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Claire Moshenberg's picture

Halloween is here! Well, almost. And while the kids in your life are probably thrilled about the sugary jack-o-lantern strewn bonanza that is Halloween, the parent side of Halloween planning is a bit more tricky (The phrase “How is the store out of costumes already?! HOW?!” comes to mind).

Look, in the grand scheme of holidays, Halloween can be costly, complicated, and not traditionally eco-friendly. Luckily, it is also incredibly, ridiculously easy to makeover. Costumes can be found, faces can be painted, and tricks and treats can be dispensed, all at a low-cost, in a green way. Here’s a Tips Tuesday breakdown on how to detox your Halloween:

Face paint:

**Not so fun fact: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested ten popular face paints for toxic chemicals in their report “Pretty Scary: Heavy Metals in Face Paints.”  All ten had lead, while others contained allergens like nickel, cobalt, and chromium.

DIY: Save some money and minimize your child’s chemical exposures by whipping up a batch of your own nontoxic face paint. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a few easy non-toxic recipes. The Smart Mama also has nontoxic Halloween recipes for everything from fake blood to fairy glitter.

Rules for buying: Read the label. Don’t be fooled by “green,” “all natural,” or hypoallergenic” labels: these terms have no legal definition. Avoid the chemicals on the chemicals of concern list from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. And remember, always spot test cosmetics on your child before using them: Apply a small amount to see if your child has an allergic reaction.

Don’t forget: Makeup that isn’t meant for your face shouldn’t be used to replace face paint. Example: One long ago clown themed Halloween, my red nose was made of lipstick dotted on the tip of my nose. Leave those cosmetics in the makeup bag. And if you have leftover face paint from last year, look it up on the FDA's recall page to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.


**Did you know: According to, just swapping half the costumes kids wear could reduce landfill waste by 6,250 tons!

Swap: You can look up costume swaps in your area on or you can organize a swap of your own. Talk to friends, family members, and neighbors and see if they’re interested in swapping costumes for the season.

Consignment and Thrift Stores: Thrift stores are chock full of costumes at this time of year. Check out their selection, and don’t skip the clothing racks: You never know what potential costumes you might find.

DIY: Shop your own closet and your kids closets for clothing that can be transformed into costumes. Use materials in your home or from second hand stores to create a costume of your own. Check out our Superhero cape tutorial blogathon for ideas on how to make kid capes.

Treats for the Trick or Treaters:

Healthier options: Healthy Child, Healthy World has a guide to choosing healthier treats that you can hand out to trick or treaters instead of the standard candy treats.

Skip the sweets and foods: Stickers, snazzy pencils, art supplies: Think outside the box when it comes to your trick or treat giveaways. Non-food items are healthier; just don’t replace Halloween sweets with plastic toys.

The candy route: If you do give out candy, portion it out: Reduce waste and packaging by giving one candy to each trick or treater instead of hand fulls of treats.

Do you have tips on how to get ready for a green Halloween?  Leave them in the comments, or visit our Facebook page and share them with the MomsRising community.



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