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.

Gift Giving is a Weird Concept

At some point in the past few years, I started to realize how full of fluff and fake niceties a lot of social events (especially those “celebrating” something) really are. Perhaps I’m a pessimist when it comes to talking about such things, but I’ve either grown jaded to things like birthdays, or I’m just starting to see such events for what they really are.

Don’t get me wrong. Holding birthdays for family members or kids serves its purpose quite well. The problem is that people still expect to be coddled on their birthday into their late 20s, and I just don’t jive with that mentality by any means. At some point or another, you’ve got to realize that a birthday is merely a day we’ve been conditioned to view as super special. And the whole idea of gift giving? That’s a bit extra.

Now, let me take a step back to talk about why I feel so strongly about these things. Honestly, I feel it all starts with the idea that we “owe” someone else a gift on their special day. This is where I have a huge problem, simply because this implies that we shouldn’t treat this person well the other 364 days in the year.

“Oh but I do treat my friends nice throughout the rest of the year!” Do you? If you honestly do, that’s great and how things should be. By all means, still get them a nice gift this year since you guys have a great relationship.

But for those of you who feel like you’re obligated to get a friend a gift or that getting them something will show you care about them… I have news for you: that’s not caring for a friend, and they don’t want your gift if you feel obligated to spend on them.

I mean, really, I just find the whole idea of spending money on certain items and wrapping them up in cardboard boxes to be kind of weird. It’s not something we do in our everyday lives, but if it were, well, then a birthday gift wouldn’t be so special. It would be just another gift. This is pretty much the embodiment of the whole “live everyday like it was your last” mindset. The more we place some special importance on a single day in the year, the less likely we are to treat every day as amazing and special.

So there you have it. I don’t “hate” birthdays. I just find the idea of shelling out money for gifts only to put them in cardboard boxes with a nametag to be overall pretty petty. Why not do this every month for those you love?

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.

The Need to Recycle

I remember as a kid seeing the recycling logo (the 3 arrows, specifically) for the first time. I was in grade school, if I’m not mistaken. I never used to know what it meant until we had a representative for some environmental agency show up and teach us about how important the three Rs (recycle, reduce, reuse) were.

Fast forward to my late 20s, and here I sit watching a precious part of the world burn uncontrollably, all for our ridiculous consumption of meat.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s that the Earth matters far more than anyone is willing to believe. And those who believe that it matters are often derided as blindly believing things. It’s a weird and twisted cycle that honestly makes no sense considering the scientific evidence of what’s all going on.

Outside of drastically overhauling your diet, though, we really can take the appropriate steps to help reverse some of the damage we’ve done to the environment. Restoring our planet may take a long time, but it’s possible with the right help from everyone.

And one of the biggest things that needs to happen now is recycling. If the majority of people got on board with recycling, which is honestly such a simple task to carry out on a daily basis, the world would be in a much healthier state within a year. It’s honestly so simple to toss your cardboard boxes and paper waste into one bin, all your plastics into another, and then your glass into a third.

But for whatever reason, people act like it’s some incredibly tough and time consuming chore. All because it’s a little easier to just throw everything in a bin that gets taken out once or twice a week.

In reality, recycling takes little to no extra time, since it’s easy to visually spot which bin you want to throw your waste in. And if it’s food waste, which doesn’t belong in any of the three aforementioned categories, then you should be composting! Composting can even handle the likes of cardboard boxes, too, which can save your paper bin much more room than if you included both.

We need to start making this change here and now. No more putting it off. No more acting like our landfills are an endless abyss. No more being okay with plastics making their way into our oceans to the point of killing all sorts of species, both endangered and otherwise. We have to make a stand by making a change.