October 7, 2012
The Green Minute: “Wicked’s” Eco-Friendly Halloween Tips
Courtesy of Pat Byington, The Green Register Editor
A few months ago, my 8-year-old daughter and my wife attended the Broadway play Wicked – The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. My daughter fell in love with the play. Her favorite character is the play’s heroine Elphaba, the green skinned girl who eventually becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Check out the great You Tube video below of one of the play’s most iconic scenes.
As you can imagine, my daughter has become obsessed with the play, daily singing out loud in the back of our car Elphaba’s song “Defying Gravity” – but more importantly, with Halloween quickly approaching, planning with her mom the creation of an Elphaba costume.
The black hat and the flowing black dress were not a problem, all easy to stitch together. It was Elphaba’s green makeup that concerned us. Was it safe on our child’s face and hands?
That is when my wife and I found helpful Halloween eco-friendly tips by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). We not only found safe “makeup” products, but also natural and creative costume alternatives. With Halloween weeks away, take a “Green Minute” and check out EWG’s list of Halloween tips. I know my family is more comfortable applying the eco-friendly and safer green paint ingredients on our little Elphaba this coming Halloween.
Here are EWG’s helpful Halloween tips:
1. Pick play makeup carefully. Many children like to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they’re using safer products and applying them as directed. Visit cosmeticsdatabase.com to look up your products and find safer ones.
Kids should avoid:
- Face paints can contain lead, which can impair brain development at extremely low doses, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause skin sensitization and contact dermatitis. Learn more here.
- Lipstick can also contain hidden lead. Because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it’s best to avoid lipstick all together. Opt instead for a shiny, beeswax-based lip balm. You can find some on Amazon.
- Nail polish often contains dibutyl phthalate and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer. You can find safer nail polishes on Skin Deep.
- Cosmetics in powder form can easily be inhaled. Depending on the particle size, the powder can lodge in children’s nasal passages and even lungs — where it may cause damage.
- Fragranced products Read ingredient labels and avoid products listing “fragrance” – EWG research found that fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals. Learn more in our short video.
2. Skip the (colored) hairspray. Many hairsprays contain toxic chemicals and fragrance. Kids can easily breathe in sprays. Instead, find a great hat or wig at a second-hand store; or create a great hair-do with ribbons, barrettes and safer, non-spray hair products.
3. Burn more eco-friendly candles — if at all. Candles can give off toxic compounds. Choose fragrance-free candles made from bee, palm or soy wax. Traditional paraffin-wax candles are made from petroleum by-products. Order your eco-friendly candles.
4. Don’t wear synthetic facemasks or teeth. Masks and fake teeth are made from a variety of synthetic materials that aren’t always labeled. Plastics may be softened with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Rather than covering your head with unknown, possibly toxic materials, make your own mask from simple materials or try a half-face, masquerade-style mask instead.
6. Create a low-impact costume. Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends. Click here to learn more about hosting your own swap.
7. If you are going to a party or planning a quick meal, skip the single-use dinnerware. Choose a more sustainable option, like compostable products. Click here to find compostable dinnerware on Amazon.
8. Decorate naturally. Pick up pumpkins, gourds and hay bales from a local farm to create a haunting scene and reuse decorations from year to year.
Image Credit: David Evison / Shutterstock