Make It a Happy & ‘Green’ Halloween!

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There is a lot to be scared of during Halloween with all the ghosts and demons roaming about, and the last thing you want to think about as you are busily preparing for a great night of festivities, is the hazardous health risks that you may be exposing yourself or your child to. There is an abundance of toxic chemicals out there that are associated with Halloween costumes and decorations that you might not be aware of.

The shelves are always stocked during Halloween time with make-up and cosmetics that help you transform into scary spectacles. Unfortunately, some of these products can actually have a very serious reaction with your skin that can result in rashes and irritation.

“Expiration dates for cosmetics are simply rules of thumb for product safety,” explained Chicago-based toxicologist Jennifer Roberts. Roberts is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and states, “A cosmetic can deteriorate substantially and expire long before the expiration date.” Improper storage can play a major role in when a product is no longer safe for use on skin. Since the bulk of Halloween products are stored in warehouses until the next holiday comes, some cosmetics could be exposed to degenerative conditions.

Parents should buy higher quality makeup to prevent adverse reactions, especially if their children plan to wear the makeup for an extended period of time. Skip the cheap dollar-store makeup and invest in a quality theater makeup instead. Halloween makeup and stage makeup differ in that stage makeup offers better quality ingredients, which reduces risk of an allergic reaction. Most theatre makeup brands, such as Ben Nye and Kryolan, have a Halloween collection that comes in the same vibrant pigments as the generic options and don’t cost much more.

Here are some tips from the Environmental Working Group that will help make your Halloween as safe as can be.

Avoid facepaint, lipstick, fragranced products. Many of these can contain lead, which can impair brain development at extremely low doses. Fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals. .

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.

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.

Offer treats that you would like your kids to receive. Hand out items that have fewer, more natural ingredients.

With a little preparation and foresight you can have a great and safe Halloween. Trick or treat boys and ghouls!

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