Consciously Shopping in Toronto: Halloween

Halloween produces more boos, eeks, screeches and ding dongs than we should tolerate. In an attempt to make sure our kids don’t hate us, and our neighbours, family and friends don’t ridicule us (although some of us may have gotten used to this by now), these tips will hopefully provide useful suggestions, and inspire you to have a less scary Halloween (since, boycotting the holiday altogether is a little ambitious and un-spirited – for this year anyways). Be scary, but don’t spook our cherished kids and precious planet.

Since Halloween involves community, support yours

Buy your organic pumpkin at a farmers’ market (there are markets almost every day in Toronto, but Brick Works and Dufferin Grove are my favourites. Find the markets that suit your location and schedule. Better yet, go and pick your own, it’ll get you right into the Halloween spirit! Growing a conventional pumpkin takes an awful lot of pesticides (they are a very heavily “treated” crop) and they take up too much space in landfills, releasing greenhouse gases as they decompose after their single use on Halloween. Be sure to take full advantage of your entire pumpkin by roasting the seeds (yummy and very healthy), make a soup or pie, and compost the rest of the pumpkin when you’re done.

Give out real treats

Treats are treats. Kids love treats. You love your kids. What to do? Every store has colourful boxes lined up on shelves ready for us to buy (think of the resources wasted just to get those boxes printed and on shelf!). It’s scary to think of the artificial colours, flavours, refined, over-processed ingredients and dyes that are in our candy. Try safe and delicious snacks that kids will love (and parents will too!).  Sweets From The Earth has a great Halloween deal to buy their individually wrapped Chocolate Chip cookies at a great price, plus they are low in saturated fat, have no artificial colours,  flavours, preservatives or refined sugars, nut-free, 100% vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, lactose-free, gmo-free and certified kosher, yet  full of decadence.  Look for other great Halloween treats from ethical companies such as Yummy Earth, Surf Sweets, Cocoa Camino ( and Endangered Species (

Walk around all charged up

Use a solar charged, crank powered, or shake and shine flashlight to walk around your block at night.  Eton ( has a fabulous range of products powered by alternative energy…no batteries required, which means no batteries running out mid-use (how annoying/disappointing is that?) and no batteries to ever dispose of either. Major upside – many solar or crank gadgets can charge your smartphones and other electronics – perfect for blackouts or travel anywhere – even if just in your neighbourhood. Be sure to buy one that lasts, so it won’t end up in landfill as quickly as everything else on a typical Halloween.

For more information on great tips to make your Halloween less scary, then read our complete downloadable Halloween Guide.

Lisa Borden

Our monthly contributor of Consciously Shopping in Toronto, Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. She is a dedicated workaholic, admitting that it takes a lot of time and effort to change the world, especially in her non-preachy, fun, engaging and inspiring ways. Lisa consults, writes, engages the media, runs private workshops, and enjoys speaking to large and small groups. Her full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc. is based in Toronto and takes great pride in being an ethical business providing exceptional ideas. You can sign up for Lisa’s rants and raves or reach her directly at

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