Mid October Newsletter - Oct 16, 2008
October 'o8 ~ Healthy Halloween Edition ~
Why "treasures" are a healthy treat
Plastic bags of mini Hershey bars and packs of skittles have taken their place in supermarket aisles. Large cardboard sales bins, the perfect size for fort-building, brim with packages of Tootsie pops and Peppermint Patties. You don’t need to check the calendar to know that it’s almost Halloween. Rather than buying the usual mix of conventional candies, you may wish to consider choosing alternatives of the non-edible type for a number of reasons:
Food allergies. About 2.2 million school age children suffer from food allergies. That's a lot of trick-or-treaters for whom consuming conventional goodies may be dangerous.
Six of the eight foods that cause 90% of allergic reactions in the U.S can be found in the typical trick-or-treater’s bag at the end of the night. And even if a piece of candy does not list milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, or soy among it’s ingredients, it may be made in a facility that processes other foods containing those allergens. The Peanut Allergy Avoidance List contains 27 ingredients that indicate the presence of peanut protein. With 3.3 million Americans allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, it is important to think about how and where your edible Halloween hand-outs are made.
Obesity. One of the ingredients found in most Halloween candy can be dangerous to the health of all children. Refined sugar, when consumed in the excess amounts encouraged by a big pile of Halloween loot, puts children at risk for unhealthy weight gain. In just the past thirty years, the number of obese children (aged 2 to 19) has almost tripled. Today, one-third of children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. This translates to 25 million overweight or nearly overweight children and adolescents in the U.S.
Diabetes. One in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Handing out treasures instead of or in addition to low-glycemic treats, like agave sticks, is just one way to keep the fun for kids while also helping to prevent later illness in at least one third of the children on your doorstep.
While these statistics can be overwhelming, they can also be used as inspiration to break old habits and create new traditions. And when better to start than Halloween? Green Halloween® has a fantastic list of healthy treats and treasures to get you started. Once you introduce the idea to kids, you may find that they come up with even more ideas on their own. The moonlit Hallows Eve sky’s the limit!
For more tips and information on raising generations of healthy children, go to www.Treeswing.org.
Keeping your fangs bright
For kids, Halloween spookiness is part of the fun. For dentists, Halloween can be a real nightmare. There is no question that even healthy goodies can be bad for your teeth, which makes trick-or-treating an oral fright - if the right care isn't taken.
Cavities are on the rise among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children aged 2 to 5 and half of those aged 12 to 15. Cavities in baby teeth are not something to take lightly. Kids may lose those teeth to make way for their adult teeth, but early tooth decay is a predictor of future tooth decay.
The large number of children with cavities makes tooth decay “the single most common chronic disease of childhood in the U.S.” according to a Children's Dental Health Project news release. And if that fact is not enough to get you brushing, consider the recent evidence that links heart disease and oral health. Studies suggest that the healthier your teeth are, “the stronger and less disease-prone the heart is.”
So where does that leave us on the sugariest night of the year? There’s no need to turn off your porch light, disconnect your doorbell, and keep your kids indoors. The trick is to provide teeth-friendly alternatives (such as treasures) and to be sure to brush your children's teeth well after eating treats of any kind. Talk to your neighbors about choosing teeth-friendly treats and treasures too—then going door-to-door near your home will give something you and your kids can smile about.
Visit the Green Halloween website or our partners, the Washington Oral Health Foundation, for more information on healthy teeth and healthy kids.
Healthy costumes 101
- Look for costumes made from 100% natural materials such as cotton or silk. Hemp and burlap are child and Earth-healthy and make great costumes.
- Wool is naturally flame retardant (as opposed to many costumes which are sprayed with chemicals to keep them "safe") and is naturally water repellent (which comes in handy if you live in the Northwest!).
- Dress infants in themed cotton onesies with matching hats instead of in polyester costume buntings.
- If you do buy a costume off the rack or from thrift or consignment stores, be sure to wash well before allowing your child to wear it for the night.
- Costume jewelry and accessories such as pumpkin treat carriers often contain chemicals such as lead (a neurotoxin). If you are unsure as to whether an item is safe, have it checked by an expert or find an alternative.
- Avoid masks that cover the face and accessories that go in the mouth, such as fake teeth.
- Avoid most store bought face paints, even when labeled "non-toxic". An easy, make-your own recipe can be found in our new book, Celebrate Green!
The average American consumes 25 pounds of candy per year, most of which is consumed at Halloween.
So if you are going to hand out candy, click here to find out who sells trick-or-treat worthy confections that are better for kids and the planet.
Platinum Pumpkin Level:
Silver Pumpkin Level:
Bronze Pumpkin Level:
The Richards Family
Want to be a Green Halloween® sponsor too? Click here for details.
How to cook up some healthy Halloween fun
Eating is fun, but eating a masterpiece you've created is even better.
So for your upcoming event, how about hosting a Halloween Pizza Bar?
Using whole wheat dough as a base for personal sized pies, offer your little ghoulish guests an assortment of healthy foods sporting Halloween colors: black, orange and of course, green. Yellows and browns add more fall flair.
Make Halloween themed images like jack-o-lanterns or simply enjoy the display of color. Either way, we're sure this activity will be enjoyed (and consumed) with enthusiasm by all.
For more festive food ideas, visit GreenHalloween.org.
Who says Halloween can't be healthy?
And who says Healthy can't be fun?
Join our initiative and discover how to create holiday traditions that you and your kids can feel great about.
|Light the night with eek-o-friendly choices
||Trash into treasure contest
A Greener Halloween,
one neighborhood at a time
Like any holiday, Halloween has its own decorations that make it a festive time. Since the main events of Halloween happen after the sun has set, lights are an important part of the holiday.
Lights mean energy use, so choose your lighting with care. If you plan to invest in some new décor this year, why not welcome trick-or-treaters with solar or LED string lights?
Or light the night with traditional candlelit jack-o-lanterns or with spooky walkway luminarias (visit our website to learn how to make your own Halloween luminarias using free BoxWorks templates).
For trick-or-treating, try a battery free, shakable or crank-operated flashlight to light your way—kids love them!
After the syrup is gone, most people would consider this can (rescued from a coffee shop near Corey's home) recycle-bin-bound.
But we see a different future for it.
Email us your ideas for how to repurpose our can for Halloween and we'll enter you to win one of the new ChicoBag trick-or-treat bags created in honor of Green Halloween® and Treeswing.
Get your creative juices flowing by attending one of our Green Halloween® events. For the complete list of our 2008 Seattle-area events, visit our events webpage. For events in our other Green Halloween® cities, please search our map page.
Halloween 2008 is almost upon us! Now is the time to get your neighborhood on board and excited for a Green Halloween.
Email us for our neighborhood action kit. The kit will help you get your whole neighborhood thinking “outside the conventional candy box” with its Green Halloween® shopping tips, the top reasons to make your Halloween Green this year, and a sign up sheet to get your neighbors involved.
We can help you get your school or business involved too!