Ten tricks for a safe and “green” Halloween

Consumer Reports News: October 15, 2010 05:08 AM

Have a healthier, less toxic Halloween by following the ten tips we’ve listed here, including some safety advice from the Consumer Product Safety Commssion.

1. Check out make-up. Watch out for contaminated face paints. Last year the Food and Drug Administration advised consumers to avoid certain water-based face paints made in China and distributed by the Oriental Trading Company of Omaha, Nebraska. You can check the safety of the ingredients in cosmetics at the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database.

2. Avoid colored hairspray. Wigs or bandanas could be a better choice than colored hairspray, which may contain fragrances and toxic chemicals that can be inhaled.

3. Use caution with Jack-o’-lantern candles. Choose candles that are made from beeswax, soy or palm wax rather than paraffin candles made from petroleum by-products, a non-renewable resource. Don’t leave a jack-o’-lantern that contains a burning candle unattended, and keep it away from curtains, furniture, and other items that could ignite.

4. Forget plastic masks. Avoid using plastic or painted masks, or plastic lips and teeth. Plastics can be softened with phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors. The paints can contain lead.

5. DIY fabric costumes. Recycle materials you have already rather than buying a new costume, but be sure to use fabrics that are flame-resistant, such as nylon and polyester. Avoid long, draped, billowing items that can cause falls or entanglement. Keep kids and costumes away from Jack-o’-lanterns, whether indoors or out.

6. Choose bright, visible clothes. Something light-colored and clearly visible to motorists at night is a good choice.

7. Local pumpkins. Get your pumpkins from a local farm and save the seeds for your own pumpkin patch.

8. Healthy treats. Find some healthier treats to give away such as health food bars, cheese and cracker packages, or animal crackers. Go for sealed packages of dried fruit, trail mix, raisins, or fruit snacks. Sealed bags of low-salt pretzels or popcorn, which can be organic, are also good choices.

9. Inspect treats. Warn children not to eat any treats until an adult has checked them to make sure there is no evidence of tampering.

10. Use a flashlight. A flashlight with rechargeable batteries makes you easier to be seen.

Related: Baby clothing buying guide. Plus, get more green product information and news at GreenerChoices.org.

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