By Analiese Paik
Most Halloween candy sold at retail is made with low quality, unhealthy ingredients, including GMO sweeteners and bulk chocolate that may be tainted by child or slave labor, practices that unfortunately are still pervasive in the chocolate industry. How do we enjoy Halloween without succumbing to the allure of low-priced, bulk candy that doesn’t align with our values? Here are 4 ways to green Halloween that have worked well in my Fairfield neighborhood.
- Buy bags of individually wrapped, single serve portions of organic and Fair Trade chocolates, treats, raisins, or pretzels. WARNING: These are expensive so look for sales. Even on sale, organic and Fair Trade chocolate candy will run about 50 cents apiece, but the kids are delighted to see them and they are by far the most popular choice among trick-or-treaters at my home. Buying Fair Trade certified foods is a consumer vote against unfair and inhumane labor practices, and choosing organic is not only the best way to avoid pesticide residue, but also a guarantee that foods are free of sugar from genetically modified sugar beets, GMO corn derivatives, and otherwise undesirable ingredients. True, bulk bags can make us wince just thinking about the waste from excess packaging, but they’re mandatory in today’s society where we look askance at anything unwrapped or wrapped at home. Whole Foods, Stop ‘n Shop, Trader Joe’s and Shop Rite all carry organic or Fair Trade Halloween candy and treats including Unreal Candy, which is made mostly from organic ingredients.
- Skip the treats and opt for small trinkets instead. I find that tattoos and very popular. Finding a small and fun yet inexpensive top, decal, puzzle, tatoo or Halloween-themed pencil is easy at Party City where mega value packs are sold. As for how green these treasure are, I can’t say, but they’re better in my mind that adding more sugar to an already sugared up child.
- Offer state quarters, which can be obtained from a local bank. They can be distributed without fear, won’t go to waste, and might just help complete a child’s state quarter collection or spark an interest in collecting.
- If you want to offer a healthy food option, hand out apples. I feel protective of the local apples my family picked, but purchasing bulk bags of organic apples from Trader Joe’s would work well.
Offer trick-or-treaters a choice between at least two of the above and you’re bound to delight everyone, from the youngest and cutest in their Disney costumes to the older kids aiming to frighten and gross you out!
How will you be greening your Halloween this year?