By Lara Alexander
In 2006, Seattle mom Corey Colwell-Lipson began thinking about a better, “greener” Halloween. The following year she pulled together some big names around the region – Whole Foods, Overlake Hospital and ParentMap magazine –to start “Green Halloween,” a revolution aimed at making Halloween a healthier treat for kids and the environment.
Fast forward a few years and Green Halloween was on a roll. Edmonds mom and businesswoman Melinda Knight had heard about the movement and wanted to bring it to her own town. “I’m not the greenest person around and I am not anti-candy,” says Knight, who may have been an unlikely person to get on the Green Halloween bandwagon if it had not been for her son’s peanut allergy. Knight realized that her son was allergic to peanuts when he was 4 years old. Halloween became a tricky holiday. “There is no nutritional information on the packages,” Knight said, pointing to the mini candies that are handed out by most households.
She is not only parent concerned about kids with allergies; parents of kids who are diabetic or who have dietary restrictions find the holiday to be hair-raising as well. Even for otherwise healthy kids, dentists everywhere are cringing at the thought of a huge stash of sugar for every kid. Green Halloween is not the only movement recently to focus on the health and dietary habits of children. As the Green Halloween website points out, “This generation of kids has a life expectancy shorter than their parents. “
Last year, Knight organized a costume swap for families who were interested in passing on their child’s old costume and pick out a pre-owned costume without spending a dime. Staying in the spirit of the “green” theme, costume trading re-purposes and recycles old items. “Its not just about the environment, but with the economy, it’s about saving money too,” says Knight. This year, Knight was too busy to manage a costume swap in Edmonds, but says that the swaps can be found elsewhere in the Seattle area by visiting the Green Halloween website.
Families that want to incorporate some of the Green Halloween spirit into their holiday this year can heed the advice from the movement’s website: Is it “good for people, good for the planet, good for the community?” Instead of pounds of candy, Knight recommends coloring books, puzzles or other activity-oriented treats for the neighbors’ trick-or-treat baskets.
This coming Monday will be the second Halloween in a row that Knight will have a Green Halloween booth at the Chamber of Commerce Halloween Extravaganza on Main Street. While kids of all ages “trick or treat” at area business from 5 to 7 p.m,, Knight will be passing out “green” products, including puzzles from supporter Toyconomy. Other supporters include My Edmonds News, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and Blue Shoes Media.
A culinary adventurer, Lara Alexander grows, cooks and writes about food from her home in Edmonds. You can read about her garden and kitchen fun on the blog Food-Soil-Thread.