The Spooky Truth About Halloween and Toxins

Halloween is a time for costumes, candy, and face paint. The truth is that there are many toxic chemicals in those store-bought costumes, face paints, and candies. Fortunately, there are alternatives out there! In this article, we will explore the toxins found in conventional Halloween goods. We’ll also provide healthier options to purchase so that you can have an environmentally friendly, safe, and low-toxin Halloween experience this year!

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The Concerns with Conventional Face Paint

The vast majority of conventional Halloween makeup contains heavy metals such as lead (a dangerous neurotoxin that can contribute to learning disabilities in children), mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, additionally many options on the shelves have been found to have traces of asbestos. While using these face paints every once in a while is not necessarily a problem, it’s always a best practice to seek out the better options out there.

The Concerns with Conventional Candy

When looking for healthier halloween candy we want to search for swaps of our favorites while still enjoying a sweet treat. The problem with most store-bought Halloween treats (and food in general) is that they have been laden with artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, corn syrup (and/or other forms of fructose), white sugar, GMOs, and non-organic ingredients.

The Concerns with Halloween Costumes

Most store-bought kids’ costumes are made from polyester or nylon that is often coated with flame retardants – chemicals known to disrupt hormones and contribute to birth defects, cancer, infertility problems in adults, learning disabilities in children (such as ADHD), obesity, and diabetes. Additionally, many plastic costumes contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is made from vinyl chloride, a carcinogen. Many conventional costumes and play jewelry have been found to contain lead. Non-organic fabrics, including cotton, are sprayed with pesticides and/or coated in chemical finishes such as fire retardants that contain endocrine disruptors like brominated flame retardants (BFRs). What does this mean? These chemicals can interfere with hormones in the body, leading to reproductive issues. When it comes to masks, even non-toxic latex masks can cause rashes due to the adhesives used on them. This is especially true for those who have allergies to latex.

How to Have a Non-Toxic Halloween

There are many non-toxic (or low-tox) alternatives for costumes, candy, and face paint that are not only better for your health, and safer but many times eco-friendly as well. Take a look below at some of our favorite picks for this year’s Halloween season!

Non-toxic Costumes for Kids

Safer Halloween costumes have become more accessible but you may still have to plan ahead as the better options aren’t available at your standard big box store. Many stores have started offering organic baby Halloween costumes and organic kids’ costumes.

The main things to look for when purchasing a non-toxic costume are non-toxic dyes, non-shedding fabrics (some costumes are made with real fur), and non-PVC plastics. Additionally, if you can find a costume with natural fibers like cotton or wool, this will be best for your little one.

Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson makes costume sets that can match many of their organic cotton pajama sets. This is not only creative but a wonderful way to get multiple uses out of items. The costume additions are great for imaginative play, and the organic jammies can be used over and over again. The quality of Hanna Andersson is impressive and the items are known to last year after year. Not only do they have the best costumes for kids but they also have adorable baby’s first Halloween costumes, too!

Unicorn Costume: Unicorn Costume Set | Unicorn Long John Leggings in Organic Cotton | Unicorn Print Leggings

Princess Costume: Royal Princess Costume Set | Heather Grey Long John Pajamas in Organic Cotton | Disney Princess Lohn John Leggings in Organic Cotton

Firefighter Costume: Firefighter Long John Pajamas in Organic Cotton

Deer Costume: Baby Reindeer Pilot Cap In Organic Cotton | Deer Baby Zip Sleeper In Organic Cotton | Critter Slippers


Primary has tons of wardrobe basics in a variety of colors. These basics lead to endless costume possibilities that can be used for many purposes! Check out Primary’s Blog for tons of ideas for no-sew costumes, group and sibling costumes, and 30-minute Halloween costumes! They have options for baby costumes as well as kids!

Alvin and the Chipmunks No-Sew Costume: Brown kids bottom* | Red kids top* | Blue kids top* | Green kids top*

Annie No-Sew Costume: Red Kids DressWhite Kids Tights

Octopus Baby: Purple Baby Footies | Purple Baby Hats

Sarah Silks

Sarah’s Silks makes beautiful silk pieces that are 100% silk. They are committed to being eco-friendly, are hand-dyed with non-toxic dyes, and can be used for anything the imagination holds!

Butterfly Wings: Amazon | Sarah’s Silks (rainbow version)

Silk Crown: Amazon | Sea Silk Crown on Sarah’s Silks

Rainbow Cape: Amazon | Rainbow Silk Cape on Sarah’s Silks

Meri Meri

Meri Meri has many adorable costumes that are great for Halloween or dress-up. There are options for accessories and costumes with endless possibilities! Meri Meri is dedicated to using non-toxic dyes and inks, no PVC elements, BPA and BPS-free, lead-safe, and more! Meri Meri is a great option for a non-toxic Halloween costume.

Parrot Cape: Meri Meri

Rainbow Costume on Sarah’s Silks

Dragon Costume: Meri Meri

Dinosaur Costume: Meri Meri

Lovelane Designs

Lovelane Designs is based in Savannah, GA and has a keen focus on heirloom quality items that will look great and be used for years! They Use eco friendly dyes that are hand printed, no phthalates, no pesticides or herbicides, and PVC free! Many of the items are 100% cotton.

Love Wins Super Hero Shield: ETSY

Pink Superhero Costume- Reversible Cape: ETSY | Maisonette | Amazon

Pirate Vest: ETSY

The Raven Costume: ETSY

Hunting Faeries

Hunting Faeries is based in Massachusetts and makes beautiful handmade masks and headpieces. Each item is made with felt and is perfect for a homemade costume or pretend play! These masks are gorgeous and affordable!

Koala Mask: ETSY

Flamingo Mask: ETSY

Lion Mask: ETSY

Safe Face Paint

As face paint doesn’t require FDA approval , many nasty ingredients are sometimes snuck in. In many popular face paint brands lead, cadmium and other heavy metals have been found. Additionally , we want to avoid products with fragrance. Because face paint is used on the face, it is especially important to choose safe and non-toxic options since it is on a delicate part of the body and close to where we can easily breathe particles in. For safer face paint options looks for colors and options that are made with natural ingredients and tints.

Klee Naturals

Klee Naturals uses beeswax, shea butter, and mango seed butter to create great gluten-free makeups and face paints. These products are made in the USA and are free from talc, parabens, FD&C colors or dyes, and harsh chemicals.

Rock Star Play Makeup Kit: Amazon

Astro Star Natural Mineral Face Paint: Amazon

Natural Earth Paint

Natural Earth Paint is made with natural ingredients, many of which are organic and/or fair trade. They use shea butter and castor seed oil and wash off with water with natural clay and mineral pigments. These face paints are free of heavy metals, formaldehyde, petroleum-based pigments, animal products, parabens, and phthalates.

Natural Earth Paint: Amazon | ETSY

Go Green Face Paint

Go Green Face Paint is certified organic colors that are lead free and made in the USA. They market themselves as safe for kids with allergies and are water based.

Go Green Face Paint: Amazon

Healthy Halloween Treats

These options have no artificial flavors, artificial dyes, dairy, gluten, high fructose corn syrup, nasty preservatives, and GMOs. Additionally, since they do not have as many artificial ingredients, they tend to be less in sugar, as well!

Bonus Tip: How to Have a Sustainable Halloween

Use what you have! If you’re feeling crafty, why not make your own non-toxic costume? Get creative with things around the house – try using an empty box for a robot or paint old clothes to look like a minion. You can make fun costumes by only purchasing a new accessory or borrowing something!

Going trick or treating? Reuse your trick or treat bags from last year or use non-toxic, eco bags. If you don’t have any on hand, check out this Organic Cotton Canvas Tote Bag* or this It’s Frickin Bats I Love Halloween Recycled Cotton Tote Bag* both found on ETSY!

If you are recycling clothing, wash them first in non-toxic laundry detergent! My favorite options are Branch Basics* (get $10 off with this link) and Molly Suds*

As you can see, non-toxic costumes are not hard to find. The next time your little one wants to be the cutest bee around (or any other non-toxic animal for that matter), check out the links above! By shopping for non-toxic, organic, and sustainable alternatives instead of conventional items you find at big box stores, you can avoid the harmful chemicals usually associated with Halloween costumes and candy while still being able to let your kids enjoy this fun holiday!

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