With October just about here, my kids have been exploring different ideas for Halloween costumes and trying to narrow down what exactly they want to be. Last year was one of the first years we actually went and bought a costume, just for the sake of our schedules. In all honesty, I really hated buying a one-time use costume JUST for Halloween, but alas, I had run out of time to think up a good idea for them.
This year, though, I am back to planning ahead and piecing together a great costume for Halloween. One of the reasons I love doing this for Halloween is I like a good challenge in terms of creating. I also love getting my kids involved in making something together. Not to mention how wasteful so many of the one-time use costumes seem to be.
What’s even more than the costume is decor and treats that get handed out. I find that I have to be really choosy when it comes to decor to make sure I’m not buying something made of plastic or heavy metals. I usually buy just one small item a year to add to my collection, and then every year I reuse items from the previous year. It makes it easier to manage when I’m storying it in the off-season and it keeps me from over-purchasing.
I was once a serial seasonal decorator and bought hoards of clearanced out holiday decor at the change of the season. It was something I didn’t even think about, however, now I really limit what I bring into the house in terms of decor and “stuff”. I’m also more aware of what types of things I’m decorating my house with. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years of educating myself on a healthy house, what we keep inside our homes really matters to our health.
Another part of Halloween is the darn candy. Personally, I really don’t like candy (yes, I’m definitely THAT mom). I feel like candy is the biggest waste of “treats”. When Halloween rolls around I feel that it’s just the start of a constant stream of candy entering our house until Easter. We ration out the pieces that have the fewest artificial dyes and sweeteners, but there’s still plenty to go around it seems like.
Over the summer we completely cut artificial dyes from my younger daughter’s diet, and I’m anticipating a tricky Halloween season this year navigating what she can and can’t have. At four, she understands that she shouldn’t have these additives, but she still wants them and feels like it’s not fair that other kids can have a treat she cannot.
As I was dreading the thought of explaining why she can’t have most of the treats in her treat bag, I came up with an idea that I was really excited about. I think this year we might try a “Candy Trade-In” with my kids. The idea is that they trade in their candy for a toy, books or outing. That way they know the candy is going to be gone and instead, they get to either do something or pick out something they want. This also eliminates the question of a Halloween treat after dinner every night.
Store bought costumes are not only expensive for the quality, but they also contain flame retardants. I’ll be honest, in Minnesota often times costumes are worn OVER winter coats and so this fact doesn’t exactly matter. However, there are so many indoor trick or treating events here that kids are in fact wearing these costumes next to their skin.
On a different note, these costumes are made of synthetic fibers that don’t break down all that easily over time. In fact, they’re the types of fibers that we find polluting oceans and other natural resources. Cotton or wool naturally breaks down over time, but the materials that costumes are made out of (rayon, polyester, etc.), are man made and don’t return to the earth in a natural form.
Piecing together your own costume is one of the best ways to avoid this. A lot of times we have clothing items or costume items that will work as part of a costume and simply buy or add a few minor details.
Facepaint: Any component of face paint that is on the skin will get absorbed into the body and eventually into the bloodstream. This non-toxic face paint is a great option for safely adding flare to your kids’ costumes.
FAVORITE PICK FOR NATURAL FACE PAINT
DIY or BUST: Not only are one time use costumes often wasteful, they are also made of synthetic materials that are often coated with flame retardants and other chemical components adding sheen and texture. Making your own from natural materials like cardboard, natural fabric and items of clothing can be a much more economical way to go. Plus, it can be really fun to put together a costume rather than just buy a whole kit.
Pinterest: Pinterest is my go-to source for puting together costumes for my kids and our family. I have found complex costume ideas and super simple tutorials on costumes. Plus it’s a great place to look for ideas if you haven’t narrowed it down yet.
Decorating for Halloween doesn’t have to break the bank, but it also doesn’t have to include a lot of plastic and heavy metals either. There are really great ways to decorate for the holidays and still have a minimalist approach to it. Sometimes the simplest decorations are the ones that make the biggest statement.
Natural Elements: Wood, glass, ceramic, cotton and other natural materials are ideal when it comes to decorating. Often times decor made of these material choices are actually better looking and more durable anyways. I love being able to put away my decorations to bring out again next year (and have them look just as good!). Plastics contain plasticizers that can contribute to problems with the endocrine system as well as the reproductive system.
Avoiding plastic where you can is always best, and if it means buying decor that’s made of more natural elements, it’s an easy place to make a switch.
Diffuser Blends: I love using fall diffuser blends to make my home feel really cozy. I love this option in comparison to air fresheners for so many reasons. The first is that air fresheners contain chemical solutions to create fragrances. Even if they have a “natural smell” such as lavender or vanilla, it rarely is actually FROM lavender essential oil or vanilla bean. Instead, a chemical formula is created to create a smell that mimics these scents.
These chemicals that create scents are never disclosed as they are a proprietary blend that is protected by trade secret. Unfortunately, the chemicals that are used to create synthetic fragrances are actually quite harmful to our health, as studies have started to show. They disrupt everything from the endocrine system, hormone production and reproductive systems.
On the vast opposite end, the pure essential oils that are used in diffuser blends are derived from plants and often help support the immune system and can even help with emotional wellness.
Below are my favorite Halloween blends:
- 2 drops Pine
- 2 drops frankincense
- 1 drop patchouli
- 1 drop lavender
- 4 frankincense
- 2 drops cinnamon
- 2 drops orange
Plants: Plants and especially fall flowers are SUCH a great way to add decor to your house without adding chemicals or toxins to your home. In fact, most plants actually help purify and clean the air through the natural process of reducing carbon monoxide from the air. I personally love adding chrysanthemums to our house in the fall, but you could add other plants both inside and outside depending on your climate.
Plants are an exceptional way to add color and beauty to your home decor without introducing potential chemicals and toxins that may off gas.
TREATS TO HAND OUT
The last piece of this Halloween health puzzle is the treats that get handed out all night long. I wish my kids didn’t end up coming home with such a haul of candy every year, but that’s just how it goes in a kid-friendly neighborhood.
I’ve tried to start buying things other than the full on sugary-candy mixes over the past few years, but even then it gets expensive or really difficult to have enough. One of my favorite ideas was one of our neighbors who has a college age son started letting her trick-or-treaters pick from a box of his old small (think Happy Meal toys) toys. Of course, to my kids this was WAY better than candy and they remember going to her house that year.
While we don’t have that much we could give away, there are alternatives to buying a bag of candy and handing it out: