Halloween is one of the most anticipated holidays of the calendar year. For one day of the year, it is accepted and promoted to dress up as somebody other than ourselves. Oftentimes this involves purchasing a costume, decorations, and costume makeup that are not only full of harmful chemicals but are also quickly discarded and forgotten. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently came out with a report on mainstream face paints sold in the United States. They found that 10 out of 10 face paints tested contain lead, 6 out of 10 face paints tested contain known skin allergens nickel, cobalt and/or chromium, and that labels often contain misleading claims, such as “hypoallergenic,” on products with known skin allergens. What this study found is scary, especially since these paints are used on our skin which is the largest organ of the body, and an organ that absorbs chemicals easily. Luckily, non toxic face paint exist! Scroll down to view OSCEA’s list of the best non toxic face paints.
What is a Green Halloween? Green Halloween is a growing trend being encouraged by people applying 'green' concepts to Halloween. The main focus is of “Greening Your Halloween” is to be making eco-friendly, earth-friendly, and healthier choices in general when it comes to the food, costumes, makeup, decorations, and activities of the Halloween season. With just a little preparation, you can enjoy a toxin and waste-free, Green Halloween.
Starting to Green your Halloween is as easy as practicing the three “R’s”- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Reduce: Reduce or limit the amount of money spent on new Halloween costumes, decorations, and candy. Choose treats that use the least amount of packaging and/or recyclable packaging. Reduce energy usage from lights by turning them off regularly and switching to Fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
- Reuse: When purchasing new items, try to buy products that can be reused next Halloween season, or better yet, throughout the rest of the year. Find old costumes and decorations to reuse from previous spooky seasons. Try to use reusable utensils, plates, napkins, and tablecloths instead of plastic disposable ones.
- Recycle: Be on the lookout for costumes and decorations that can be recycled or use recycled items purposefully to create costumes, decorations, and crafts. Some recycled materials you can use include boxes, leaves, clippings, branches, newspaper, fabric, and yarn. You can even recycle your costumes through a textile recycling program.
Explore OSCEA’s recommendations for non toxic kids and adults costumes, non toxic face paint, and sustainable decorations and treats to kickstart your Green Halloween.
Shiny, plastic Halloween costumes are always a popular choice for kids, but beneath that shiny fabric is a sea of chemicals. OSCEA recommends seeking out both non toxic face paint and non toxic costumes. Many costumes are made of PVC and contain harmful chemicals like lead and phthalates. PVC and lead contamination are both linked to hormone disruption, cancer, respiratory problems, and birth defects so it is best to avoid them. Make sure there is no “plastic-y” smell that indicates the use of PVC. If purchasing a store-bought costume for your kid, make sure to avoid those labeled with fire retardants. Many costumes contain flame retardants which contain toxins, heavy metals, and chemicals linked to thyroid disruption, memory, and learning problems, and may not even be effective at reducing flammability. To eliminate clothing waste, donate them to your local thrift store or keep the costumes after the Holiday and encourage your kids to use them as dress-up materials. Below are some helpful websites for finding your kids a sustainable and non toxic costume.
1. Tot Tested Costumes from The Tot
The Tot is a website that makes it easy for parents to discover safe and quality products. They handpick their products under high safety standards, ensuring they are designed to last. Under each product on their website, you can find the results of the “The Tot Test” which is an analysis and review of the materials and ingredients that ensure transparency for customers. Their site has a range of “Tot-tested” non toxic kids Halloween costumes that are made from soft and comfortable materials like canvas, wool, and cotton along with eco-friendly inks and water-based dyes. Since they are made to last, your kids can enjoy dressing up all year long. Whether your kid wants to be an Astronaut, a fairy princess, or a chef, The Tot has it all.
2. DIY with Primary
Primary is a children's clothing brand committed to soft and sustainable fabrics. Their products are chemical-free and use Clean Poly that naturally self-extinguishes flames with its specific yarn fiber structure instead of typical chemical flame retardants. For Halloween, Primary has a section of its website that suggests hundreds of DIY costumes that can be made using their essential clothing pieces. Each idea has easy-to-follow pictures and instructions and many are even no-sew or take less than 30 minutes to make! Better yet, your kids can wear these foundational Primary pieces again and again, even after Halloween.
3. Organic Options from Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Kids is committed to safe and quality products and requires extensive lead testing of all products. Under each costume, make sure to read the “Details that Matter'' section for dyes and materials. Many of their costumes are made with environmentally safe dyes and organic certified cotton, but not all so make sure to check.
We’re never too old to dress up! Use these tips below for safer and more sustainable Halloween costumes for your kids, and for yourself.
The safest thing to do is to make your costume yourself. Instead of using disposable plastic, stick to fabric and paper materials. Check out your local thrift stores or transform a cardboard box into a magical masterpiece. Feeling uninspired? Check out Pinterest for hundreds of DIY costume ideas.
2. Costume Swaps
After the holiday, organize a costume swap with friends and family in preparation for next year's Halloween. This is a fun and sustainable option to reduce clothing waste and keep your cute costumes in circulation.
3. Donate or Recycle
Instead of throwing your costume deep into the back of your closet or into the trash, donate your used costumes to local thrift stores. Putting your costume into the trash or the normal recycling bin is not a sustainable option. Clothing waste ending up in landfills is a detrimental contributor to climate change. The better option is to recycle your costumes through a textile recycling program.
Non-Toxic Face Paint
According to the CDC, lead poisoning is entirely preventable. We absorb as much as 80% of what goes on our skin so naturally, it is not smart to coat ourselves in things containing lead. What makes this difficult is that the cosmetics industry is not properly regulated by the FDA. Lead is banned from makeup in both Canada and Europe but it’s allowed at any level in makeup in the US. What is even scarier, is that lead and other harmful chemicals often won’t be listed on the packaging since the FDA doesn’t mandate disclosure on heavy metals. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that 10 out of 10 kids’ Halloween makeup tested positive for lead. That doesn’t mean every single makeup on the market contains lead but it does mean that many, even most will. This spooky season you should look for makeup that participates in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics or even better, try making your own. Check out the list below for the best non-toxic face paint.
The best way to avoid these harmful chemicals is to make your own natural face paint with natural ingredients in your kitchen. Eco Child’s Play has three great recipes for how to make your own natural face paint this Halloween. They suggest using a base of cornstarch and lotion or fluoride-free toothpaste and then adding natural food colorings or naturally pigmented foods. They suggest using turmeric for yellow, spirulina for green, cocoa powder for brown, blueberries for purple, and raspberries for pink. Also, make sure to check out Pinterest for a wide range of easy natural face paint recipes.
If your looking for a store-bought option, Go Green Face Paint is the best choice. Their products are all certified organic, made in the USA, hypoallergenic, lead-free, and dye-free. Their 5 color face paint sets have the highest safety rating of any face paint on Amazon Marketplace. Go Green also has water-based face paint options which have the added bonus of being vegan and containing no lanolin, parabens, nuts, or gluten. This product is your best best for safe, commercially-made, non toxic face paint.
Kiss Freely is a small beauty brand that ensures its products are allergen-free, paraben and petroleum-free, and vegan. At Kiss Freely, customers are their first priority. If you need to avoid a specific ingredient, you can contact the brand and they will provide you with a specially made product just for your needs. Their new allergen and gluten-free face paints are made with a cream-based formula and their main ingredients are all-natural including, seed oil, aloe vera gel, Meadowfoam, and water. Kiss Freely is a great option for a non toxic face paint this Halloween.
Kooalo Face Paint prides itself on being safe, natural, and made in the USA. Their formulas are non toxic, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and made with organic ingredients. Their face paint contains no parabens, no petrochemicals, and no micronized minerals. Rich in Jojoba oil, the product is moisturizing, allows the skin to breathe, and the paint won’t dry or crack. You can apply the face paint directly from the jar and wash it off easily with mild soap and water. It is safe for eyes, lips, and sensitive skin. This product is a good alternative to petroleum-based mix-with-water face paints. Their non toxic face paint kit contains a makeup applicator, a natural setting powder, and five colored paints- black, white, red, blue, and yellow.
Decorations and Candy
Follow these tips and tricks for an eco-friendly approach to Halloween decorations and candy.
- Decorate with things that can be composted like pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, hay, leaves and sticks.
- Support a local farmer by going to a nearby Pick-Your-Own farm. Getting your pumpkin directly from a local grower is more ethical and less likely to contain harmful chemicals than purchasing one from a big commercial grocery store.
- Make decorations from materials you’d otherwise recycle. Metal cans, milk, jugs, egg cartons and plastic water bottles can be transformed into bats, spiders, and witches. Go retro this season and turn an old white sheet into a ghost.
- Avoid plastic pumpkins and themed plastic bags which contain high levels of bromine, PVC, and flame retardants. Stick to paper, fabric, and natural decorations instead. Collect treats with a bucket, fabric bag, or an old pillowcase.
- Choose organic candy or candy made in recyclable wrappers. Hershey’s Kisses foil wrapper is one example.
- Use soy or beeswax candles to create a spooky vibe instead of petroleum-based paraffin ones.
Use these tips for costumes, non toxic face paint, and decorations to have a Green Halloween this year!