The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Kind 101

Have A Green Halloween

I’m all for celebrating and having a good time–especially when yummy treats are involved–but I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween. I know, I know, it makes me sound like a such a grump, but I always wonder where these commercial holidays come from, and how we ended up spending $6.86 billion a year on costumes that end up in the trash and candy that leaves us and our kids feeling crazy, cranky, and sick. It turns out that back in the day, Halloween was really a pre-party for All Saints Day, a time to celebrate–you guessed it–all the saints. And before that, the ancient Celts celebrated October 31st with a festival called Samhain, where everyone dressed up in costume to ward off ghosts. As for trick or treating, the act of giving out treats has its roots in the Middle Ages. The poor would beg for food in exchange for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day, which was on November 2nd. Though, some experts say that food was left out on the front step as offerings to the dead who wander the streets trying to return to their homes. I’d argue that any of these interpretations of our over-priced, over-hyped version are a lot more interesting and possibly spookier!

But no matter why you and your family choose to celebrate, there’s ways to keep things kind–whether it’s creating less waste or enjoying tastier treats without the naughty tricks on your body.

  • Participate in a Costume Swap or buy halloween costumes used via Ebay or Goodwill
  • Talk with other neighbors who might be into a healthy Halloween and come up with a word or phrase that you can put on a sign in front of your house – that way, other kind parents will know that your house is serving healthy treats (check out the website Green Halloween or Grist for more suggestions about this)
  • If your getting candy, choose candy that’s vegan and free of conventional palm oil
  • Have a party and invite all your friends and their kids. Have fun decorating your place with some eco recycled halloween crafts. Instead of trick-or-treating, and serve a kind buffet
  • Share stories possibly in costume
  • When carving pumpkins, use your pumpkin seeds in adelicious recipe such as classically roastedcinnamon & ginger roasted, and brown rice syrup-glazed tofu on pumpkin seed couscous

If your neighborhood isn’t down with a kind Halloween, but you still want to take your kids out, consider donating the candy they collect. Some people feel it’s bad to donate candy to anyone, but if they are going to eat it anyway, isn’t donating it better than wasting it? I do this with other items; for example, companies sometimes send me samples of self-care products that are filled with chemicals, and while I would never use them, I give them to someone I know is never going to buy kind cosmetics, ever. At least then I know they won’t go to waste and it prevents more chemicals from being made and purchased.

Another way to deal with Halloween candy is to unwrap and compost it. I asked Kitchen Gardeners International founder Roger Doiron about composting candy. He said you can, but just as you wouldn’t want to feed it to your kids, it’s not the best thing to put in your soil. Personally, I wouldn’t mess up my beautiful compost with candy – no way! But that said, it’s an option if you feel conflicted about donating.

What’s your take on it? Tell me how you plan to celebrate in the comments below! What do you do with your pumpkin seeds post carve? What is the yummiest recipe for pumpkin seeds??


Photo Credit: Ehow


  • Susan Macknight

    I plan to celebrate Halloween at work, since I’m working 12 hour shifts back to back all weekend. Can’t really dress up in the ER, so I guess I’m going, once again, as a nurse. Not a dead nurse or a sexy nurse, nor a dead-sexy nurse… just me. Happy to help people recover from their alcohol binges, candy binges, and any other ailment that involves Halloween and the beginnings of flu season. But? I love October. And I thoroughly enjoy spooky movies and all that. EVEN The Crush is on my list of creepy movies to watch this season – for old times sake. Keep livin’ The Kind Life! I love it!!

  • ken

    My Wife & I were married on Halloween….at midnight…in a Haunted Cemetery in my hometown of Mount Shasta, CA [soon-to-be] 21 years ago! My wife dressed as a French Maid & I, a Werewolf….black painted fingernails & all. My best friend from High School married us. There were only 6 of us present: My best friend & his wife, another close (childhood) friend & his wife and we who were being married. The only light present, other than a full moon, were 3 sets of carlights all pointed at us standing under a cement archway. We videotaped the 10 or 15 minute performance. (my best friend’s wife held the camera). We’ve met other couples also married on Halloween–but none besides us who married at midnight on All Hallows Eve (10 minutes after midnight to make it officially Halloween) in a Haunted Graveyard. A tough act to follow!? *~* Boo, everyone! *~*

  • The Choosy Chick

    My take on the kids Halloween makeup kits – AVOID! They are loaded with toxins and as a matter of fact, my son became very ill when we we applied the makeup to his face. His throat started to burn and he then vomited white foam. Since then we have taken a deeper look at what is in the products we use on our skin.

  • Rhonda

    I too know that it is just another commercial day that cost millions of people time and money getting wasteful costumes for their kiddos for school and parties. And handing out junk candy just sends people into sugarville that lowers peoples immune systems and starting the winter season with thud.
    I appreciate your thinking on this nonsense holiday Alicia as I too do not buy into the need to celebrate this sinister holiday.

  • Jenee

    You don’t sound like a grump! Halloween is one of those days that makes me *groan*. We don’t do trick-or-treating, we just do a couple of Harvest Festivals (volunteer at one, play games and get candies at the other). My son is almost 5 and thankfully not a fan of candy, especially taffy or skittles or anything like that. I can trade his whole bag for something else – some cookies I prepared in advance, for example – and he’s a happy camper. It’s really the dressing up and playing pretend that he likes the most. :)

  • teresa

    You don’t sound like a grump however this time is actually celebrated for the harvest. It was later turned into all saints day but was originally to celebrate the harvest and wasn’t a religious holiday. It of course was changed into a religious holiday by certain people…
    I love Halloween but we always recycle costumes. (Again Goodwill), and make healthy treats. We have a church party ( I’m Mormon) We call it the Harvest festival and celebrate it for what it really is. We do trunk-or-treat though but its not as commercial. Lots of parents make healthier treats rather then store bought. I love that its not commercial for me and my family.

  • 1watkinswordpeace

    Could promote the meaning of Halloween to get us back to its roots as All Saints Day Eve. Humble, meaningful and decorative trips to honor fallen heroes, saints and loved ones is the way to go!! –Bill