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Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Avoiding the Perils of the Halloween Trail

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

When I was growing up, the main thing we worried about at Halloween was a non-packaged item that might be given to us by “freaks.”I do find it somewhat ironic that, of all things, we were warned about apples.Back then we weren’t concerned about genetically modified or organic varieties of apples.

No, then we were worried that the apple might have had a razor blade slipped inside.But these days, I do worry at Halloween.I worry about what’s beneath the wrappers of these so-called candy treats.They’re not quite as sweet as they might seem.

 

For many kids Halloween is a night of binge eating on candies loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes and preservatives. For most parents I know, Halloween is a nightmare… binge eating, gluttony, poor behavior, upset stomachs and more resulting from too much junk.

So many parents don’t want to be perceived as a “Debbie Downer” so they go along – telling themselves that it’s just one night,  when in fact, the candy haul from Halloween can last well into the New Year.

I’m here to report that you don’t have to settle for candy packed with ingredients that are known to cause issues for kids. Say no to increased sugar cravings and behavioral troubles.

Did you know that regular candy is loaded with ingredients that can compromise your child’s immune system, destroy her concentration, cause hyperactivity and ADHD-like symptoms? Many other ingredients can cause gastro-intestinal issues and inflammation.

For example, artificial dyes are used in this country (while illegal elsewhere in the world) and have been linked to allergies, hyperactivity and more, according to a study published in Lancet.

It doesn’t have to be this way.Parents, take heed.This year your candy cheat sheet is here.  It’s your survival guide for this Halloween.

If you’re new to the revolution to “green” Halloween then you may want to start by simply buying a different candy or treat alternative.Start with something that’s free of artificial dyes and preservatives,  go non-GMO, or select an organic item.  Maybe discard the candy altogether and look for a treat alternative – something that isn’t technically a candy and has more nutrients than most candy.

Consider hosting a Green Halloween party to keep the kids in.Don’t sacrifice any of the fun but control the treats and give them better alternatives!

If your kids don’t want to give up trick-or-treating altogether, then do a ‘Switch Witch’ or ‘Candy Buy Back’ where you trade them their regular treats for candy that you buy that’s a healthier choice.

Be sure to provide a storage jar or box where they can see their candy and select an item a day, to be eaten after they’ve eaten a well-balanced meal.  Use this to teach portion control and responsible eating habits as well as to monitor the amount of candy consumed. This helps you deal with excessive tendencies before they turn problematic.

From here on, the fun is all yours!  Enjoy Halloween, without any unnecessary frights!

By Amy Ziff

This post previously appeared on Mommybites.com

Amy Ziff is the Founder & Chief Capidealist at Veritey. When she’s not vetting products she’s usually found playing with her 3 kids, jumping on their favorite trampoline from Trampolinea, or finding ways to get fruit stains out of clothes naturally!

For more Hallowen thoughts  follow us on Facebook facebook.com/greenhalloween or Twitter @greenhalloween

Green Halloween for Teens

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Halloween can be a tricky time for parents with teens. Once filled with excitement for costumes, treats, and family activities, teens may become embarrassed by Halloween traditions. It doesn’t have to be that way though! Green Halloween can help you reinvigorate your teen’s excitement for Halloween while also promoting a healthy and eco-friendly Halloween for all.

Instead of regular old trick-or-treating, suggest reverse trick-or-treating to your teen. The idea is that for every candy they receive at a house, they give a healthy, eco-friendly treat back and inform the household of the benefits of greening up Halloween. Rather than just going through the motions for candy, your teen may feel an added sense of purpose in going door to door to spread the green initiative. You can also try candy trading with your teen. Allow your teen a certain amount of candy to keep and offer incentives like DVDs, clothes, or something they’ve been pining for depending on how much candy they haul in. Programs like Halloween Candy Buy-Back will transfer your excess candy to Operation Gratitude, which sends the candy to troops overseas.

Your teen doesn’t want to trick-or-treat this year? That’s quite all-right, there are still plenty of Halloween activities teens enjoy. Why not host a scary movie marathon? Encourage your teen’s friends to bring healthy, eco-friendly snacks or even donations for charities like Change for Children or UNICEF. If you’re looking to attract a spectrum of ages, start out with a not-so-scary Halloween- themed movie and work your way up to a full-blown fright fest later on in the night. Another fun way for your teen to participate in the Halloween festivities is to create a haunted house in the front yard. Like the movie marathon, encourage donations and healthy snacks. Have your teen and his or her friends make spooky DIY costumes to frighten participants for a good cause!

Halloween doesn’t have to be boring for your teen. Talking to your teen about greening up Halloween can change their perspective on the holiday and give them a sense of purpose. Whether he or she decides to trick-or-treat for good, create a haunted house, host a scary movie marathon, or do something different like a air compressor guide by PAN, your teen will begin to re-embrace a holiday that they once cherished while also promoting green values and healthy living!

By Peter Piscia

For more family ideas follow us on Facebook facebook.com/greenhalloween or Twitter @greenhalloween

Candy Experiments

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Need a way to get rid of that trick-or-treating candy? Just squash it. Squash it to learn about air pressure or the molecular structure that is.

Loralee Leavitt’s book Candy Experiments is a great science activity book for kids. Leavitt uses candy as the subject to study a variety of scientific principles. This journey began when Leavitt’s four year-old daughter was sorting through her Halloween candy and asked, “What would happen if I put these Nerds in water?” This simple question gave birth to the website Candy Experiments, where many of the book’s activities come from.

The book is separated into nine segments; Secret Ingredients, Color, Sink and Float, Blow It Up, Squash It, Hot and Cold, Dissolve This, Crystals, and Sticky, so that your child can explore all the possible facets of the candy. With 70 different experiments, the book can be used throughout the year, and is applicable to Valentine’s and Easter treats. The book is also very visually engaging with bright, glossy pages and photographs of the various chemical reactions and transformations.

Not only is Candy Experiments a great way to find a healthy alternative to gorging on Halloween candy bars, but the book also makes science fun and accessible. It is important to engage your child in science from a young age. According to Students First, in an assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 15-year-olds in the U.S. placed 21st out of 30 countries in science performance. The study of science not only develops critical thinking skills and sparks interest in possible career paths, but children with a grasp on science will be better equipped to find solutions to the environmental problems we face. So encourage your child to discover how Pixi Sticks cool water with an endothermic reaction, that knowledge might just help them later in life (and get rid of some of that Halloween candy).

Candy Experiments has been featured in publications like Parents, Mothering, and kidshealth.org. Leavitt also regularly performs these experiments at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, and is currently raising funds for the next Festival in April, 2014.

Still want to know what happens when you put Nerds in water? You’ll just have to read Candy Experiments to find out!

Warning: This book will induce candy cravings.  For some feel-good candy options, check out our twitter party tips and Candy Cheat Sheet.

To learn more about Candy Experiments check them out at facebook.com/loraleeleavittauthor or Twitter @candyexperiment

For book recommendations follow us on Facebook facebook.com/greenhalloween or Twitter @greenhalloween

Tweets & Tips

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

We held recently a twitter party to share healthy Halloween tips. In case you missed it (don’t worry, there were quite a few folks who had to put their little goblins to bed!)  we’ve compiled a list of the best #greenhalloween tricks and treats. Thanks to all our wonderful party-goers for their great suggestions!

 

What to do on Halloween Day / Night

  • Have your child eat a full meal before going out.
  • Make sure your child eats two rainbows of produce two weeks before and after Halloween. Learn more at Today I Ate a Rainbow.
  • Trade candy for Legos or other toys.
  • Bring candy to work the next day (the office my suffer from a sugar high, but the candy is bound to disappear quickly).
  • Pack your own healthy treats for your child to have while walking from house to house. Later, donate the candy s/he acquired.
  • Try reverse Trick or Treating. Instead of taking junky candy, go to your neighbors and give them a fair trade gift. Help empower workers.

Tips for Parties/ Decorations / Costumes

  • Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 10 out of 10 Halloween makeup kits tested contain lead! Stay safe and make your own face paint.
  • Who says piñatas have to be full of candy? Fill that baby up with little prizes!
  • Grow your own pumpkins! Can you get it to be this big?
  • “Disposable?” More like reusable! Wash your plastic cutlery to use for all your parties. Or, try bamboo picnic ware.
  • Need some fun, eco-party inspiration? Try a Healthy Child Party Kit.
Favorite Treats (Recommended by #greenhalloween party friends)

 

For more healthy tips follow us on Facebook facebook.com/greenhalloween or Twitter @greenhalloween

 

2012 Guide to a non-GMO Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

by Corey

We are thrilled and honored to partner with Non-GMO Project again this year to present the 2012 Guide to a non-GMO Halloween!

Offered to parents as a toolkit, the 2012 Guide (pdf) contains a list of Non-GMO Project Verified Halloween treats, such as Endangered Species Chocolates, fun ideas for “treasures” (non-food goodies) and even a healthy recipe from our very own food blogger, Kia Robertson.

Get the facts about “Frankenfoods” and learn more about what actions you can take (throughout the year) to protect your family and planet at NonGMOProject.org. Then, if you live in California, vote yes of Prop 37!

Get the Guide here.

Learn more about GMOs and what you can do to fight “Frankenfoods”! Visit:

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Looking for more ways to green your holidays, celebrations and every-day? Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of  Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®. Connect with Lynn and Corey on Facebook and Twitter.