It’s almost time for Halloween, with all it’s chocolate, costumes, and tricks. As a farmer, nutritionist, and mother, I thought I’d share some thoughts on how you can make your holiday a little more sustainable, and still have a lot of fun.
1. Boycott Cheap Chocolate. Those miniatures, peanut butter cups, and crunch bars are likely made with slave chocolate. Yes, that’s right! The companies who produce cheap chocolate are the ones who are buying the beans from West Africa. Most chocolate that is produced there is harvested by children, who have been lured or kidnapped into slavery, fed terribly, with no access to medical care or education. By purchasing these bags of chocolate, you are helping to support these practices. Check out the post and lecture I gave at the University of California, Berkeley if you’d like to learn more, watch The Dark Side of Chocolate, and check out CNN’s Freedom Project. Fortunately, you don’t have to boycott Halloween all together. You can buy organic, fair trade chocolate from Equal Exchange (they have very cute mini versions of their chocolate), Divine Mini Chocolates, and Barefoot Provisions.
2. Employ the Switch Witch. Have you ever wondered why cold and flu season seems to start in November? My theory is that this is the beginning of the sugar holidays. Nobody needs constant doses of sugary chocolate and candy. I can’t remember where I heard of the magical Switch Witch, but in case you haven’t heard either, she comes and takes your candy and switches it out for a present. Brilliant! Now smart person decided to sell an actual doll and story, similar to Elf on the Shelf. I wish I thought of it first! It worked like a gem when our kids were younger. They much preferred a playmobil or other toy instead of the candy. Now that that are a bit older, I just tell them they can eat a few pieces and then they know they have to hand it over. I know you can donate it to the troops, but honestly, the troops don’t need candy any more than our kids do. My husband usually pick out a few of our favorite pieces, then we simply toss the rest in the garbage.
3. Get Creative with Costumes. I know you’re busy, but there are better alternatives to those junky Made in China masks from the grocery store. There are so many cool ideas on Pinterest for making your own simple, low budget costumes. This one was my favorite, because of it’s resourcefulness, humor, and cheap cost:
If you’d like to buy something, check out this super adorable one I found on Etsy after just a couple of seconds of searching, and it’s only $12.
4. Toast Your Pumpkin Seeds. If you’ve never tried it before, it might seem intimidating to roast your pumpkin seeds after you’ve taken them out, but they’re a tasty snack and kids love them! I like to simply put them in a bowl, remove as much of the orange goo as possible, then sprinkle them with 1 TBS coconut oil and 1 tsp sea salt. I roast them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. If you’d like a little spice, check out this recipe from She Wears Many Hats:
5. Feed Your Pumpkin to the Pigs. Why toss your old, carved pumpkin in the garbage on November 1st when you could find a farmer who would gladly accept it. Pigs LOVE pumpkins. So do chickens. Another option if you can’t find a hungry animal is to add it to a compost pile.
Do you have any other ideas to share?