I love this time of year. Besides hustling for the school bus in the morning and the magic of birthdays for two of my kids, autumn in the Northeast brings the gorgeous spectrum of turning leaves and the appeal of crisp fresh apples. But most exciting of all is the big thrill of things that go bump in the night: Halloween!
What's really scary, though, is how easy it is for this season to take a toll on our wallets and the environment. But fear not -- I've discovered some easy ways to have a great and green Halloween!
Skip the smelly Halloween store and make some great memories together. A black eye pencil turns little faces into black cats; striped mismatched socks recall Pippy Longstocking; and a red cloth turns them into Superman. Or get really creative with a teasing comb, some flour and an old pair of glasses -- voila, you've got a little Einstein!
Creepy jack-o’-lanterns aren’t the only result of pumpkin carving. When they’re done with their masterpieces, kids can also help make a healthy grab-n-go snack. Simply rinse pumpkin seeds in running water to remove the pulp. Toss with a teaspoonful of olive oil, spread on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and roast at 400 F for 12 minutes. Yum!
A Better Treat
Depending on how old your kids are, you may or may not be able to control what they sink their teeth into this time of year. But you do have choices about what your household will hand out to eager trick-or-treaters. We love natural and organic lollipops. Fruit leathers and dark chocolate are also healthy choices that will still satisfy a sweet tooth.
Kids Helping Kids
As wild as things get during this exciting time, Halloween is also an opportunity to make the world a better place for less fortunate children -- while teaching our own kids something about compassion and responsibility. Encourage kids of any age to collect for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund. A mere 7 cents provides 50 kids with safe drinking water for a day.
Lynda Fassa is the founder of Green Babies, an organic-cotton baby clothing company, and the author of two books (Green Babies, Sage Moms and Green Kids, Sage Families). She is a frequent blogger for sites like Grist.org, ParentsConnect.com, Treehugger.com and PlanetGreen.com. Lynda has also appeared in People, The New York Times, Parents and Parenting, and on the "Today" show, "Planet Green," "Fox News Happy Hour," "CBS Sunday Morning," "ABC News" and more.