I know. I’m the one who was complaining about the Halloween candy being on the grocery store shelves in August. It’s still August, and now I’m telling you about Halloween candy. There’s a reason.

Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Cocoa Campaign has begun their Third Annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign and anyone who wants to participate can place orders now for the Reverse Trick-or-Treating kit. What’s this all about?

Hundreds of groups of trick-or-treaters in the United States and Canada will unite to help:
  • END poverty among cocoa farmers
  • END forced/abusive child labor in the cocoa industry
  • PROMOTE fair trade
  • PROTECT the environment
A pleasant surprise will greet nearly a quarter million people distributing candy at their door, when youth reverse the Halloween tradition and hand adults a sample of fair trade chocolate.

The chocolate will be accompanied by a card informing recipients of poverty and child labor problems in the cocoa industry, affecting mainstream candy enjoyed at Halloween and around the year, and how fair trade certified chocolate provides a solution.

My family participated in Reverse Trick-or-Treating last year, but we did it a little differently. We gave the candy to teachers, the boys’ friends' parents, and neighbors a day or so before Halloween.

I felt a little preachy doing it, but I thought, “I’m giving them chocolate so I’m sure they won’t mind.” I wanted to spread the word about the importance of fair trade chocolate, but I was hesitant to have my boys hand it out as they went door to door begging others for candy. I didn’t want them to give a message to people they didn’t know who might have been interpreted like this:

You know that candy you just gave me. It could have been better. The candy you just generously gave me, that I asked you for, was probably made from cocoa picked by poor kids who are being overworked. You should give different, better candy.

So we went the route of friends and neighbors who I thought wouldn’t interpret it that way. I don’t know if it changed anyone’s thoughts on fair trade. I hunted down a post that I wrote afterwards Here’s part of it.

Even one of my best friends looked at me like I was a little off my rocker when handed the card and candy. At first she thought I wanted her to give it out to someone else and she said she didn't want to. I told her, no, it was for her. The conversation didn't go much past that, but I'm thinking I came one step closer to being the crazy hippie lady in my neighborhood on Halloween.
I’m not trying to discourage you from participating in this program. It’s important to spread the word about fair trade products, and this is one way to do it. You need to decide if it’s something you can do comfortably.

I’ll be writing more about choosing Halloween candy in a month or so, but for now I wanted to let you know about the Reverse Trick-or-Treating program in case you wanted to sign up. The website says that individuals can place orders until October 13th, but they usually run out of candy long before the deadline. 

Image: Stu Spivack

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