Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Tales from Crunchy Mama

My Witches Brew (Jambalaya)!
Instead of focusing on all the Halloween candy my children are going to consume (already have consumed!) and all the wrongs of Halloween from a mom who primarily tries to focus on good health, today I am savoring that "sweet joy" (pun intended) my kids have over a holiday I have outgrown.  One of my favorite parts of motherhood is being able to enjoy events and places by watching my kids enjoy through them.  It reminds me of our Disney trips and Christmas mornings.  I've found renewed enjoyment watching my kids captivated and entranced by all the excitement and mystery.

I'm wearing two hats today (actually 3 if you count my witch's hat!).  One- I want my kids to still be healthy and not just bouncing off the walls in excitement over sugar.  I've prepared healthy meals in between the sugar highs and am going to make sure they are bundled up for trick or treating (it's cold and rainy here).

The second hat is the one where I let things go and have fun with WITH them.  This is not always easy for me.  I get wrapped up in my "To Dos", meal preparation, cleaning, working, etc.  Today, we're having fun together and sharing memories.

Despite all the fun, I realized how normal making Halloween "greener".  I cringe at all those individually wrapped candies filling the trash cans (or blowing in the wind while trick or treating), all the chocolate that has been made from exploiting children , and expensive costumes only to be worn once.

Sometimes I am not conscious of the ways I've become accustomed to sustainable choices but here are some I can think of for this holiday:

1.  Second-hand costumes- Nope, I'm not mother of the year with a handmade and sewn outfit for each of my kids.

2.  We are re-gifting candy.  Unopened candy that for some reason makes its way into our house (especially suckers!).  My kids receive candy, I say we can have them later, and then they disappear into a bucket.  Now I have a bucket full of candy.

3.  Tonight's dinner is from the crockpot.  Not only does it use less energy, it makes dinner prep more manageable so I can focus on other activities and preparations, AND it's warm and healthy!

4.  Our kids reuse their little Easter baskets that are little market baskets made with fair labor practices.  I skip the plastic pumpkin and don't just designate the baskets for any holiday.  In fact, we often use it to collect "treasures" when we're on outings.

5.  Pumpkins-Instead of going big on the pumpkins, I've convinced my kids (ok, coerced a little!) that the medium sized pumpkins are the best and whatever one they pick, they have to be able to carry it from the patch to at least the hayride wagon.  Our pumpkins are from an organic farm I worked on (Bertrand Farm) which supports local sustainable agriculture and economy, while also providing us with some delicious pumpkins.  We'll be able to use these pumpkins for lots of recipes, which I've recently become a bit obsessed with since I've been pregnant.

Post Halloween:

1.  After Halloween, my responsible mama hat comes back on.  With the exception of a few favorites, their candy will leave the house.  There are 2 ways I am debating on doing this:
               A. Candy for the Troops- Some dentists collect candy and trade it for a prize or some small dollar  
                    amount.  Then the candy is shipped overseas for our troops. To find out if there is a dentist in
                    your area that participates in this, click here.
              B.  The Halloween Fairy- The kids put their candy out somewhere designated by you, and then in  
                    the morning there is a small gift (game/activity/toy) waiting for them. (I'm personally leaning
                    toward the one for the troops but can see how the fairy one could be fun)

While I think it is a great idea to not just focus on candy for Halloween, I still think this is the essence of the holiday.  When I think of my childhood, I am very fond of our trick or treating and sorting/trading candy after.  I am definitely going to make sure that treats and junk food is not the focus of other upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so on).  And if you hand out something besides candy this year, cheers to you!

Getting ready to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown",

Jen   :)

Jen Starks, Owner 

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