Halloween should be fun, but every year it gets scarier – for parents and the planet. From the discovery of lead in fake teeth and candy, to chemicals in costumes, to the garbage left in the holiday’s wake, Halloween hasn’t had the best reputation for being healthy or eco-friendly.
For a third year in a row, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has partnered with Green Halloween® to provide communities with healthy, animal-friendly and EEK-O-friendly Halloween events at accredited zoos and aquariums. Green Halloween is a non-profit, grassroots community initiative helping families celebrate healthier and more environmentally-friendly holidays, starting with Halloween. From its humble beginnings in the Seattle area in 2007, Green Halloween has grown into a nationwide success with a record one million pieces of candy replaced with healthy, sustainable treat options in 2010 alone.
“Green Halloween events and booths will show goblins and grownups how to apply the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – to Halloween activities,” said AZA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Strategies, Jill Nicoll. “For example, conventional candy will be swapped for healthier, eco-friendly treats, and families can participate in spooktacular recycled animal crafts and green costume contests.”
If your local zoo or aquarium is not sponsoring a Green Halloween event, contact Jessie Greger at [email protected] for more information.
There are also many great ways to participate at home, like these five tips to make your Halloween healthier and greener:
- Do you always purchase new costumes? This year, SWAP! Visit National Costume Swap Day™ before heading to the big box store and look for a local costume swap.
- Prefer to hand out treasures? Empty your kids’ pockets! Get inspired by the treasures they store – shiny rocks, feathers, sea shells. Stock up on these types of items and offer a choice.
- Looking for alternatives to conventional candy? Choose healthier treats that everyone from toddlers to teens will love including snack bars, organic lollipops, fruit snacks, or all-natural gum.
- In the habit of buying new Halloween décor every year? Try exchanging old for new-to-you décor with friends and neighbors, or find decorations at your local Goodwill. Consider using edible items like pumpkins and other types of squash that can be turned into yummy soups and dishes after Halloween. Host a make-it-take-it décor party before the big day. Pull out every black, purple or orange item in your home and decorate with those. Search online for how to make décor out of items you’d normally toss.
- Used to giving out handfuls? Cut back by 25%. Kids won’t notice the difference, but you’ll save money.
AZA accredited zoos and aquariums participating in Green Halloween:
Aquarium of the Pacific
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
San Francisco Zoo
Santa Ana Zoo
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Smithsonian National Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Mesker Park Zoo
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
David Traylor Zoo
Sedgwick County Zoo
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Franklin Park Zoo
Lincoln Children’s Zoo
Bergen County Zoological Park
Turtle Back Zoo
Seneca Park Zoo
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Philadelphia Zoo & PPG Aquarium
South Carolina Aquarium
Bramble Park Zoo
Great Plains Zoo
Cameron Park Zoo
Ellen Trout Zoo
Mill Mountain Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Woodland Park Zoo