\nPalm, packaging, and plastic decorations\nI don’t want to spook you or anything, but Halloween can be downright ghoulish on the environment. There are the use-one-and-chuck costumes and plastic decorations, of course, but the most devilish enviro-tricks are often packaged in the sweetest of treats. Yep, those chocolate candies are almost certainly hiding a dark secret - palm oil.\nYou probably know all this, but here’s a refresher on why palm is so scary.\n\nBoo! It’s palm!\nThere’s no way any company can hand-on-heart say their palm oil is genuinely sustainable. There are just too many loopholes in the so-called sustainably-produced palm certifications. And most palm production? It’s devastating. Terrifyingly so. Ancient forests that house a disproportionate percentage of Earth’s species are being levelled to make way for new palm plantations. This loss of habitat is threatening apex species already being run to earth by poachers - along with lesser-known plants and animals.\nMeanwhile, those trees are our Earth’s lungs, breathing in CO₂ and breathing out precious oxygen. Palm oil is, quite literally, choking us to death. And what’s worse is that it’s everywhere. Palm oil and its derivatives are cheap and extremely versatile - so much so that it’s estimated that half of the products on supermarket shelves will contain palm in some form. Sadly, chocolate is one of the worst offenders as palm oil gives chocolate a smooth texture and a shiny-delicious look.\nTurn that Halloween candy over - if it lists 'vegetable oil' as an ingredient, that’s probably palm.\nPackaging poltergeists\nThe absurd amount of packaging commonly associated with Halloween treats was a response to those myths about needles and poison in Halloween candy that made everyone freak out about unwrapped treats. That’s caused a Halloween avalanche of packaging. Little tiny fragments of plastic, blowing in the wind, like little ghosts that will haunt the earth forever (ok, now I’m giving myself the creeps). Unfortunately, given how worried most parents are about safety, the reality is that if you’re giving out candy, it seems like the best option is store-bought, and individually wrapped :( If you have any alternative ideas, send them our way!\nSo how do you treat, instead of trick?\nIt’s easier said than done, but the first place to look is at the ingredients list - anything that pongs of palm, put it back. Better yet, seek out and support those using their businesses for good. Many palm-free products are peddled by companies who make lavish use of it in their other products and brands, so look for ones that are totally palm free. Try Whittakers chocolate if you’re in New Zealand or if you’re based in Europe of the USA, try Green \u0026amp; Blacks.\nMake it homemade\nJust like most things, making your own Halloween goodies to enjoy at home considerably reduces packaging, and comes with added palm-free benefits. For the trick-or-treaters, see if you can still find candies that are wrapped in rice paper or foil, or packaged in boxes.\nFor treats to enjoy at home, here’s my favourite chocolate recipe to kick start things:\n Ingredients:\n\nBase:\n\n1tbsp Coconut oil\nCacao Powder (Raw, organic cacao is best)\nSweetener such as stevia, maple syrup\nPinch of salt\n\n\nToppings:\n\nNuts and seeds\nberries\nMy own version of caramel: tahini \u0026amp; maple syrup.\n\n\n\n Instructions:\n\nHeat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat.\nStir through 1 teaspoon of cacao powder, taste and add more as It will be bitter, but you’ll be looking more for a chocolatey flavour at this stage.\nAdd 1 teaspoon of your sweetener of choice and stir, taste and add more as\nStir through a tiny pinch of salt.\nIn your mould of choice, fill to halfway with your chocolate mixture.\nNow to add fillings! My personal favourite is mixing tahini with maple syrup and coconut oil (mix to taste) and adding that to the chocolate Fill the rest of the mould up with chocolate.\nFreeze to set (takes about 1 hour).\nThis recipe tends to make 1 ice cube tray of chocolate for me.\n\n\n\nRent or make costumes and decorations\nBypass the garish store-bought costumes and decorations and head instead to your local secondhand shop. There you’ll find the gown worn by a long-dead ball-goer, the nightie worn by Rose at the end of Titanic, sheets to make a mummy and a suit that any vampire would be caught dead in. You’ll often find hordes of decorations too that end up being donated post celebration by others.\nOpting to rent or DIY costumes and decorations is far more fun, and a lot kinder to the Earth.\nIf you’re pushed for time (or lack even the most basic crafting skills) then your local costume hire place is your new best friend - they’re often stocked with gear from TV and film production, for a super authentic Halloween.\nSet a less-spooky trend\nIt might not seem like your small effort making treats and buying palm-free goodies will have much of an effect, but you’d be surprised. What you do this year could catch on with your friends next year, and then the trend will become an avalanche that helps save the planet. And that could make Halloween not so scary after all.