It’s October, which means Halloween is on the way again, marked with sweet treats, spooky costumes, and fun parades.
For kids, wearing costumes and getting some candies are the most fun gigs of it all. But while it inspires fun and creativity for our children, we should remember how important it is to teach them to be environmentally conscious.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an NGO promoting a zero waste and toxin-free society, reminded that trick-or-treat events should be safe, healthy, and eco-friendly for children.
“Halloween celebrations should not expose our children to harmful chemicals nor add to the volume and toxicity of garbage being produced by our society on a daily basis,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “We need not generate ‘hallowaste’ as if plastics and other trash are not yet choking our ecosystems.”
To this end, the group shares these plastic and toxic reduction tips:
- Avoid plastic costumes and masks. Create costumes from repurposed items to avoid buying pricey ready-to-wear attires and accessories, particularly those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. With creativity, parents and kids can turn old clothes and fabrics into something fun or spooky.
- Avoid face paints. Opt for natural substitutes to face paints, which often lack quality and safety assurance and may contain bacterial and chemical contaminants. Try food-grade alternatives commonly found in the kitchen, such as food coloring, annatto seeds, turmeric, cocoa powder, cornstarch, etc.
- Avoid plastic buckets. Instead of plastic pumpkin buckets, encourage children to bring reusable cloth bags, old socks, or school lunch bags for Halloween treats.
- Avoid unauthorized and unlabeled plastic toys. Refrain from buying soft plastic toys, which may be laden with hormone-disrupting phthalates, and painted toys, which may be coated with leaded paints, unless these toys are authorized and labeled phthalate-free or lead-free.
- Avoid treats in disposable wrappers. Consider healthier alternatives to candies with little nutritional value and often wrapped in hardly recycled plastic. Treat kids with wholesome food such as homemade cookies or sandwiches in paper napkins or small paper bags. Give kids bananas and other fruits in season.
“Organizers can also use the occasion to educate children on simple ways to show our concern for the environment such as by not throwing candy wrappers on the ground,” added Benosa.