We live in a Happening Halloween Neighborhood. On the street where I grew up, kids were few and far between. Not here in townhouse land. We get overwhelmed by Halloween visitors every year, and I’m often in a vague panic about running out of candy. This chaos is kind of fun, even though I’m not really a Halloween enthusiast. However, every year I have a dilemma about the candy.
You see, I don’t really like giving kids candy. My own kid eats some candy, but it’s fairly limited. I think I’d prefer to hand out locally-sourced, organic carrots, but it would probably be better to avoid turning on the lights at all.
I have the usual concerns about candy: the ingredients are terrifically suspect and do nasty things to your body. I also have a problem with the less-than-ethical sourcing of most chocolate products, since I don’t particularly want to support child labor just to get my Halloween candy.Oh yes, did I mention candy is overpackaged too? Yes, it’s only once a year, but I still cringe. And so every year I wander about looking for the right candy – the kind that’s organic and not too overpackaged and hopefully fair trade. Oh yes, and I’d like it to be allergen free as well please. Thank you.
Last year, I found some candy that I’d deem to be all right: fairly traded, allergen free, organic rice bars that don’t taste like wallpaper paste (not that I have ever tried eating wallpaper paste). I may not win the award for best candy house, but I don’t feel uncomfortable either.
But this year, something different. Yes, we’ll have modest amounts of candy on tap, but we’re also going to try to start a new trend. I’d like it to be about regeneration.
In addition to the modest amounts of candy, this year we’ll be handing out little Grow Your Own Pumpkin Kits to the folks who come to the door. I’m making them out of small envelopes that are both recycled and recyclable. I got a little stamp and will be stamping each one with a pumpkin and a Grow Your Own Pumpkin note on the front. I’ll slip in a few sugar pumpkin seeds. The seeds are good for a few years if they’re stored in a cool, dry place. Since we have a very pumpkin-full community garden bed in front of our house, I may post myself there and hand them out to the neighborhood children who can return in the spring to plant. The children have been fascinated by the pumpkins growing there and check on them regularly. Now they can have their own!
Grow Your Own Pumpkin Kits
If you’d like to make your own pumpkin kits, here are my ingredients:
- Tiny envelopes. I got these at a stationary store.
- Bulk pumpkin seeds. I got these from our local organic seed store.
- Stamp with “Grow Your Own Pumpkin Kit” on it.. I got mine from Vistaprint.
- If you’re feeling exceptionally organized, you could also print out some instructions on a sticky label.
Will my Halloween experiment be a success? We’ll have to see – I’m sure that the parents will appreciate it, but I’m curious to know if the neighborhood kids will enjoy the novelty. If they do plant the seeds, I’m sure that they’ll enjoy their pumpkins next year.