I got asked this weekend about environmentally friendly Halloween practices. BLEARGH.
You've heard of Greenoween? Other sites have written of its value. Mar Vista practices it. It's a Seattle thing, originally. At its most fully realized, it's about educating your kids (with special focus on the 1-5 year olds, whose ideas about holiday traditions aren't so deeply ingrained) about the environmental consequences of Halloween candy, costumes, makeup, and general revelry.
I refuse to deprive other kids of the value of debating whether fun size Kit Kats are better than fun size Reese's Peanut Butter cups. (Fair trade Halloween chocolate still has an international carbon footprint, after all.) No, I don't advocate TP-ing houses as a prank. I reject plastic costumes on aesthetic grounds.
But look. You're going to buy back candy from kids to send to troops in harms way? Those little fun size wrappers will still be all over Afghanistan. And now you've again shipped candy that has been shipped before. What are you teaching your kids there? If someone came to my door and said, "trick or treat...for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network!" I would say, "Okay, trick." The idea that teenagers should "reverse trick-or-treat" and educate people about fair trade cocoa fills me with a pain. Not to mention a desire to start aging some rotten eggs right now for next year.
You're always supposed to brush. You're never supposed to litter. Too much candy on August 17 is the same as too much candy on October 31. And Halloween is supposed to be scary, people. (Not slutty.) (And, okay, sure, not wasteful or gluttonous.) It's All Hallow's Eve, wandering souls. It's Samhain; the end of the lighter half, the start of the darker half of the year. A night of prayer and merriment.
You want to be scared by something possibly, you know, scary?
How about this, which I learned from Ken Weiss' story in the Los Angeles Times today: there's a kid, Adnan Mevic, who's 12. He's kind of the anti-Baby Diego: the United Nations officially designated him the 6 billionth person in the world. And the U.N. says we're theoretically at 7 billion today.
Now a seventh grader, he lives in a single-room apartment in the Bosnian city of Visoko with his parents. Times are tough for the Mevic family. Adnan’s father Jasmin is terminally ill with colon cancer and cannot work. His mother lost her job as a textile worker three years ago. Adnan has been diagnosed with a small hole in his heart. They survive on $350 a month and cannot afford the healthcare they need.
“We never heard from the U.N. again. We never received anything from them, not even a birthday card,” his mother Fatima tells ABC News.
The places where kids are coming fastest, LAT's Weiss writes? "Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the combined populations in Europe, North America and other wealthy industrialized nations will remain relatively flat." Waves of growth hit the United States, too.
I don't know whether we should celebrate or fear the 7 billionth person. But I am familiar with carrying capacity. I don't want any of these kids to be our Baby Diego. But it would be great if the United States more actively entered the conversation bout world population growth and what it means. The absence of thought on that subject is scarier than any fun size Snickers.