There are some large, and quite shocking, imbalances between having fun on Halloween and staying green. These include childhood obesity, poverty and working conditions in developing nations, and the ever growing problem of litter and waste.
Thankfully, in our second Halloween related post this year, Custom Earth Promos is here to once again teach you how to turn Halloween into “Ecoween.”
In our last post, How to Have a Happy “Ecoween” and Go Green This October, we gave you five tips on staying green this October. One of those tips was keeping your candy eco-friendly. Sadly, unless you are holding a bunch of green jelly beans, it’s hard to know how to do that yourself. This article helps you stay away from being the house that got egged for giving out apples, or TP’ed for being the person who gave out mini boxes of raisins.
One Major Problem
Complex corporate structures make it hard to know what candy companies are really up to.
According to CSRHub, Mars, the largest confectioner in the world, is in the sixty-second percentile among food companies for corporate social responsibility, environmental, social, and governmental measurements. CSRHub is a website dedicated to transparent ratings and ranking of 18,530 different companies from 132 different countries, driven by 548 different industry-leading corporate social responsibility, and environmental, social, and governance data sources.
Nestlé earns an average of the eight-seventh and-a-half percentile, being in the ninety-fifth across all business areas and Nestlé Malaysia being in the eightieth (at the time of writing). Unfortunately there isn’t enough data about Nestlé Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast in French) to provide rankings, but the US Department of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs notes this West African country in their 2017 report on the Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. This includes the harvesting of coffee and cocoa, sometimes even as a result of human trafficking.
The scariest part of Halloween may just be the treats offered at your front door!
Not all commercially produced candy is so horrifying.
There are some slightly healthier snacks that still feel like treats to kids. They come individually wrapped for easy distribution.
CLIF makes twisted fruit ropes that have the texture of fruit leather and come in multiple fun flavors to offer a gluten free solution to Twizzlers. They’re nut free, made with fruit puree, and don’t feature a lot of the ingredients and additives that parents try to stay away from (such as high fructose corn syrup.)
Dagoba is another brand you can feel good about giving to a trick-or-treater. Their chocolate is made with organic, Non-GMO Project verified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao. They also have very strict measures in place to prevent cross contamination when it comes to allergens. They also support female cocoa farmers in South America through their One For All Cacao Project. Buy a pack of assorted gems and help support small, family-owned farms in South America and Africa today.
Nowadays, the FDA advises against eating anything not commercially wrapped, and not to touch it until it gets home where it can be inspected by a parent. Whether the FDA has succumbed to paranoia, or lobbying from candy companies, one thing is certain: tampered candy always turns out to be a myth. The only documented case of public candy poisoning happened in 1959. A dentist in California gave out laxatives, but nobody today knows why.
Homemade treats are both healthier than commercial candy, and put community back into the holiday. They also provide a safe, sweet treat to anyone with food allergies. Making them yourself is the best way to know they aren’t contaminated.
Wrap the homemade treats in something to keep them safe inside trick-or-treaters candy carriers. Plastic wrap too damaging to the environment for you? Try to Japanese art of Furoshiki or the Korean tradition of Bojagi. You can get Korean artist Patricia Lee’s BOBO Wrapping Scarves online.
Candy has long been widely accepted as the only treat that avoids you a trick, but it isn’t a very old tradition.
Trick-or-treating is a twentieth-century invention, and truth be told: kids today usually receive more candy than they can eat! As late as the 1950s, children were likely to receive coins on Halloween. Coins may not be as interesting to modern kids, but suitably interesting prizes may be valued more than yet another chocolate bar.
Nonfood items such as boxes of crayons will always get used up by little ones. Mommy blog Mommy to Max offers a review of non-toxic, organic crayons; most of them are made in the USA. Seed packets are another especially green, and unusual, item. The best plants are indoor ones, since few outdoor plants sprout after Halloween in most states. If you can’t find any good plants, you can offer items made of seed paper. These are items such as bookmarks, paper shapes, and even gardening kits that grow wildflowers after they’re buried. You can also offer phthalate-free glow sticks. These are not only fun, but by being phthalate-free, they are non-toxic, and they keep kids visible. You can even increase the fun by letting kids dig around a toy chest for their own prize; just try to avoid cheap plastic toys destined for landfills.