Wednesday, October 19, 2005


This Halloween Go Green!

On all my blogs you'll see this , Green Guide's thoughtful alternatives and warning against artficial and high fructose corn syrup-sweetened candy. Go green this Halloween!

Orange, Black and Green for Halloween
by Emily Main

Nothing kills a parent's festive Halloween mood like realizing what a nutritional nightmare this holiday can be. After the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating are over, kids are left with a pile of artificially sweetened candy that wreaks havoc on their health. High fructose corn syrup, Halloween's most pervasive ghoul, is a leading contributor to childhood obesity and is frequently made from genetically modified corn and refined with genetically modified enzymes. And it seems to come with everything, whether in the candy your kids are collecting or the store-bought cider you're serving at home.

Adding to the nutritional headache of Halloween are the environmental and social impacts chocolate can have. Cacao beans grown in full sun are more susceptible to disease than their shade-grown counterparts and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. The crop's social ills include child slavery, which UNICEF has found abundant on cacao plantations, and low wages paid to farmers because of market deregulation.

All that can make your face turn green. But fear not! There are healthier alternatives for your child—and the environment—that will make you feel green in a good way. Below is a selection of organic, fair-trade and individually wrapped treats that you can hand out to the neighborhood kids, and you may even educate them about the environment in the process. And that's a good trick.


Look for the "Fair Trade Certified" label, which ensures that chocolate farmers were paid a fair price for their crop. Global Exchange sells Fair Trade Certified Gold Coin Trick-Or-Treat Chocolates stamped with fair trade messages wrapped in foil ($6.99/40 piece box). Teach your little ghouls more about fair trade with their Trick Or Treat Kit, which includes the fair-trade chocolate, "Fair Trade is Boo-tiful!" poster and postcards and a recycled trick-or-treat bag decorated with the Fair Trade ghost ($15.99,

Endangered Species' Belgian-chocolate Bug Bites in organic milk or dark chocolate come with educational trading cards (from $23.52/64 bites, available through These sell out quickly, so order early.

Betty Lou's Inc. makes organic Chocolate, Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Golden Smackers (from $16.56/24-piece box,

Support the Sierra Club—and small farms—by buying their organic Chocolate Coins ($8.95/10 oz. box) and Peanut Butter Cups, each wrapped in cornstarch-based cellophane. ($7.95/6 oz. box,

Hard Candy

Fortunately, a variety of organic and vegan hard candy options make it easy to find candy free of animal-based gelatin that may have been derived from animal parts infected with Mad Cow Disease. However, when handing out hard candy, make sure you're only giving it to older kids who won't choke on small pieces. Try these:

Ginger People Candy's individually wrapped Spicy Apple Ginger Chews ($12/2 lb. bag,

Organic Candy Company's Sour Fruit hard candy in cherry, lemon, pineapple and orange ($1.95/3.5 oz bag,

The Candy Tree's Organic Mixed Fruit Drops ($1.95/10-piece pack); Organic Mixed Fruit Taffy in cherry, lemon, black currant, strawberry and orange ($2.39/2.6 oz bag); Organic Orange Lollipops ($2.35/2.6 oz. pack of 7); and Organic Peppermint Drops ($2.39/14-piece pack) (all available through

Sierra Club's Organic Hard Candy in strawberry, lemon, lime and orange ($6.95/8 oz. box,

Let's Do...Organic Classic, Jelly and Super Sour vegan gummy bears ($2.36/box of four bags,

Fruit Snacks Sneak something fruity into trick-or-treat bags, like Kettle Valley's Real Fruit Snacks in strawberry, grape, sour apple, tropical blend, watermelon and raspberry ($25.44/pack of 48, www. or Stretch Island's Organic Fruit Leather in apple, apricot, grape, raspberry and strawberry ($14.00/30-piece box,

Earthbound Farm sells their organic Thompson Seedless Raisins in Minipacks ($2.49/14-0.5 oz. boxes,


Dancing Deer Baking Co.'s preservative-free Giant Mocha Marble Chocolate Bats shortbread cookies come individually wrapped ($19.95/6-piece box). The company also sells their popular Chocolate Tangerine, Maple Oatmeal Raisin and Molasses Clove Cookies in bulk, all individually wrapped ($47.95/case of 32 cookies,

Popcorn/Snack Mix

Robert's American Gourmet makes a variety of vegan, gluten-free, and wheat-free snacks to satisfy picky palates. For a truly organic Halloween, hand out their new "Chaos" certified organic snack mix in single-serving packages ($36/case of 24-2 oz. bags,

Snack/Granola Bars

Natural grocery stores offer a wide variety of individually wrapped snack and cereal bars that work perfectly as Halloween handouts. If you can think beyond orange-and-black packaging, you can get pretty creative with your treats.

Try the Puffins Cereal & Milk Bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip by Barbara's Bakery (about $10/15-bar box, or the EnviroKidz Organic Koala Chocolate, Panda Peanut Butter or Cheetah Berry Crispy Rice Bars by Nature's Path (about $4/6-bar box,

New England Natural Bakers' Save The Forest organic trail mix, cereal, and snack bars and snack packs come a variety of flavors like chocolate peanut raisin and caramel apple ($4.70/6-bar box,

Kettle Valley's Organic Fruit snack bars come in Okanagan Organic Blend, Rocky Mountain Berry Blend and Fraser Valley Cranberry flavors ($22.50/pack of 30,

Staying in

If you've got younger kids who aren't quite old enough for trick-or-treating or if you'd prefer to spend your Halloween inside far from the madding crowds, here are some party planning suggestions for your buffet table.

Newman's Own offers organic pretzels, chips and microwave Pop's Corn (, but for larger crowds order some ready-made Pop'n Mama organic kettle corn ($23.00/2-20oz. packages, Also, Frito-Lay still makes their Natural Lay's, Ruffles, Cheetos and Tostitos, so set some of those out with Tostitos Organic Salsa (

To satisfy the sweet tooth, Sunspire makes SunDrops chocolate candy, similar to M&M's, in Plain Chocolate and Peanut ($1.19/1.19 oz. bag, Or serve Sierra Club's organic chocolate-covered pretzels ($6.95/5 oz. box,

For your little cookie monsters, buy some Peanut Butter Cats & Chocolate Bats cookies from the Dancing Deer Baking Co. ($24.95/12 oz. box, Your older kids and partygoers might enjoy Allison's Gourmet's organic Pumpkin Spice Cookies ($21.95/dozen,

A Halloween party is a perfect occasion for serving high fructose corn syrup-free, organic apple cider from your local farmer's market. Learn more about buying cider from The Green Guide's Amy Topel: "Apple Cider—The Essence of Fall."

Trick-Or-Treating With a Cause

Use Halloween to teach your kids about helping other kids. UNICEF sponsors a "Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF" program whereby trick-or-treaters collect change in addition to candy while they're out making their rounds. This year, half of the money raised will go to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts (the other half goes to UNICEF's worldwide aid programs). You can get collection boxes at local Pier 1 Imports and Ikea stores or through their web site,

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