The Low Down On Green Living
October 8th, 2008
Some things are scary: ghosts, goblins, vampires and bats.
And some things are really scary: Genetically modified foods, toxic face paint, and insane piles of garbage.
And then there is the combination of all of these into one massive event: Halloween.
Halloween produces more boos, eeks, screeches and ding dongs than I can now handle…so, in an attempt to make sure my kids don’t hate me, my neighbours, family and friends don’t ridicule me (although I have gotten used to this by now), I inspire each of you to have a less scary Halloween.
I am pleased to share a few of my own simple initiatives/suggestions for a smarter Halloween. I hope you’ll read, adopt as many as possible and pass them along.
1. Since Halloween involves community…support yours. Buy your organic pumpkin at a farmers market, or better yet, pick your own. Growing a pumpkin takes an awful lot of pesticide and pumpkins take up lots of space in landfills and release greenhouse gases as they decompose. Make full use of your entire pumpkin by roasting the seeds (yummy and very healthy), make a soup or pie, and compost the pumpkin when you’re done.
2. Walk, do not drive. Stick to your neighbourhood…talk to your neighbours and enjoy the crisp fall air. It’s a bonus to get some exercise into your busy day.
3. Use a costume you already have in your possession, or borrow one.
4. If you do not have costumes already, make your own costume (and NO face paints – check all makeup at the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Safety Database!) Remember dressing as a ballet dancer or hockey player? Easy. Plus, I really cannot understand choosing to put on an off-gassing, store-bought, made-in-china, phthalate laced, over packaged mask!
Some costume ideas that are bright, easy and comfortable: a Whiteboard (all white clothing with a pen on a string around your neck and people can sign…now that is interactive!), a Compact Florescent Lightbulb (again, all white clothing with skinny white balloons in twisty shapes on your head), a Ghost (with an organic cotton sheet of course), a Jelly Fish (dressed in pink while opening and closing an umbrella).
5. Instead of turning on every light in your house, use old cans (Eden Organic uses cans that are bpa-free for their non-acid foods by the way) and punch holes in them, fill them with organic soy or beeswax candles and see what you can create (all reusable year after year…just keep adding to your collection).
6. Treats are treats. Kids love treats. You love your kids. What to do??? Every store has those colourful boxes lined up on shelves ready for us to buy (think of the resources wasted right there!). I shudder to now think of the artificial colours and flavours, refined, over-processed ingredients and dyes (that I know will be banned someday), that I put into my body. Try these: Glee Gum or Yummy Earth Lollipops – natural + even nut-free! Or how about giving away pencils made from recyclable materials? (Stop rolling your eyes!)
7. Of course, use a reusable bag. (you can always use a pillowcase too). And, if you do not yet have one, get a RuMe bag already! They are gorgeous, and it’s a reusable bag that even a man will use, imagine that! There is a size for everyone in your family from mini to macro, they fold right up to tuck away into your purse, briefcase, glove compartment or drawer and you’ll use them throughout the year.
8. Walk around with a solar charged, crank powered or shake and shine flashlight. A fabulous range of products powered by alternative energy that every household should have anyways in case of emergency (think solar energy powering your blackberry and shortwave radio).
9. Beware of phantom power. It’s sucking the life out of your bank account and the environment. You thought your electronics were all off at home? They are not really off, they’re just on stand-by. Exorcism procedure: Unplug stuff! (or use a power bar and shut it down completely).
10. Reduce everything, reuse as much as possible and recycle the balance (which is, hopefully not much).
So, be scary, but don’t spook our cherished kids and precious planet. A Happy, healthy and safe Halloweening to you all.
An after/other thought:
We know it’s not “safe” to give out unwrapped treats + fresh foods, but how is an over-packaged, over-processed piece of candy any safer?
About the author: Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. Her full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc. is based in Toronto and takes great pride in being an ethical business providing exceptional ideas.
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