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Toxic chemicals can lurk in face paint, costumes, and decorations, but don’t let that frighten away your fun on Halloween. Follow these easy healthy Halloween tips to lessen your toxic load and to make sure the only things scaring you and your kids are ghosts and goblins!

Halloween Healthy Choices


Avoid store-bought plastic or vinyl Halloween costumes, especially masks!

Vinyl may contain hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates.

Healthier options
  • Costumes made with cloth. Natural fibers are best. Clothing made from plastics – like vinyl – should be avoided. 
  • Used costumes help cut back on new toxics entering our environment. Go to thrift stores, yard sales, or online resellers for used costumes. Tip: Old prom dresses are perfect for princesses or brides!
  • Reuse clothes you already own. Take a look at what you already have and see if you can make it into a costume. For example, a red flannel shirt can be made into multiple different costumes such as lumberjack, construction worker, and more!
  • Repurpose household items you already own into costumes. For example, you can turn anything with a handle into a “Grim Reaper” scythe. Or, big cardboard boxes can become almost anything, from a robot to life-size Legos to a samurai warrior. Also, old, unwanted clothes can be torn and redesigned into scary ghouls, superheroes, cartoon characters, and more.

Avoid toxic chemicals in makeup, face paint, and in masks.

Vinyl and other plastics are even worse when they cover your or your child’s face. Halloween makeup may contain heavy metals or ingredients linked to cancer and other health concerns.

Healthier options
  • Use face paint and pencils made from clay or other natural ingredients, such as Natural Earth Paint.
  • Make your own edible face paint with these recipes.
  • Make a paper mâché mask using an empty milk jug, strips of used paper, wheat flour, and water.

Avoid toxic plastic bags and buckets marketed for trick or treating.

As much as possible, avoid plastics, which contribute to climate change and toxic pollution. Leave potentially toxic bags and one-time use plastic buckets on the shelf, and choose safer alternatives instead!

Healthier options
  • Use old pillowcases to put candy in.
  • Decorate a reusable shopping bag to gather treats.

Avoid Halloween decorations that contain vinyl (such as wall stickers) because vinyl often contains toxic phthalates.

Exposures to phthalates are linked to hormone disruption including malformations in organs and reproductive harm, especially in males.

Healthier options
  • Make your own! Some ideas include: 
    • Cut and paint egg cartons to make bats and spiders or use toilet paper rolls to create a whole host of characters, like witches, scarecrows, and mummies.
    • Stuff old clothes with leaves and place them outside. You can even add a paper mâché head or stuff a pillowcase to make a head for it as well!
    • Use outdoor solar lanterns and old white sheets to create ghosts that seem to float in midair as they light up your walkway.
  • Reuse old decorations from previous Halloweens. Preferably, these should be non-vinyl.