Preparing your kids for another fun year of trick-or-treating? Let’s make the process less about tricks, and more about treats – especially when it comes to Halloween costumes! Halloween should be safe and fun, without the worry of toxic chemicals in your child's costume.
A few years ago, the Ecology Center conducted a study on products sold at several top retailers – including 44 costumes, 40 accessories, and 22 decorations, as well as party favors. The results of these tests indicated that heavy metals, including lead, as well as flame retardants, organotins, and phthalates were present in a large percentage of Halloween costumes and accessories. These chemicals have been shown to to play a role in respiratory impairment, reproductive problems, neurodevelopmental disorders, hormone disruption – and some could even possibly cause cancer!
So, how do you keep your kids safe from possible harm? We have put together then tips to make this year’s Halloween less scary – and more fun!
Buying your costume?
- Avoid costumes made of PVC or vinyl, both of which are most likely to be contaminated with lead and phthalates. PVC is a flexible plastic that resembles rubber, and is often referred to as the “poison plastic” due to its toxic properties.
- Avoid all costumes with tags that say they are flame resistant/flame retardant.
- Let your nose be a guide! If your costume has plastic or chemical smell, expose them to fresh air for at least a day before letting your kids wear them. This will facilitate the "outgassing" of harmful chemicals.
- Look for used and borrowed costumes, as products tend to outgas chemicals over time.
- Make sure your kids wear an additional layer of clothing underneath their costumes, and that they wash hands after the costumes are off.
Making your own costume?
- Great costumes can be made using clothing at home such as pajamas, suits with hoodies for babies and toddlers. Let your kids get creative in your closet! Click here for more great ideas.
- Halloween accessories such as capes, wands, hats, and shields can be made using art supplies. Let the kids dig in to the left overs from their past art projects!
- Make your own nontoxic face paint fairly easily by mixing natural food-based dyes with body lotion or toothpaste. For example, turmeric can be used to make yellow, beet juice for red, and cabbage or blueberry juice for purple. Many commercial children’s face paints can contain toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and more. Because contaminants like heavy metals aren’t required to be listed on labels, parents often have no way of knowing which face paints are safe.
- Don’t waste money on cheap, plastic trinkets that will quickly clutter your house or end up in the garbage. Some better options for Halloween party favors include stickers, crayons, and books.
- Have your kids decorate pillowcases for candy, or sand pails this Halloween to collect candy.
Kids love candy! Please choose organic non-GMO candies without high fructose corn syrup and artificial food dyes. This quick list will help you pick yummy, yet healthier candy so that your kids can still enjoy their treats!
Have a happy – and healthy – Halloween!
Feature photo (little girl as Pebbles): Heather Nicholson, @cominguprosie
Little girl as Spiderman: Shiva Kashalkar
Little girl as a butterfly: Hannah Gardner, @agreenslateconsulting
Little girl as a lobster: Krystle L., @littletinylearner
What are some other healthy ways that you and your little ones celebrate Halloween? Share with us in the comments!