At Home & Living
Local Mom Promotes “Green Halloween”
Editor's Note: This story was originally published in 2010 and has been updated.
Issaquah mom and family therapist Corey Colwell-Lipson comes by her green cred honestly. She grew up in a home where healthy food was the norm, playing games and doing crafts was the way to have fun, and Halloween meant homemade costumes – “lots of fabric scraps and burlap.”
When she got pregnant, Colwell-Lipson says she became “more aware of toxins everywhere.” Her interest in whole, non-processed foods and concern about obesity and childhood diabetes grew. As her two girls got older and celebrated Halloween, she became concerned about lead in face paints, masks and fake jewelry and off-gassing from vinyl costumes, as well as the abundance of candy.
In 2006, taking her fairy and her princess trick-or-treating, she noticed that they and other neighborhood children were more excited by receiving bubbles, stickers and other non-edible treasures than by traditional candy.
“I started pondering and asking around about green ideas,” Colwell-Lipson says. Working with Whole Foods Market, Overlake Hospital and others, she launched Green Halloween in the Seattle area in 2007, and expanded it nationwide the next year. “It's a complete whirlwind to keep it all going,” she says. This year, several U.S. cities are hosting events.
The centerpiece of the nonprofit organization is its website, www.greenhalloween.org, which has hundreds of ideas for healthy treats, costume swaps, crafts and party activities and a marketplace of green and non-toxic Halloween merchandise. About half of the ideas come from Corey-Lipson and her mother, Lynn Colwell, and half are contributed by other moms, artists and bloggers. Here are some “eek-o-friendly” ideas:
- When it comes to costumes and décor, reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used items or do-it-yourself.
- For goodie bags, match the bag to the costume using something you already own, including purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks, lunch boxes or hats.
- Choose healthier treats. Look for organic candy or honey sticks (honey is not for children younger than 2).
- Choose fun treasures instead of treats. Think of things your child collects in her pockets, such as shells, feathers, pretty stones, stickers, magnets or buttons. Try giving out craft items, books, CD's, little games, coupons, dinner game cards, non-toxic face paints, pencils, finger puppets, shoe laces, pencils, temporary tattoos or soy crayons.
- Walk from house to house instead of driving.
- Consider a neighborhood progressive party, in which kids in costume go to a few houses, each with a different holiday activity.
- Compost pumpkins and other food, including leftover candy (without wrappers).
- Collect candy wrappers and help you kids turn them into gift items such as purses, bracelets and picture frames.
“We wanted to create a website with lots of choices,” Colwell-Lipson says. “We want you to choose what resonates with your family … not us telling you what to do.”
For ideas beyond Halloween, look for the book Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family by Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell. As well, check out the Celebrate Green website for additional tips and ideas for celebrating any occasion.