My living room currently looks like a freight truck dumped its entire load in the space: boxes piled high as the eye can see filled with healthy treats and promotional materials. I can't even see my dining room table because it is filled with notes about local eco-businesses and plans for three upcoming events I'm helping to plan. Crafts in various shades of orange, black and green made of up-cycled and eco-friendly materials are scattered anywhere I can stash them away from the reach of my own two tiny munchkins. Organized chaos is about the only way to describe it and yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.
What am I, do you ask? Besides being a tad bit nutty with a possible nonprofit addiction, I am a Green Halloween coordinator.
Green Halloween is a national, non-profit, grassroots, community initiative striving to create healthier and more eco-friendly holidays starting with Halloween. The goal is to show families how easy and affordable it can be to keep the fun, while losing the unhealthy and non-earth-friendly traditions. It's not about telling people how they should celebrate - it's about inspiring them to make choices that make sense for their families, their budgets and their schedules.
The top reasons why so many of us would give so much of our free time to promote this initiative is very clear: Our children, our people, our planet.
Today's trick-or-treaters have a life expectancy that is shorter than their parents. One in three trick-or-treaters will get diabetes in their lifetime. One third of American trick-or-treaters are overweight. Seventeen percent are considered obese.
For the people, fair trade standards ensure fair wages, and help to eliminate child slavery and vile living conditions on coco-bean plantations.
For the planet, swapping half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons - the weight of 2,500 midsize cars. Organic cocoa farming conserves energy, protects water supply, prevents soil erosion.
The Green Halloween movement works. Conventional candy companies like Cadbury and Mars are adopting and transitioning towards organic and fair trade certified standards.
Organic candy offerings have increased by over 170 percent - more than one million units of healthier choices in 2010 alone.
A noticeable increase in the number of PVC-free costumes, lead-free paints, and reusable trick or treat bags are on the market.
Green Halloween of Daytona Beach's signature event is the Hallogreen. The Hallogreen incorporates just about every aspect we are working to get people to consider to make more sustainable choices. We have Eek-O Costumes contests for kids and dogs. Treat-or-Treasuring (cuz we don't trick). Our vendors are nonprofits with eco- and family-friendly missions, local agriculturists and urban farmers and growers, handmade local crafters, up-cyclers, holistic pet care advocates and businesses, natural alternatives to beauty and health, and more.
All year, I plan for this event, researching and recruiting sponsors and vendors, making connections to take care of needed improvements (can't always tackle all of them, but we try). In the beginning, it was hard because there were very few supporters of what was then a new movement. Four years later, although I could definitely use more help (who couldn't?), I am very privileged to be sharing this mission and movement with other families in the area, who are very supportive and find ways to share the load doing whatever they can. Daytona Beach even has two new Green Halloween Co-coordinators: Elizabeth Flynn of Daytona Beach BellyDance and the FNPS Pawpaw Chapter, and Cory Trust of Aquarian Bath, and our official graphic designer is Nancy Nashed of Wind Water Arts.
The Hallogreen® takes place on the last Saturday of October (Oct. 29 this year) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on City Island in beautiful downtown Daytona Beach.
For more information on Green Halloween and the Hallogreen event please visit greenhalloween.org/ daytona, call (386) 676-0011or "Like" Green Halloween of Daytona Beach on Facebook.