Guide to a Green Halloween

October 28, 2008

Halloween is a good time for kids and adults alike to have fun and let loose. This holiday by nature has nothing green about it, but we’re here to tell you how to make this Halloween a little greener. Think of the hazards that accompany this particular day. Kids are consuming an unorthodox amount of candy, which is not only bad for their health but bad for the environment. Think of all the litter that can come from just one child’s trick-or-treating bag—now multiply that by the millions of kids who trick or treat every year, and that amount is staggering. If you’re like most people, you’re on a budget, and will no-doubt hunt for the most affordable Halloween treats out there–fair trade and environmentally-friendly choices probably don’t even register on the radar. Not to mention all the waste that comes from Halloween costumes we buy for the kids, which they will probably have grown too much to wear for next year, and this one day generates a mini environmental crisis. What can we do to lessen the impact on the earth and those who inhabit it?

For one, there is the wonderful option of donating to Unicef. Be sure to have spare pennies, nickels and even a more significant personal donation ready for those kids who come partolling with their UNICEF boxes. The money from these donations goes towards the funding of human rights initiatives worldwide, including helping children affected by AIDS, providing free education for children, and environmental initiatives to help children gain access to resources necessary for survival. Kick off the holiday season by giving generously to this organization.

In terms of the health impact posed to children by consuming pounds of processed candy, there are healthier options out there, such as Endangered Species Chocolates, which do not contain “processed sugars, hydrogenated fats, and other chemicals like pesticides and growth hormones.” (www.chocolatebar.com) The Milk Chocolate Halloween Treats pack comes with 24, individually wrapped chocolates for under $7. While this may be marginally more expensive than what you would usually spend, you’ll sleep easy Halloween night by knowing that the kids you handed out candy to will be consuming a less harmful treats this year. As a bonus, ten percent of all profits go towards supporting endangered species. Who says trick or treating can’t be altruistic? VeganEssentials¬†offers Organic Chocolate Mint Candies by College Farm Organics. Along with being a healthier option, the packaging of the individually-wrapped goodies is biodegradable.

Now to address the pesky issue of Halloween costumes. You may want to keep them to remember all the Halloween’s gone by, but they will likely just take up space in your home until you throw them out. Keep them for younger siblings if it applies, but if not you may want to consider costume donation. PreschoolRock.com has a costume exchange program, which may be just the place for your child’s used costume. If cash is tight, you can also get a free costume for family members of any age from this innovative organization. HalloweenStreet.com also has an option to donate your old costumes so someone else can get just as much use out of them as you have.

There’s also the old-fasioned option of making the costumes yourselves, from household items–do this, and you will be reducing, reusing and recycling all in one go!

¬†Finally, teach your kids to clean up after themselves by hosting a neighbourhood post-Halloween litter pick up. You’ll build community, while keeping the places where your children play neat and tidy.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

October 12, 2008

We wanted to kick off this year’s holiday season by saying Happy Thanksgiving Canada! The holidays, especially, are a time to give back. Here are a few tips to do some green this season:
10) Utilize public transportation. Traffic is always horrible on these special days, and you don’t want to be driving anyway. Why not hop on the Go-train or Greyhound this weekend? You’ll save on gas money and on ozone depletion. Or;
9) Carpool to family get-togethers. Increase that holiday feeling and earn your spot in the carpool lane.
8 ) Cook with organic ingredients. Support the anti-pesticide market and keep your family healthy. If you’ve never had free-range turkey, now’s the time to try it.
7) Purchase your pumpkin pie at a local fruit stand or farmers market to stimulate your local economy.
6) Wash your Thanksgiving China with enviro-friendly dish soap available at http://PristinePlanet.com
5)Compost your leftover brussel sprouts and give your garden some extra nutrients before winter.
4)Locate a soup kitchen where you can volunteer or drop off your leftovers, or;
3)Make leftover turkey sandwhiches, take your family downtown and hand them out to those who need them.
2)Build community and offer to rake a neighbour’s lawn–or do so in secret to build good karma.
1)If you’ve been drinking, make sure you are definitely in condition to drive home at the end of the night–if not, repeat steps 1 or 2 and carpool or take public transportation.

Any ideas of how to have a greener holiday season? Leave a comment! Add something to the world–do some green!