Just what do you need for a green halloween? Very little! Construction paper, lunch bags, and string can quickly transform into jack-o-lanterns, candle-light luminaries, and spider webs. The fruits of fall harvest also provide delightful decoration options with pumpkins, acorns, gourds, and apples.
Not spooky enough for you? Hit up your local thrift store for creepy treasures at cut-rate prices. You’ll be recycling, supporting a local charity, and getting gently used decorations that will work for years.
Are there any eco-friendly Halloween products worth buying? Eco Green Crafts Witchy Halloween Stamps are made from recycled rubber and have a lovely vintage appeal.
You can also use your food to spruce up the atmosphere. Think orange and black items such as carrot sticks and olives or licorice sticks and pumpkin bars.
Or decorate yourself! Become a fashion-forward green advocate by dressing up in a recycling bin costume. (Which could easily be homemade!)
If you’d like to creatively craft your own decorations, check out some of our best Halloween decoration posts:
What are you giving for Halloween this year? There are options outside of the traditional candy wrapper and sometimes kids actually prefer them. Our readers have shared time and again that children love having choices.
Some of my favorite ideas are simple and time tested. A bowl of pennies, Halloween stickers, and Halloween pencils is a fun alternative to pure sugar and kids get the chance to choose a few of their favorites. You can even throw in marbles or beads, as long as you make sure to tell the children that they aren’t edible!
I’m tempted to order a 72 pack of Halloween Glitter Tattoos for just $6.50. They’d be a spectacular addition to that bowl of prizes and end up costing less than ten cents each. (And even our teenage trick-or-treaters would love them.)
Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks make a nice snack, but they end up costing about 80 cents a bag. Still, if you’re going with the “big bowl of goodies” theme, you can throw a few of these in without breaking the bank.
On the other end of the cost spectrum, Sun-Maid Raisin Mini Snacks cost approximately 5 cents a box when you buy them in bulk on amazon. (A 9 pack of bags with 14 mini-boxes comes in at 21.39, which provides you with 126 mini boxes.)
Stretch Island Summer Strawberry Fruit Leatheris all natural, 100% fruit and costs $12.80 for a 30 pack.
Have I missed any simple Halloween treat options? What are you planning on offering your costumed visitors this year? I’m going to have more trick-or-treators than ever so I’d better start stocking up!
***This post was accidentally published early on Friday before I had finished, but when I read Larisa’s comment I was thrilled. Clean out your kids’ random plastic loot while stocking your goodie bowl! Genius!
I was also thinking of ransacking my huge collection of foreign coins that are currently buried at the bottom of our junk drawer. Kids would be thrilled to get a japanese yen, and since they’re about 100 yen to a dollar, it’s maybe even worth going to a bank to get a few rolls. We could pass out beautiful coins with a hole in the middle to fascinated kids. That would be the treasure they’d cherish most all evening! (Especially once their blood sugar levels out and the candy wrappers all end up in the trash….)
Do you need a diaper bag? In What’s in your diaper bag? I asked that very question. And in Retiring the Diaper Bag, I lovingly described the beat-up black bag my husband lugged to and from our daughter’s daycare for five years.
Obviously, you don’t need to buy a bag dedicated to diapers. You could simply tuck your supplies in your purse, a messenger bag, a backpack, a canvas shopping bag, or even a crinkled plastic bag. You could carry extra diapers and wipes in the pockets of your cargo pants, you could snap a clean Fuzzibunz over your baby’s head and use it as a hat until changing time. I’m just brainstorming here. . . .
These skinny cargo pants are just the thing for toting around cloth diapers, wipes, a few snacks, and an extra onesie
Stay tuned for my next post in this diaper bag mini-series, in which I provide some eco-friendly diaper bag suggestions for parents who don’t feel like stuffing diapers in their pockets. In the meantime, we want to know what you use if you go without a dedicated diaper bag.
ReCrib is a dreamy place to purchase high quality baby gear or make money selling used baby items. Thank goodness a site like this now exists!
If only we would have had reCrib when our babies were little. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we share that we each spent about a thousand dollars on our babies’ first year, and we did it by reducing, recycling and repurposing what we already had. (Typical american families spent upwards of seven thousand on baby’s first year alone!)
With reCrib you can buy heirloom quality baby gear at 40-60% off retail prices, and then sell it back (using reCrib) for a respectable sum when your baby has outgrown it. It’s essentially a top quality, online consignment store.
For more information on reCrib, here is an interview with one of its founders, Daniel Lehmann. (The images you see are items that are currently on sale at reCrib for about half of what they’d cost new.)
1. What exactly is reCrib and how can people use it?
reCrib is a free online marketplace for the best gently used baby and kids gear – the must have cribs, strollers, high chairs, etc. It’s great for parents who want to declutter and recoup the costs of items their kids no longer use – and also great for new parents who want all the best brands and products for their kids but at a significant discount. But the best part is that it’s the green thing to do!
2. What inspired you to start reCrib?
We were moving apartments and decided to take the opportunity to declutter and sell the gear and toys our kids outgrew.We assumed there would be a great site targeted towards parents but were surprised to found out it didn’t really exist. We had all this amazing stuff – Netto Cribs, Bugaboos, Peg Perego High Chair, etc. – in nearly perfect condition. As parents, you acquire all this stuff that you use for only months to a couple of years. We wanted to create a solution and believed there would be a market for this idea.
3. What types of gear can people buy and sell and on reCrib?
Think of a dream list for a baby registry at a top modern design store. Cribs, strollers, high chairs, bikes/scooters, bouncy seats, toys, furniture, and more, all by the best designers and manufactures.
4. Many people say that parents should only buy new cribs because of safety concerns. We at Greenbabyguide are in full support of used cribs, but how do you ensure that the used cribs you offer are safe for consumers? How do you deal with drop side cribs? ( We wrote a post about crib side stabilizers and I wonder if you offer those to customers)
We try to stay as informed as possible about any safety issues and constantly monitor the site. We will immediately pull an item off the site if there is any recall or safety concern. We also do our best to keep people updated through Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, we encourage our users to do their homework regarding product safety.
5. At Greenbabyguide.com we firmly believe that buying secondhand is greener than buying new. Have your customers had similar reactions?
Yes!! reCribers care deeply about sustainability and do whatever they can do on the green front. It feels good to know you are doing the right thing.
So what can you buy at reCrib right now?
This bugaboo black stroller sells for over a thousand dollars on Amazon, but you’ll find it for just $500 on reCrib. We realize that’s still a lot of money, but if you resell if for $300 after you use it, it will cost less than many lower quality travel systems on the market. And top quality baby products will last through dozens of babies–it’s better to be the second or third family to use it than the first!
In my 2008 post, “What’s in your diaper bag?” I questioned the need to lug around a gigantic tote stashed with diapers and burp rags. Even when Audrey was small, I got by just fine without a diaper bag at all!
I may not have mentioned that my husband did carry around a diaper bag. In fact, now that my daughter has started kindergarten, it is only now being retired. We received a cheap plastic diaper bag for free at the hospital where Audrey was born. I believe it came with a complimentary canister of Similac formula. When Audrey started daycare at eight months, my husband saw no need to buy something fancy like a Diaper Dude diaper bag ($55). Nor did he seem drawn to the organic cotton fabrics on the Amy Butler diaper bags ($250) that are all the rage in some circles. So he stuck with the hospital freebie.
Diaper Dude Diaper Bag
Over the years, he’s taken that bag (and Audrey) to her wonderful daycare provider. At first we needed it to transport bottles of expressed breast milk and bundles of cloth diapers. Later we filled it with a change of clothes and shoes, a swim suit, and a snack for the ride home. Now it’s literally falling apart. The white plastic lining is torn, the pockets have ripped. It’s too battered to donate to a thrift store.
I’ll miss this beat-up little bag, even though I never carried it around myself. I guess I’ll have to get by on the memories!
Nursing tanks were my absolute favorite breastfeeding support gear. While I was quite comfortable nursing in public, I loved that they helped me to flash as little flesh as possible. And they also provide post-pregnancy tummy coverage and an extra layer of warmth in the chilly months.
If you’d prefer an all-in-one nursing tank, Glamourmom’s Nursing Bra Tank is a good option. It’s extra long to accommodate our shifting sizes in the months after baby and comes with a soft cup bra built into the tank. Clips allow you to fold down the top part of the tank for easy nursing access.
Bravado! Designs Essential Nursing Bra Tank also provides a built in bra and comes in a variety of colors. The length of the tank extends to the thigh and many consumers rave about their love of this product. It’s available in a wide variety of sizes too, although I notice that there aren’t many small cup options.
Nursing women who already love their nursing bras can use a Nursing Tank by Undercover Mama that actually clips onto the straps of your nursing bra. It comes in three colors and still allows you to have the coverage of a nursing tank without having to use a built-in bra.
A similar option is Ecoscape’s Undershirts for Nursing Moms. The tanks actually just come with two large circles cut out of the breast area, allowing women easy access to their nursing bras.
The most deluxe nursing tank I came across was the Double Cream Nursing Tank by Ecoscapes. It’s made to support mom and baby with simple, easy to unhook shoulder straps, but it’s two layer design also allows for hands-free pumping. (I never learned how hands-free pumping was possible with my two babies, but I have to admit that it does sound appealing!)
I used about five cotton nursing tanks from target. They shrank, didn’t provide any support, and were ratty and worn by the time I finally finished nursing. If I would have realized that I would spend a total of four years breastfeeding my children (2 years with each child), I would have just invested in some high quality pieces right from the start. (Or looked for some gently used, high quality
nursing tanks in consignment shops.)
Have you used nursing tanks? What would you recommend for other breastfeeding mothers?
If you use cloth diapers on the go, you need someplace to stash the wet ones until you’re back home again. On the minimal end of the spectrum, you could simply use a Ziploc bag or any old plastic zipper bag. That’s what I did for several months. When my daughter started going to daycare at eight months, we needed a heftier option and ended up getting something like the SealLine Dry Sack, which we found at a sporting goods store for under $10. At the time, I don’t think we realized there were cuter options out there, but this bag did the trick. They’re available in a variety of sizes. Ours could hold a whole weekend’s worth of diapers.
Now there are several cloth diaper wet bags on the market, all of which are much classier than a Ziploc bag:
We’ve always had a thing for Monkey Foot Designs, and we can attest to their attractiveness and durability.
Kushies On the Go 2 pack wet bag. ($10.99), with a draw-string closure.
Bummis Fabulous Organic Wet Diaper Bag ($14.37)
Itzy Ritzy Zippered Wet Bag ($17.95)
Planet Wise Diaper Wet Bag (from $16.50)
Kissa One Size Antibacterial Wet Diaper bag ($11.99)
Munchkin Damp Goods Bag ($8.99)
What do you use when you change a cloth diaper out on the town? Chime in with your recommendations (or anti-recommendations) in the comments!
The glider rocker that has been dutifully serving our family for the last two years has broken into shards in the midst of a lullaby. It was the third in a series of used gliders that fell apart, one by one. On the journey to their demise, they squeaked and groaned just as our babies were falling into a deep slumber–usually between midnight and 3am.
We don’t really need a rocking chair at this point, but I have to wonder if we’d have been better off with a traditional rocking chair to begin with. I was adamant about buying a glider with a rocking ottoman. Why? My sister-in-law had one and I was sure it would be far more comfortable than the antiquated version.
But old rocking chairs become antiques simply because of their simple design and sturdy build. Why mess with a design that has worked for the last 300+ years? (Napolean actually had the above rocking chair in his bedroom way back in the 1800′s.)
Perhaps high quality glider rockers will eventually become antiques of sorts, but if you’re buying secondhand, which is both green and thrifty, it might be worth it to go for a traditional rocker. If you’re buying new, the greenest option is to purchase a piece of high quality furniture that will last for generations. Or, if you’re anything like Rebecca, you’ll skip the rocking chair altogether and opt to slow dance to lullabies for the first few years.
Lara Bars are my newest addiction. Unlike most granola bars or energy bars, most of the flavors contain nothing but dried fruit and nuts. However, they aren’t cheap. They usually cost more than a dollar a bar, even if you buy the family pack. (This Lara Bar fruit and nut food bar pack costs $25.21 for 16, which comes out to $1.58/bar.)
Soon I found myself searching for ways to make homemade Lara Bars. I really like the Hot Fudge Brownie Lara Bars from Chocolate-Covered Katie. She has a huge list of Lara bar recipes to try. And these homemade Lara Bars from Foodie with Family look much fancier than mine, which I prefer to simply roll into balls and store in a glass container.
I’ve now made my own no-bake date and nut bars, which are naturally gluten-free, quite a few times. Here’s my method:
Basic Homemade Lara Bar Recipe
1 cup (120 g) nuts—whatever kind you like
1 1/3 cup (230 g) pitted dates
Put everything in a food processor and process until everything is blended. Roll into little balls and store in a glass container in the fridge. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water; if it’s too sticky, add some more nuts. Enjoy!
Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is packed with useful information for new parents who want to go green on a budget. (Are we biased? Absolutely!) Beyond the cloth diapering advice, tips on buying used gear, and a directory of the best green gear at every price point, we included recipes for homemade baby food.
Since chilly fall days are just starting to descend, we are sharing our Pumpkin Pancake recipe with our online readers. These pancakes can be made ahead of time in big batches and frozen so you can pull them out for easy breakfasts. They’re healthy, delicious, and your tot probably won’t mind if you make a stack of them up for yourself as well.
Mix all moist ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine them, adding additional milk if needed to get the right consistency. Warm griddle or skillet to medium heat and coat with vegetable oil. Cook for approximately three minutes on each side and enjoy!