It's fall here.
The leaves are all starting to change and the nights are getting colder. School is going in full swing and we are adjusting to the next season.
And with this season comes a real challenge for our waste free lifestyle with kids: Halloween.
For years when my kids were younger, I was able to keep them away from trick or treating. We would have parties with friends and dress up and eat treats... but those years are behind us now (if you have young ones - it's not too late). At a certain point, they just can't deny that urge to go trick or treating - and I don't really want to deny them of the fun of going from house to house and being a part of a mob of dressed up kids.
Last year one thing that stood out in my memory was how consumed the children have become with getting as much candy as then can, as quickly as possible. I was noticing that other kids weren't even saying "trick or treat", let alone "please" or "thank you". In this age of staring at electronic devices all day and not having to look eye to eye with others, so many kids have lost their manners. I mean come on - these people are giving you free candy - at least look at them and thank them!
Anyhow, there are many aspects of Halloween that make me think. There are the costumes, the purchasing of unhealthy and over packaged sugar treats made by large corporations that do little good for our environment, and then there is the trash.
But let's start with the costumes.
I generally try to get creative with helping my kids pull together costumes. I've made some from scratch in the past, used things from the dress up box, shopped at thrift stores and even bought new over the years. If I had been thinking more creatively, I probably could have even avoided buying the new costume (I feel like this has maybe only even happened once).
This year is proving to be a bit trickier for him... especially since he changes his mind once a week. Last week he was going to be a ninja, so I was scoping out black shirts and pants and looking for some nice black cloth to turn into a ninja mask. But this week he wants to be Han Solo. Stay tuned for this exciting decision.
He hasn't decided what he's going to be this year, I guess it's hard to top that.
My daughter, however, collaborated with a friend and made a cool costume out of an old shirt and some other supplies. Her costumer was pretty creative as well (she was Thing 2).
I just heard about this really cool idea that I would totally take part in if I was the type to buy Halloween costumes, it's called national costume swap day and it happens to be tomorrow! Have you heard of this? It's a great idea... but why not create a costume swap with some friends any time? I encourage everyone to think like this regularly.
Ok, let's move on now to the candy and the trash. The truth is, I don't have enough energy to go into the issue of small individually wrapped sugar snacks that we all know we shouldn't be giving to kids. Don't get me wrong, I love good chocolate just as much as the next person (except my oldest child, who doesn't really like chocolate at all...) but I am really struggling with the waste that this holiday produces. I'm certainly not going to deprive my kids of their trick or treat experience... but I'm on the fence still about what to do about all of the trash that will come of it! If anyone has ANY suggestions out there (other than banning trick or treating), I'm all ears. Meanwhile, my best plan of action so far is this:
This year, I want my kids to save every single wrapper and every piece of trash from their Halloween candy. I want them first to recognize how much waste this holiday produces, and then I want them to find something creative to do with the trash instead of just throwing it away.
Sadly (and luckily), we don't get any trick or treaters at our house, so we won't have to worry about handing anything out... but what if we did? What are the best waste free options out there? There are always apples... or fresh baked mini muffins... worse case scenario, I would maybe (MAYBE) buy some all natural candies or lollipops made by a company that I feel good supporting and hand those out...
What are your thoughts on this holiday?