From Halloween to HalloGreen
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From getting to giving; from shopping to creating; from toxic to healthy for the child and the planet: An invitation by Naomi Aldort and Clara Bellar
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society." - Thich Nhat Hahn
Halloween can be a magical special time for families. Yet it’s difficult to live in this culture and not confuse celebration with consumerism. Aware that Halloween adds hugely to the ecological disaster unfolding in front of our eyes, I commit to take steps towards a mindful celebration, for the health of our children and our planet and for a celebration that is filled with joy and creativity as well as giving rather than getting.
- USA spends $9 billions on Halloween each year, $2.6 billions of which on candies.
- 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the USA alone, weighing as much as six Titanic ships.
- Ingredients include petroleum, palm oil (responsible for deforestation), artificial coloring (some illegal in Europe due to being so toxic), sugar, and GMO corn syrup.
- These ingredients weaken the immune system and many children get their first cold of the season right after Halloween.
- Petroleum is also needed for non recyclable plastic wrappings, for bags and boxes and for delivery.
- Commercial costumes are made of mixed materials, the production of which, packing and shipping ads hugely to toxins in water and air.
- Resorting to the trash bin, offering children gifts as a trade, only lessens the sugar & chemical toll on the child, not the toll on the planet.
- The "trick" refers to a threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Is blackmail the experience we want them to have?
New possibilities to celebrate more while causing less harm:
- Engaging with the children to create costumes from scarves, masks, sheets, coats, napkins, mom’s and dad’s clothing, scarves, boxes, pots, paper, face paints, paper bags, yogurt containers, mud… creating joy and family activity.
- Trick can be the child showing a magic trick or sharing a song, act, acrobatics or a dance.
- Treats can be home-made and healthy. Letting the children be the givers, going door to door in costume to give rather than get, experiencing generosity as part of celebration.
- Using the holiday to give to the less advantaged and make donations to the homeless or Red Cross.
- Using creative resources online for more fun ideas, like Treats and Treasures.
- Putting flyers around the neighborhood: “A HalloGreen Go Give Neighborhood - Reverse Roles: the children are the givers,” with a line about kids going around sharing home made treats and . act/dance/song/magic trick/circus act/music...
- Placing an easel or a note at the door inviting the children to come in and share acting, singing, dancing etc... and the hosts can offer their talent too.
- Filming our Givers in their home-made costumes, as they give Real Food, and starting the movement on social network.
- Sharing with children that the culture turned this and other holidays into consumerism, and that celebrating can be even more joyous free of it.
We can transition back from shopping, begging and threatening, to giving, creating and nurturing the body, the family, relationships, humor, friends, neighbors, and the planet.
Naomi Aldort, Author, Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves Clara Bellar, Director, Being and Becoming @copyright Naomi Aldort and Clara Bellar 2018
Co-signatories: Suzanne Arms, Author, Founder-Director of Birthing The Future Pierre Rabhi, Author, The Power of Restraint
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