photo courtesy Stéphane Duquesne via Flickr.com.

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