‘Green Halloween’ offers healthier options

Corey Colwell-Lipson knew Halloween would turn green. She just didn’t expect the holiday to change colors so quickly.

Corey Colwell-Lipson knew Halloween would turn green. She just didn’t expect the holiday to change colors so quickly.

“It was the plan,” the Issaquah resident says. “We didn’t know when it was going to happen, we didn’t know how it was going to happen, but we knew it would spread.”

Colwell-Lipson is the founder and director of Green Halloween, and co-founder of the movement’s parent company, The Green Year, LLC. Her mother, Renton resident Lynn Colwell, is The Green Year’s other founder. Colwell has also helped her daughter with much of Green Halloween.

Green Halloween is about “thinking outside the conventional candy box” to make the holiday healthier for children, the community and the environment, Colwell-Lipson says. That means changing trick-or-treat goodies from teeth-rotting candy to longer-lasting “treasures” such as bracelets, marbles, shells, stones and handcrafted toys. Candy and food isn’t out of the question either. Colwell-Lipson recommends organic candy and treats. A selection of treasures and treats are available on www.greenhalloween.org.

Green Halloween started last year with a Web site, a few corporate sponsors and green Oct. 31 parties at area churches and schools.

Green Halloween is continuing this year, not just in King County but across the country. Green Halloween now has five official locations: Canton, Conn., Daytona Beach, Fla., Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Under the leadership of a Green Halloween coordinator, these cities are hosting earth-friendly Halloween events.

“What we do is we provide the bones,” Colwell-Lipson says. “We say, ‘Here’s what we did, here’s the marketing material and contacts. Then, each city has its own twist on the bones we provided.”

Los Angeles is hosting a hip hotel gathering, Canton is hosting a kids arts and crafts session. A local nonprofit benefits from each Green Halloween chapter.

In addition to these cities, Colwell-Lipson says thousands of neighborhoods, schools and churches are greening their Halloweens this year.

“You definitely don’t need a Green-Halloween stamp. You can do it on your own,” Colwell-Lipson says.

Her local Green Halloween chapter has kept last year’s ideals. But the chapter, and movement, has solidified. Last year Green Halloween was a grass-roots initiative. This year, Green Halloween is a program of Treeswing, a Seattle nonprofit aiming to reverse the childhood-obesity trend through nutrition and exercise. Treeswing is the beneficiary of the local Green Halloween chapter.

Colwell-Lipson’s Green Halloween chapter hosted events last year. This year those events have expanded. In addition to a slew of local happenings, the chapter is helping green Halloween events hosted by Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Woodland Park Zoo.

By talking with companies and stores, Colwell-Lipson has also helped create more Green Halloween products this year than last year.

“One year later, we can recommend probably twice as many food products, and more are on the way,” she says.

After talks with Colwell-Lipson, Chicobag created a reusable Halloween bag and Clif Bar a Spooky S’mores bar. Both products feature The Green Year logo. Annie’s Homegrown also created packages of organic Halloween candy, crackers and cookies. And Green Halloween tags identify healthy Halloween items at Bellevue’s Whole Foods.

Colwell-Lipson and her mother are “incredibly excited” about Green Halloween’s expansion. The pair wants to expand the movement even further next year. They’re not going to plan that expansion too much though.

“We never know day by day what we’re doing, but we’re moving,” Colwell says. “We’re not going to stop anytime soon.”