A Quick Guide to Culturally and Environmentally Appropriate Halloween Costumes
Halloween activities are estimated to reach pre-pandemic levels this year. More and more people are buying candy in anticipation of handing it out, decorating the house, and buying costumes to wear to a gathering. Nationwide costume spending is anticipated to reach 3.3 billion compared to 2.6 billion in 2020, and candy and decorations are following the same pattern. All of this is leading to a festive 31st! However, this increased consumption causes a harmful aftermath. The gross majority of Halloween costumes are “cheaply” made. They are predominantly polyester, a fiber that is excruciatingly difficult to recycle and repurpose, and takes over 500 years to decompose. An investigation, by environmentalist charity Hubbub, found that an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste was generated on Halloween from throwaway costumes in 2019. 2021 is estimated at $200 million more than 2019! This is a LOT of polyester in our landfills
- Buy second hand. Boheme has a huge selection of costumes. Local thrift stores, SPCA, Goodwill and All Things Right & Relevant may also have a Halloween section set up.
- Use clothes you already have. Our staff made wonderful Mystery Gang costumes last year with clothes that they will wear year round.
- Make your own costume. Make it from second hand clothes, or purchase sustainable fabrics (like cotton, linen, and flannel) to make your costumes.
- Keep your costume for future years, or wash and donate.
What is cultural appropriation?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, cultural appropriation is when someone adopts a culture that isn’t their own and does not acknowledge or respect the culture being used for their own benefit. Examples can be hair, clothing and impersonating, like using popular African American Vernacular English terms, to fit a persona. An unfortunately common example is mimicking Indigeonous cultures.
How to avoid offensive costumes. What if my child wants a specific costume?
There are three main rules to follow:
#1: Avoid a costume that is mimicking another person’s culture or physical appearance.
#2: If you wish to dress as a specific person/fictional person of a different culture be sure that #1 is followed, however it still may be offensive. Imagine every person who sees you in the costume, will everyone be okay with it? If not, it’s best to pick a different costume.
#3: Be sure it is done with good intent and not for personal gain, and educate your friends and children. “We should pick a different costume, this one might hurt someone’s feelings”, it is never too early or late to teach empathy.
This topic gets a little trickier when referring to specific fictional characters. Creators of the film “Black Panther” have said children of any race can dress up like the superhero, and when “Moana” was released, the voice of the titular character, Auli’i Cravalho, encouraged people to dress up as the Polynesian-based princess. The appropriation occurs when adults and children mimic physical characteristics, like hair and skin color, traditional practices, like tattoos, piercings, vernacular/language and clothing, and when done with less than wholesome intentions, like gaining popularity and mocking.
Resources and Additional Reading
$1 is Worth More in the Hands of the Food Bank
With the proper resources, connections, and operations, Food Banks turn $1 into $6 or more.
“With 42 million people in the U.S. at risk of facing hunger due to the pandemic, donating your extra or purchased dry and canned goods through a food drive might seem like the best way to help your neighbors need. But, the best way to support your local food bank is actually through donating money.” – Feeding America
Note From the Author
This blog is in no way trying to stop you from donating food. If donating food is what you want to do, do it! At the end of the day, the food bank needs food and your donations of food and/or money are greatly appreciated by the food bank and the people in our community. I only ask that you consider donating money and if you choose to donate food, donate good food!
The Food Bank is Better at Buying Food
The Food Bank has connections with large and/or local supplies and grocers. Larger quantities and better prices are an obvious win for the food banks. Some food banks claim to turn $1 into $6 when purchasing food! Instead if buying and donating a can of Tuna, consider donating the $2. The Food Bank may be able to buy 3 to 5 cans of Tuna with the same amount of money.
Money does not Need to be Sorted and Stored
Food Drives have an obvious appeal of handing over a tangible item. However, a large box of random non-perishable items takes time and money to sort. A large part piece of operating a food bank successfully, is ensuring that the distributed food can be made into a meal. This means that meals plans and nutritional needs are essential when prepping distribution boxes. This is much easier to do with large quantities of the same or similar items, which is not always the case in food drives and small scale food donations.
You Don’t Know What the Food Bank Needs
Along with better pricing, the food bank can use the money to buy the items that they need at the moment. If everyone donated peanut butter, then they can use the monetary donations to ensure everyone gets all the items they need. The Yolo Food Bank keeps nutrition in mind when accepting and prepping donations for distribution. With monetary donations, the food bank can buy the food necessary to ensure a complete nutrition plan.
Things You Can Do to Help the Food Bank
- Plan a monthly donation: this provides a steady flow of income that makes operating easier. Food Banks get a flood of donations during the holidays, which is great but can make it difficult to predict their future funding.
- Host a virtual food drive: this allows people to donate from the comfort and convenience of home while doing good!
- Consider Volunteering: if donating cash is not your thing, consider donating your time. Sorting all the inconsistent and miscellaneous donations is time-consuming!
Fiery Ginger Farm
West Sacramento Urban Farm
Fiery Ginger Farm is a West Sacramento Urban Farm. Shayne, from Stockton, and Hope, from Michigan, both worked in farms or gardens and teaching in grade schools. They are both graduates of the California Farm Academy with the Center for Land-Based Learning.
Currently, at the Co-op, we carry their Loose Spring Salad Mix, Sunflower Sprouts, Gypsy Pepper, and Heirloom Tomatoes. Keep an eye on our signs in store to see what new things we bring in from Fiery Ginger.
“to grow the highest quality food using sustainable practices, deliver hands-on, ag-based educational experiences, and develop community where we farm. We believe that urban farms are powerful agents of change for the environment, the food system and the cities we service.”
Welcome to the Co-op, Flying V!
Flying V Farm is a new Davis Food Co-op vendor, thanks to the help of Kitchen Table Advisors. Flying V is a certified organic worker-owned farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, just 60 miles from the Co-op. They work together to produce food in a way that nourishes our community, stewards the land, and empowers workers. They strive for a more socially and ecologically just rural economy by practicing worker-ownership and collective care.
Flying V delivers their produce to us in clean, reusable tubs. This helps cut costs and waste for both of us. We snapped this pic on Friday, when Flying V delivered their first batch of produce to us! We received gorgeous beets, little gem lettuce heads, and more.
Meet the Team
Lucy O’Dea – harvest, sales & events manager
Cody Curtis — field, perennials, & site manager
Katie Lewis — assistant field manager
The Davis Food Co-op occupies land that belongs to three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
As we constantly work towards our Cooperative Principles Concern for the Community, and Education, Training, and Information, we have donated to local organizations that support this land acknowledgment such as the Center for Land Based Learning, Cache Creek Conservatory and Yolo Basin Foundation and will continue to do so. We know there is much work to be done to provide the space for Indigenous cultural conservation and education in our region.
We invite you to learn more about whose land you are on here: https://native-land.ca/. You can also learn more about the #landback movement and how you can participate in and support land activism and Indigenous communities here: https://landback.org/.