Halloween Handout Alternatives

As society moves forward, we’re beginning to learn more and more about different diets, food allergies, and other dietary restrictions in kids, adults, and seniors. This means that restaurants have a heightened awareness of food labels and labeling their own menus, and it also means taking specific orders very seriously and to the exact point. Any single mess up could mean the business is sued or worse: a patron could become severely ill or even die from mishandled food.

A lot of people have taken up arms in this new era, considering some of these dietary restrictions as needless or extra, and they’re quick to point the finger at political correctness. Whatever it is, being PC has caused scores of people to get offended by having to be more careful about what they say and how they say it. I’m guessing it’s because everyone seems to hate change, and having to change up the way they speak for the sake of others (oh the horror!) has caused them some sort of distress.

Nonetheless, back to dietary restrictions. With Halloween here, I told my partner that it would be great to offer some sort of alternative to handouts given on Halloween night. Since so many different candy boxes are full of too much sugar or have dairy products or even tree nuts in them, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hand out little crafts or stickers instead. Since nonfood items can still be enjoyed, there’s no worrying about what kids may have certain allergies to certain foods.

So, instead of handing out jawbreakers and milk chocolate bars and an assortment of candy boxes, I think we’re going to be content buying a hodge podge of little stickers online off Etsy, and we may even knit our own little spooky ghost figures or bats. I know a lot of kids look forward to the sweets they get on October 31st, but considering they’ll get plenty of candy from other neighbors, I feel better knowing I didn’t cause some unwanted food reaction while also handing out something memorable to the kids.

See, being aware of food allergens and dietary restrictions isn’t hard at all. All it takes is some thoughtfulness and willingness to switch up the norms to accommodate others. I don’t see why this is such a big deal to so many people, but I have a sneaking suspicion it all rides on having to go out of your way to help out another person. And that, for some reason, is too hard to do.

Reusing Your Cardboard

I’ve always been a huge fan of holding on to things (especially supplies and materials) that you think you no longer need. This is especially so for anything that’s often regarded as trash or mere packaging. For example, think of all the cardboard boxes you’ve ever had in your life. Now try to imagine the percentage of those you could’ve broken down and stored away for future use but are instead somewhere in a landfill, taking up space for no reason?

For as versatile and eco-friendly as cardboard is, we have a habit of throwing it straight in the trash instead of using it around the house for storage, recycling it, or even using it for mulch or composting. Why is it that we are always so obsessed with throwing things away?

The short answer is because we’re lazy. The long answer? Because the landfill system has made gathering trash and tossing it in a hole in the ground far easier than alternative methods. So, with a system made for us to be lazy, we’re all going to be lazy and choose the laziest option. Why would it have turned out any other way?

I try to do my part, though, in holding onto cardboard from packaging instead of tossing it straight in the trash. In fact, the last option I choose is recycling it. And I only resort to that if I don’t have use for it, don’t end up burning it, or can’t use it in organic matter, such as mulch and composting. (Yes, you can do both of these if you take the time to learn the process and do it on your own.)

Ultimately, we have to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions, and that includes everyday actions like tossing things in the trash.

If you happen to think of it, refuse to throw your cardboard boxes away the next time you get something in the mail from online. Heck, even if you got it from the store and it’s packaged in cardboard, make the conscious effort to break it down and store it away. And if you already have a huge amount of cardboard because you’ve been doing this, choose to recycle instead of trash it! It cannot be understated how much reducing your trash and reusing things from packaging helps to benefit the environmental state of the world. If only everyone would take the time to recycle one piece of cardboard once a week, things wouldn’t look so bleak.

Stay-At-Home Movie Nights

I remember growing up and doing our own little movie stay ins with my parents instead of driving 20 minutes to the nearest theater to spend a lot of money on popcorn and candy and drinks. While they still took us to the movies every now and then, we’d do these stay at home theater experiences more often.

To be honest, a lot of kids would probably be upset about this. They’d prefer the movies because of the huge TV screens and the candy boxes they weren’t used to getting to eat out of. That, coupled with putting endless amounts of butter and salt on the popcorn, would make most kids prefer that experience.

But me? Nah. I loved my stay at home movie evenings on the weekends with my parents. It felt more comfortable to get snuggled up in my blankets. I felt more at home being able to get up and do what I wanted if needed. I always felt like being able to eat other food, outside of candy boxes especially, was a lot cooler. While we still did popcorn often enough, we’d also do finger foods that you wouldn’t be able to eat at any theater at the time.

This was my experience growing up, and I feel like it’s a pretty common thing shared among late 80s and early 90s kids. Renting movies was all the rage around the late 90s, as was having the newest TV or VCR. That’s just how things were.

Now, it’s no wonder I find Netflix and other streaming giants like Hulu and even Youtube to be far preferable to going to the movies. As a young adult, I’d rather save my money for other things while still getting mostly the same experience in my own living room. While the movies and TV series on streaming platforms aren’t “brand new” like the movie theater would be showing, I have no qualms about waiting a few months to see something.

Times have definitely changed, but I’m finding my preferences for these experiences definitely have not, much to the benefit of my wallet. Heck, being able to stay home and have a movie night with my fiancee is also beneficial to our dog, so that we’re not always out and away from the apartment. Instead, we choose to do as much as we can at home to save money and make our own experiences out of nothing. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Wedding Gifts Given and Received

I made my way (alongside my fiancee) to a friend’s wedding this past weekend, and it was held at a pretty big brewery. As a lover of beer, it’s safe to say that I had lofty expectations that were met and exceeded once all was said and done.

Despite being excited for such plans, I know my fiancee was a little nervous for the weekend’s festivities since she was a part of the bridal party, her first time being in one to boot. She was first worried about what I would do the day before and day of while she was doing her bridal duties (which I told her not to worry about at all). And more so than that, she was a bit anxious about what was expected of her and trying to do her all to be there for the bride.

When all was said and done, things went swimmingly. I enjoyed my own alone time relaxing back at our AirBNB and doing my own thing while she was busy. And her other uncertainties were just fine when it came to doing what she could for the bride and the whole bridal party.

One of the coolest things I didn’t realize was so standard nowadays with wedding parties was the gifts my fiancee received from the bride as a thanks for being part of her special day. She got a brand new tote bag that was super cute, some makeup and toiletries to celebrate the occasion, and a few candy boxes that were elegant and “fancy” for candy. (I’ll try not to mention how I ate one of the two candy boxes the day of since my fiancee isn’t a huge fan of candy haha!)

wedding gift for guest; Shutterstock ID 414452338

I’m a big fan of weddings because of the celebratory nature of the events, especially considering how once in a lifetime they can truly be. Of course, not always do weddings turn out to be the only one someone has in their life, but that doesn’t mean the occasions should be any less heralded as an amazing time to unwind and have fun.

I look forward to all of the weddings we have lined up in the next year, especially considering that ours is on the horizon, just 13 months away. There’s nothing quite as exciting in life as a huge life event such as this, especially one where all of your friends and family can be there with you to celebrate you.

Shipping Makes Eating Easier

The more I get into eating healthier, planning out my meals, learning about my diet and how it interacts with my ideals, and purchasing cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable food, I feel like I owe it to myself and to what I believe in to keep pushing forward.

The latest push forward I’ve been wanting to make finally took place this past weekend: purchasing shares from a community supported fishery (CSF). Basically, by paying a certain amount of money per month, you’re guaranteed a certain amount of fish by the pound in that given month. This is huge for fisheries considering that you’re paying them more money up front for their product (which allows them to expand, do better in their practices fishing, and pay more towards other causes). It’s also huge for the customer because they’re guaranteed a particular product that is unmatched by any competitors out there. Why is that?

Because there really aren’t many other competitors at the moment that matter. CSFs are basically competing with bigger stores (like Meijer or Walmart or Kroger) that sell fish at cheaper prices. The thing with their fish, though, is that it’s more often than not farmed, it’s not as healthy, it’s been frozen twice, and the methods of obtaining the fish are bad for the environment, bad for the ecosystem from which the fish came, and bad for the fish themselves.

So while you’ll be paying a little more for your food, the efforts that these CSFs go to in order to give you the best experience possible is outstanding. What’s cool for the consumer, too, is that once you’ve ordered your share, you’ll receive cardboard boxes full of your flash frozen fish (with dry ice to keep them frozen in transit!) on a monthly or bimonthly basis. All that you need will be sitting right there on your doorstep once you get home.

Even better, there’s no better way to get the freshest, most environmentally friendly and sustainable fish out there if you’re landlocked and don’t have access to truly fresh, wild caught fish. For example, I live in the Midwest and there’s no way I could find anything else as good as the product which I’m now buying in on.

CSFs made their model based around community supported agriculture (CSAs) that are becoming more and more frequent. Now that I’ve made the leap to a CSF, I know I’m extremely interested to be a part of a CSA around me. After all, I do live in the Midwest.