Halloween is one of those holidays that generates an insane amount of waste – landfills are full of everything from candy wrappers to cheap costumes and decorations. Even worse, most conventional Halloween costumes and treats are full of dangerous toxins, such as lead, cadmium, phthalates, and flame retardants. But there are steps you can take to green your Halloween. Want to find out how green your Halloween is? Take Planet Green’s online quiz to find out. For more tips and advice on having a green Halloween, visit GreenHalloween.org.
Check back throughout the week for more tips on greening your pumpkins, decorations and treats.
It’s easy to just go to the store and buy a Halloween costume. But most typical costumes are made out of synthetic materials and are full of toxins, such as flame retardants and lead. Plastic masks and fake mouth pieces can be filled with lead and phthalates. Costume jewelry often contains cadmium and lead. And costumes are a lot like wedding dresses – you wear them for one day and then usually never again. A lot of resources go into making the costumes, and landfills are full of old Halloween costumes.
So before you run to a Halloween Express, look into some greener options. Reuse an old costume. Borrow or swap one with a friend. Get a used costume from a thrift or consignment store, thredup clothing exchange, ebay or at a costume swap. PreSchoolRock.com is sponsoring a Halloween Costume Exchange. Or make one yourself. There are a ton of resources online for making your own Halloween costumes:
- DIY tutu
- Cardboard Box Fire Truck Costume
- 25 Homemade Halloween Costumes Made From Recycled Materials
- Costume Idea Zone
- DIY costume ideas from Disney’s FamilyFun
- Martha Stewart’s Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas
- Super Cute DIY Costume Ideas from Ohdeedoh (ranging from Yoda to a NYC Subway Train)
- Cardboard Box Horses
- DIY Baby Costumes from PBS Parents
- Videos on the Halloween Channel on Family.com
- DIY Halloween Costumes from Kids~Stuff~World
- DIY Pop Culture Costumes from Earth911
If you do buy a new costume, choose one made from natural, non-toxic materials, such as organic cotton, wool, silk or hemp. Choose well-made costumes that can be used again and again – whether by a sibling or another child or by your child for endless dress-up games. When you are done with your Halloween costumes and don’t want to reuse them yourself, you can donate them to places like Free Costumes for Kids or PreSchoolRock.com’s Halloween Costume Exchange.
- Sarah’s Silks
- Oeuf 100% Wool Mask & Tail Set
- Where the Wild Things Are and Gnome Costumes made from all-natural materials
- Zid Zid Kids Cardboard Mask and Cotton Cape
- Nova Natural Silks and Dress Up
- Magic Cabin costumes
Face Paint and Hair Color
Conventional Halloween face paints are full of toxins, including artificial dyes, lead and other heavy metals. The safest approach is to avoid face paints completely. Encourage your children to try masks instead – and a mask can be reused or added to your child’s dress-up stash. If face paint is an essential component of your child’s costume, try to make your own face paints. Similarly, most temporary hair colors and sprays are full of toxic junk, including artificial chemicals and fragrances. Try a wig instead.
If DIY is not your thing, check out this list of more-natural face and body paints:
- Luna Star All Natural Play Makeup
- Kooalo Natural Face Paint
- Hopscotch Kids Non-Toxic Nail Polish
- Lyra Theater Pencils
- Artemis Natural Body Paint
- Pink Quartz Minerals Halloween Makeup
- Nova Natural non-toxic face pencils
- Piggy Paint Non-Toxic Nail Polish
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