Natural Halloween, DIY Costumes and Treats

Superhero Halloween Costumes

As Halloween approaches, anticipation about costumes, parties and candy builds. Creating or buying an inventive, safe Halloween costume needn’t be overwhelming—there are countless options. You might choose to create your own costumes by sewing, gluing or grabbing vintage items. Or, you might be looking for ready-made costumes that are non-toxic and safe. Likewise, Halloween treats don’t need to be loaded with sugar to be delicious. Check out our ideas for natural costumes and delicious, low-calorie Halloween goodies that make for a night that is both safe and enjoyable.

Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costumes

As Pinterest takes off in popularity, users are posting images of a huge variety of costumes you can easily make yourself. Outfit your baby like a popcorn box, or dress your son like Peter Pan. Whether you sew or prefer to cut and glue, it should be easy to get inspired and to execute on a creative idea.

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Keeping costumes simple for younger children allows them to change their minds without driving you nuts and avoids dashed parent expectations (I speak from experience; my three-year-old ended up being too tired to trick-or-treat after a day of excitement). A Superman T-shirt and homemade cape or train conductor overalls and a cap with a bandanna is really all you need for a toddler. Take an old dress and create a fairy costume with the addition of homemade wings and a wand, or glam it up with a store-bought tiara to turn your little one into a shimmering princess. Non-toxic makeup, glitter or face paint can create all kinds of effects.

Letting children guide their costume creation process can be a great bonding experience for your family. The ballet shoes your daughter has been wearing every week might become Strawberry Shortcake’s shoes, or the fireman raincoat your parents sent your son might end up being the cornerstone of his Halloween ensemble. Your kids may very well surprise you with their original ideas.

Costume Safety

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the most common Halloween injuries include pokes in the eyes from sharp objects, burns from flammable costumes and injuries from collisions with vehicles, so it’s important to consider safety as you plan your family’s costumes.

Whether you make or buy a Halloween costume, make sure the entire ensemble—the main part of costume and all accessories like wigs—is flame-resistant. Check to see that the costume and accoutrements meet federal flammability and breathability standards. Natural fibers, like cotton and wool, are both flame-resistant and non-toxic, not to mention eco-friendly and sometimes even organic!

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Keep props, like swords, canes and wands, soft and flexible, so that a fall or an accidental poke in the eye doesn’t result in a trip to the emergency room.

Encourage kids to wear hats and non-toxic makeup instead of masks, which make it harder to see and aren’t necessarily free of chemicals.


kids trick-or-treating

Additional Halloween Safety Tips

To ensure that drivers easily see your young ghouls and goblins, put reflective tape on costumes or trick-or-treat bags, and send the crew out with flashlights and at least one adult chaperone. Sticking to familiar routes and obeying traffic laws—using sidewalks and crosswalks, and walking carefully—keeps pedestrians safe at all times of year, especially Halloween.

Natural Halloween Treats

Candy isn’t the only tasty item trick-or-treaters will enjoy. Pumpkin, the healthy food of the season, makes an array of great homemade Halloween treats  (just include a note to parents if you are passing these out instead of store-bought candy). Or, consider giving out an entertaining non-food item like plastic spy telescopes, spider rings, other small toys or even toothbrushes.

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If you host a Halloween party, bobbing for apples—with a bowl of apples available for spectators—is a great way to incorporate fruit into the celebration. Consider serving a sweet or savory pumpkin dish—or both—to revelers.

Happy Halloween!


Katie Ginder-Vogel is a freelance writer and editor based in Madison, WI. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English from Stanford University. An avid runner, hiker, and swimmer, Katie writes regularly about health and wellness. She has two children and a dog, who keep her company on the trail, on the road, and in the pool.