First, a footnote to the previous post, where we mentioned the desirability of making good use of pumpkins. “Zero-Waste Chef” Anne Marie Bonneau dives deeply into the topic of pumpkins, which generate an estimated 1.3 billion pounds of organic waste per year, and do not belong in landfills because there, they turn into methane gas and contribute to climate disaster.
Since they are food, the best course would be to eat them, and the chef provides recipes. But by the time Halloween is over, jack-o-lanterns are all withered and moldy, so that’s no good. But at least compost the darn things, so they can turn into healthy soil, not sickening gas! And furthermore — save the seeds. Bonneau writes,
Whether you eat pumpkins or carve jack-o-lanterns, save the seeds to roast. My kids always loved this crunchy fall treat. You can roast all different kinds of squash seeds. The small seeds of delicata squash — yellow-orange, cylindrical-shaped squash with green stripes — become crunchy quite quickly when roasted in a bit of olive oil.
There are good reasons to switch over to non-food treats for Halloween. One is that some innocent child might be accidentally poisoned. Some allergies only cause a rash or sniffles, but a peanut allergy can be a serious proposition. The trouble is, some people just don’t understand the danger. Manufacturers are not always meticulous about labeling, and even nutless candy made in the same facility as the nutty kind can be dangerous. We all need a reminder that obesity avoidance is not the only factor behind choosing to give out non-food Halloween treats.
Still, if you are simply interested in distributing treats that don’t contribute to obesity, the market provides a bounty of yogurt raisins, low-sugar mini granola bars, craisins, individually packaged dried fruit, fruit leather, fruit or veggie pouches, juice boxes, honey sticks, trail mix, and more.
Kids and parents can even make little collectors’ items to distribute, like pipe-cleaner spiders. If you have never made pumpkins from “pool noodles,” maybe now is the time to start. This page offers plenty of ideas from elementary school teachers, such as:
Have you seen those little bottles of aromatherapy for kids, promising to give them sweet dreams or happy thoughts? Make your own concoction for your students. Then put the liquid in spray bottles and slap on a label. We suggest making a “zombie spray” to keep zombies away, but let your imagination be your guide.
Of course, there are plenty of commercial products you can buy for trick-or-treat giving, for instance: rings that look like eyeballs; temporary tattoos (even glow in dark); vampire teeth; little bats; glow stick necklaces; friendship bracelets; bubble soap; fake mustaches; and Halloween-decorated slinkies, bouncy-balls, stickers, kazoos, drinking straws, miniature flashlights, band-aids, and much more. Tip: Buy these in the after-Halloween sales, to save for next year.
Childhood Obesity News has presented some of the crispiest, juiciest Halloween Hacks around. Anyone who progresses in a straight backward line through these posts will find inspiration. Anyone who feeds “Halloween” into the search box will be astounded.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “How to Keep 1.3 Billion Pounds of Pumpkin Out of Landfill,” Substack.com, 10/26/21
Source: “How to Make Pipe Cleaner Spiders,” Blogspot.com, 10/3/2011
Source: “30 Sugar-Free Treats for Halloween,” WeAreTeachers.com, 10/11/18
Image by garlandcanon/CC BY-SA 2.0