Making Halloween Green And Fair

This year I’ve already strayed from my “sustainability principles” and bought my daughter Grace a brand-new Halloween costume from Old Navy.  I couldn’t resist as it was a butterfly costume. Grace is obsessed with butterflies, so my impulse to see my daughter giggle with delight overturned my best efforts to have a green Halloween.  The costume is basically a sweat suit with wings and antennae, so I figure she can play in it all winter long. At least it will get worn more than once.

Still I think I have some good ideas for making your (and my!) Halloween a little bit greener and, of course, fairer. My mom was the queen of homemade Halloween costumes when I was growing up. Here are a few green costume ideas:

  • Shop at Goodwill for costumes. I think nowadays they even sell actual used costumes, but when I was a kid a frumpy red housecoat became Pippy Longstocking’s battered dress. If I had the time I could have bought an old sweatsuit for Grace and made her a butterfly costume myself.
  • Borrow from friends with older kids. Last year Grace also had an Old Navy costume, but it was a secondhand ladybug costume borrowed from my friend Jill’s little girl who is exactly one year older than Grace.
  • Shop at consignment stores. They have lots of gently used costumes still in great shape.
  • Make your own! I remember being proud as a peacock of the princess costume my mom made me, complete with aluminum covered paper crown and homemade purple cape. I fully intend to do this with Grace at some point, it just hasn’t happened in her first two Halloweens!

Halloween is the perfect time to promote fair trade chocolate. Conventional Halloween treats are not only made from bad, waxy chocolate, most are made by companies who operate unethically when it comes to how they pay and treat their cocoa farmers.  Fair trade chocolate comes from farmer-owned cooperatives, mainly in West Africa, plus the chocolate is so good you’ll be glad if there are leftovers.  Last year I had a hard time finding mini-sized fair trade chocolates but settled on these gold coins from Global Exchange.

This year though, fair trade Halloween chocolate options abound! I got in on time this year to order Reverse Trick or Treating kits. It’s too late now to order the kits, but keep it in mind for next year. It’s not too late though to order your own mini-size fair trade chocolates from Global Exchange, Equal Exchange, or Divine Chocolate. Personally I’m partial to Equal Exchange’s mini dark chocolate bars, but since most kids prefer milk chocolate I’ll either go with the gold coins from last year or these foil-wrapped milk chocolate eyeballs from Divine Chocolate.

Do you have a green or fair Halloween tip to share? If so post it here!

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