Avoiding PVC & Toxic Chemicals for a Safer, Happier Halloween

October 26, 2012

Halloween
Photo by @hanna_horwath

One of the scariest things about Halloween? No, not ghosts and goblins. Try this on for size: many children's costumes and masks sold in stores are made with PVC, known to be a toxic chemical for children's health. 

It's an often-overlooked hazard of Halloween, even for parents who hand out healthy alternatives to candy. Our friends at the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)  add that the danger doesn't stop there: 

Even scarier is that many vinyl products are laden with harmful phthalates,  endocrine disrupting chemicals banned in toys but widespread in many other vinyl products children come in contact with.  Vinyl products also often release a witches’ brew of toxic chemicals into the air.  That’s that new plastic vinyl smell so many of us grew up with.  Who knew it was so scary! 

But the CHEJ does offer a few easy ways to make your child's Halloween safe and healthy (and scary for the right reasons):

  • Avoid PVC: Shop for PVC-free costumes and masks.  If you’re not sure what the costume is made out of, ask the store or manufacturer whether or not it contains PVC and phthalates.
  • Make your own costume out of safer PVC-free materials!  We bet you can come up with something fun and creative by just diving into your closet.
  • Trade safe costumes with your friends. No need to buy more stuff.
  • Use safer face-paints

Are you putting together a healthy Halloween costume this weekend? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Plus: Check out the discussion on this post, “How Do I Do a Healthy Halloween?” for ideas on healthy treats and celebrations!