A Green Trick-or-Treat: 5 Ideas for an Environmentally Friendly Halloween


October is here. A season full of family fun! Most of us have our calendars full with pumpkin patches, fall festivals, Halloween Events, fall photo sessions and of course, getting ready for halloween. For us, it also means finding ways to have an environmentally friendly Halloween. 

For the last six years we have played with different types of halloween treats. We have given glow in the dark sticks, pretzels, play dough, small halloween themed toys, and other non candy items. Our initial goal was to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy additives. The toys were always a hit. As we approach another day of trick or treat, we are now looking into what we will give out, with an extra requirement in mind. 

Earlier this year we made a family decision to cut down our plastic consumption. We have made it a priority to our family and we are constantly talking to our boys about our new practices and looking at ways to improve. We have changed the way we recycle and the way we shop, but this is a long term process with small milestones to conquer along the way. 

With this in mind we now have to look for alternatives to our usual halloween treats. We loved the play dough, but they come in small plastic containers that will most likely end up in the landfill. Small bags of pretzels have the same problem, as most of the other little toys do. 

After some research, I have compiled a list of options that we are keeping in mind as we search for treats this season to celebrate have a green trick-or-treat. 

1. Fresh fruits

A bold but great move that parents with small children would appreciate. Think about bananas, apples and clementines. They come in biodegradable packaging and full of vitamins. Apples are in season, so if you plan on going apple picking just bring a bigger wheelbarrow. 

2. Candy 

Going plastic free doesn’t mean all candies are banned. Fortunately, Nerds and Skittles are still packed in cardboard boxes and Hershey Kisses come in aluminum foil. Want a healthier treat? Glee gum, Yum Earth and Unreal Candy are all great brands with clean ingredients. 

3. Snacks

This one is tricky, but if you have time you can always make big badges of popcorn and serve them in small brown paper bags. People would love it because a snack while trick or treating will probably keep you from going straight to the candy. Now, not everyone s comfortable with this idea (like my husband), but whats the worse that can happen? Don’t want something homemade? Then think about small packs of raisins on cardboard boxes. 

4. Other treats

Going back to the idea of little toys as treats, we have done lots of research on plastic free and affordable treats. The number one item is pencils. You can find beautiful halloween themed ones or you can just use conventional pencils. Other great options are erasers, notepads and stickers.

5. And for extra points

If you want to be a green crusader this halloween, consider placing a blue recycling bin at your door to collect recyclables. You can go the extra mile by getting a Terracylce collection box in your neighborhood or school to properly disposed all those other candy wrappers. 

Being environmentally conscious should not take the fun out of our festivities. What it does is provide us with another opportunity to talk to our kids about our footprint and make educated decisions on our consumption. The extra value of the options above is that you can also add a teal pumpkin to your front porch as these treats will most likely be allergy friendly. 

Do you other ideas for an environmentally friendly halloween?

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Tatiana was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United States at age 15. She moved from Houston to DC in 2007 to work for an international organization. She met her husband at work and married in 2011. She has two children: Santiago (2013) and Antonio (2015) and a Masters degree in Conflict Resoliution. After the birth of her second child, she decided to take time off to stay home and focus on the kids. She is passionate about nutrition, self-led weaning and homemade food. The Story of My Table is her Instagram account and blog where she shares her adventures in the kitchen. She strongly believes that a wine a day keeps the doctor away and that the key to parenting two boys is to keep in good shape. She is not a fan of baking, but would occasionally do it to avoid highly processed food. She is an advocate for natural foods, Montessori education and allowing children to get bored. One day she dreams of building an organization where she can combine her passion for food with peacebuilding.