Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. We love decorating and dressing up. Below is a roundup of some of the best ways to create a non-toxic Halloween.
Between the candy, toxicants in costumes, and heavy metals found in face paint, Halloween can be a very toxin-filled holiday.
Besides reducing toxins, we vote with our dollars for the world we want to live in. By supporting companies that are non-toxic, we are voting for a healthier world. I realize that not everyone can do this, so do the best you can do with what you can. If that means buying safer face paint instead of face paint with heavy metals, that is an easy switch (that likely doesn’t differ in cost).
So let’s get into non-toxic Halloween costumes, face paint, and candy. The great news is that there are safer alternatives for all of these. I’ll also share what our family does on Halloween.
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Toxins Found in Halloween Costumes, Trick or Treat Bags, and Face Paint
Many toxins are found in Halloween costumes and gear. HealthyStuff tested 105 types of Halloween gear and found PVC, phthalates, and flame retardants.
Toxins Found in Halloween Costumes
PVC – is commonly found in Halloween costumes and masks. PVC often contains lead and phthalates. Phthalates are known endocrine disrupters. Skip PVC plastic costumes as well as face masks.
Flame Retardants – flame retardants can be found in both costumes and trick-or-treat bags. If something is labeled flame-resistant, it likely contains chemical flame retardants rather than naturally flame-resistant material. So skip all items that say flame resistant.
Flame retardants are linked to lower IQ, endocrine disruption, thyroid disruption, and some cancers.
Heavy Metals – heavy metals, including lead, are often found in play jewelry, metal decorative items, decorative appliques, etc. They can also be found in other parts of costumes as well.
There are the occasional news stories where shipments of Halloween costumes are found to have high levels of lead. But, the worse part is you wouldn’t even know if that was the costume your kids were wearing or not!
Watch out for labeling that says intended for children over 14. This labeling is a tricky way of stating that there are heavy metals, often lead, in the product. For example, I was looking for a witch hat one year and came across that labeling. I immediately put it down and knew that it had toxins.
Products designed for children under 12 have more stringent requirements for heavy metals and toxins. However, that doesn’t mean they are free of such toxins, just that they are supposed to have lower levels.
There are quite a few toxins to be concerned about in Halloween costumes. Being aware of materials, reading labels, and letting your nose guide you can all help (if the costume stinks, skip it!).
Below you will find safer alternatives for Halloween costumes.
Toxins Found in Face Paint
Heavy metals, including lead and cadmium, are often found in face paint. Breast Cancer Fund tested 48 different face paints marketed for children for heavy metals. Almost half, 21 different brands, contained some level of heavy metals. Some brands contained four different heavy metals.
Does All of This Matter When It’s Just One Day Out of The Year?
I think so! Again, we vote with our dollars, so when we support companies making products with toxins, we will get more products with toxins.
When you buy safer Halloween costumes, your children can play with them for years to come.
There isn’t a safe heavy metal level for kids, so it still doesn’t mean it is safe, even if it’s just one day.
There are so many great, low-tox Halloween options that it’s easy to make better swaps.
Safer, Low-Tox Halloween Options
Creating a non-toxic Halloween doesn’t have to be hard, it’s just a switch in buying behaviors and expectations.
Non-Toxic Halloween Costumes
Look for natural materials like cotton, organic cotton, silk, and wool. When you buy costumes made of natural materials, they will last longer and can be used for play for years to come.
Some of the best places to find non-toxic costumes are:
- Sarah’s Silks
- Bella Luna
- Hanna Andersson Organic Halloween Pajamas – they often have firemen, skeletons, pirates, cats, pumpkins, etc. You can also use their basic pajamas and add accessories to create a costume.
- Etsy – you can find so many options on Etsy. So even if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for, someone might be willing to make it for you.
- DIY/Homemade – you don’t have to be super crafty to make Halloween costumes. It might require learning a new skill though. If you don’t have a sewing machine you can ask on your local Buy Nothing group to see if anyone has one they are willing to part with. I buy organic fabric, wool felt, and organic yarn, or GOTS certified organic yarn, to make our Hallween costumes.
If your costume needs nail polish, Poofy Organics makes great non-toxic nail polish options.
Non-Toxic Face Paint
Go-Green Face Paint is the only face paint that I can fully recommend. They make a water-based organic face paint that is made in the USA. Go Green state they are lead free, and I have also seen independent testing confirming that they are lead and cadmium free.
Tip: Coconut oil works well to remove face paint!
We all grew up eating Skittles, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Gummy Bears, and more. While I can’t compare the ingredients in today’s candy with that of when I was younger, a lot has changed since then. GMOs have been introduced as well as the number of chemicals in production.
Buying organic candy instead of conventional candy is better for you, the children eating the candy, and the environment. When we vote with our dollars and purchase organic candy, manufacturers see this and make more organic candy. It’s a win-win!
Conventional Candy is Filled With Toxins
Sadly, conventional candy is filled with toxins linked to a host of health issues and behavioral issues. Some of the toxins found in traditional candy are:
GMOs are genetically modified ingredients that are considered Round-up ready. Meaning they can withstand Round-up being sprayed. Round-up is linked to cancer. GMOs are found in candy in sugar, corn syrup, and soy products like soy lecithin.
Artificial Dyes (Red 40, Blue 1 Lake, for example) are often derived from petroleum. These are linked to hyperactivity in some children and some artificial dyes are known carcinogens.
Titanium Dioxide the European Union’s food safety agency recently stated it is no longer considered safe for consumption.
Corn Syrup and other Partially Hydrogenated Oils are unhealthy oils linked to health concerns, including heart disease.
Artificial Flavors are often are derived from toxins like crude oil or coal tar. Artificial flavors are elusive, and the ingredients don’t have to be disclosed, so you don’t know what you are eating.
Preservatives include sodium benzoate, polysorbate 60, 65, or 80, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).
What To Look For in Organic Candy
Look for certified organic candy which ensures that it is non-GMO. Of course, you still want to read labels but know that organic candy doesn’t mean it’s perfectly healthy. It’s just much better than the conventional alternative.
I LOVE going trick or treating with my kids and coming across a house that has organic candy. I also have people tell me that they appreciate the organic candy and non-candy options we hand out.
I also buy candy specially for my kids that we trade in the trick-or-treat candy for at the end of the night. This is one of the easiest things to do to help create a non-toxic Halloween for your kids.
Organic Candy Brands
- Yum Earth has a good selection of Halloween themed candy
- Black Forest gummy bears and worms
- Torie and Howard
- Lovely Organic
- Hu Chocolate
- Alter Eco
- Theo’s Chocolate
- Justin’s Nut Butter Cups
- Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels
- Annie’s Fruit Snacks (while technically not candy, these are sweeter than some of the candy options listed here!)
- Wholesome Organic
- Surf Sweets by Wholesome Organic
The Teal Pumpkin Project
Offering non-food options for trick or treaters is another excellent option. This allows children with allergies to participate and feel included in what they pick. The Teal Pumpkin Project lets families know that non-food treats are also available at your house.
You can find more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project on their website.
There are so many great non-candy options for Halloween.
- Silicone Slap Bracelets
- Halloween Pencils
- Mini Halloween Coloring Books
- Halloween Stamps
What Our Family Does on Halloween
Our family tradition is that I make our Halloween costumes. It’s been a lot of fun, and my kids love it. We use the costumes to dress up for years to come!
I offer organic candy and non-candy items for trick or treaters. I always get positive comments, at least from the parents, that they are thankful for options. I also always put in some boxes of raisins into the mix too. Honestly, the kids love the non-candy options too. The slap bracelets always go first!
After we are done trick-or-treating, I have bags ready for them with special treats and some non-candy options. If they get any organic candy while they are out, they can keep those too.
We don’t do the Switch Witch, buy toys, or do anything elaborate. Instead, I let them know the plan in advance and that they will get a bag of treats (not a huge bag) when we get home.
I also try and make fun Halloween treats that they look forward to, like these homemade “Rolos” from Oh She Glows.
My kids have never complained or been disappointed about not eating conventional candy.
They have so much fun on Halloween, and I would say their favorite part is just dressing up and spending time thinking about what they want to be. But then, of course, just the experience of being out on Halloween is so fun.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Non-Toxic Halloween
I take voting with our dollars seriously, and I also take toxins seriously. With a few simple changes in behaviors, we can support companies making better products and provide a healthy, non-toxic Halloween for your kids (and the kids that trick or treat at our homes).
I hope these ideas have been helpful for your family. I would love to hear what your family does to create a low-tox / non-toxic Halloween!
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