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By Larraine Roulston:

Be EEEKO friendly!! For the Halloween hype, parents can green the orange and black treats, costumes and parties.

Dressing up can become much more creative by looking in your closets for old clothes, hats or fabrics. A trip to a thrift store may also provide some good choices. Avoid cheap costume jewelry, painted pearls and trinkets, since they have been known to contain lead.

54470371764ec.imageAs masks have proven to be somewhat dangerous for vision, we have turned to more face painting … with scary stuff lurking in the ingredients. Increasing awareness about harmful chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and personal care products should cause us to step back from the merriment to inquire about this colorful “goop.” What’s more, when it is time to retire the little goblins, witches, rock stars and princesses to bed, all those chemicals get washed into our water supply, possibly affecting our drinking water and polluting the rivers, lakes and eventually the ocean.

Instead, simply search your kitchen cupboards to find safer alternatives. A small bit of avocado can be used for green, and ketchup or jam for red. For brown, cream up some cocoa powder or use a chocolate sauce. Mixing icing sugar with water would do for white. A teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in a cup of warm water makes a suitable hair gel. Talk to your children about the risks of chemical exposure: informed youngsters will still embrace the mystery and fun of the night.

halloweenAnother frightening aspect of Halloween is “The Party” where billions of dollars are spent on cheap decorations, food in non-recyclable packaging and party supplies that generally end up in landfills. If you are hosting a party, take up the challenge: go for Zero Waste. Decorate with nature by using branches and leaves. Make paper decorations that can be either reused or recycled. The fresh aroma of homemade brownies and popcorn will set the tone as well. Use china plates. Eliminate balloons, straws and disposable cutlery. Set out recycling containers and pails to collect food and any paper products for composting.

To obtain that spooky mood requires lighting. Beeswax candles are a safer option than paraffin candles made from petroleum that burn less cleanly. LED lights last as much as 133 times longer than incandescent bulbs and cost 80% less to use. Solar lighting for your stairway or entryway is the best choice.

When you purchase handouts, opt for those using recycled content, which can be recycled again. Selecting Fair Trade chocolate is another conscious decision that will inform parents about fairness for the growers in the countries who work hard for a living.

Larraine authors the Pee Wee at Castle Compost series www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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