Five Super-Simple Steps to Green Trick-or-Treating

Getting your little ghosts and goblins ready for Halloween while attempting to minimize your impact might seem scarier than global warming, but it’s so simple: you’re probably already doing at least one of these things.

  1. Use reusable candy-collecting bags. This is simple, easy, and ensures that your large stash of candy won’t end up all over the street from a less-than-durable plastic bag. Avoid those plastic pumpkins, too. They’re made of petroleum, and you can only use them once a year.
  2. Handing out treats for trick-or-treaters? They’ll get enough conventional candy from your other neighbors. Try healthier alternatives (for both kids and the planet) like honey sticks, fruit leather, granola bars, organic chocolate, or boxes of raisins. Avoid food altogether and give pencils, erasers, mini toothpastes, soy crayons, or stickers. (If you’re stuck on candy, find out some healthy variations here or chose socially responsible fair-trade chocolate.)
  3. Don’t drive your kids around. I’m amazed at how many kids’ parents (even in Missouri’s mild October weather) drive them around the neighborhood. Part of the fun of trick or treating when I was young was the thrill of walking around the neighborhood at night. Save the gas and get your fill of the night air.
  4. DIY your costumes. Avoid the plastic and vinyl monstrosities at the discount store and create your own costume from things at your house or secondhand stores. Your costumes will cost less, look better, and your kid won’t be one of seventeen Dora the Explorers or Thomas the Tank Engines you run into.
  5. Use trick-or-treating as an opportunity for stewardship. After trick or treating, bring a separate bag for your kids to pick up the inevitable candy wrappers left by less-savvy munchkins.

Green Options Media is a network of environmentally-focused blogs providing users with the information needed to make sustainable choices. Written by experienced professionals, Green Options Media’s blogs engage visitors with authoritative content, compelling discussions, and actionable advice. We invite anyone with questions, or simply curiosity, to add their voices to the community, and share their approaches to achieving abundance.

By Kelli Best-Oliver, Green Options


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

One year, I tried giving out small toys for Halloween. You could actually watch the smile on the kids' faces change to frowns. I didn't do that again!!

Anne F.
Anne F7 years ago

IMHO when kids are old enough to judge freely given treats, they're old enough to stop being trick 0r treaters. There are other things to do - like make costumes for younger kids, set up decorations, collect for UNICEF.

Jenna B.
Jenna B.7 years ago

Caralien, agreed! No kid likes the guy who gives out pencils or apples. Fruit leather and granola bars... maybe, or get the organic fair trade candy if you're really worried about it but no freaking erasers. One night of candy freakout isn't going to ruin anybody.

Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon8 years ago

good ideas there.

Charley H.
Charley H8 years ago

great post

Jen M.
ayla -8 years ago

Caralien- That is a great point!
I have been thinking of that a lot the last week and I am glad you settled my conscience.
At home we don't even drink juice, it's gross to see little kids with massive bags of sugar and chemicals.
But you're right.. oooh well

Caralien S.
Caralien S8 years ago

To anyone thinking of giving anything BUT candy to kids, remember when you were a child trick or treating--did you appreciate pens, pencils, raisins, or fruit (or did you toss it immediately after begrudgingly saying "thanks")? That's up there with stealing the candy from the kids and tossing it because you don't want them eating sugar (in essence, what's the point?)

If you don't want candy for the kids, either don't participate or host a party with healthier alternatives. But please don't damage the booty for the children. They're only kids once and have a lifetime of healthy eating that won't be undone once a year.

Caroline S.

I just did a similar post at my blog on allergies and trick or treating. There are so many ways of having fun on Halloween with a little creativity for sure! Our son has food allergies, which he is so much better now from taking his Bellyboost probiotic, but we still have to be very careful of a few serious food allergies. It is always nice to read articles on how to celebrate holidays in a healthy manner for us and our planet.

Shawn W.
Past Member 8 years ago

You have got a great concept. Its shows your creativity and unique skill. People today don't think of the impact that they will have in future as a outcome what they are doing today. Thanks for this beautiful write.