Halloween isn’t just an occasion to be frightened by witches,
vampires, and
prepubescent girls in revealing Halloween
. It’s also a great time to spread a bit of social
conscientiousness to revelers in the form of organic and fair trade

Before grabbing a bag of bite-sized Hershey bars, consider where
that chocolate comes from. An estimated 40 percent of chocolate
comes from Ivory Coast, where most cocoa farmers are impoverished.
Farmers in the other top cocoa-producing nations, including Brazil,
Indonesia, and other West African countries, don’t fare much
better. Responding to a fair-trade inquiry in her column,
Umbra Fisk details some of the not-so-fair practices in the
chocolate business. With Ivory Coast cocoa farmers netting
approximately one cent from a 60-cent candy bar, farmers are using
their children as laborers. The work is endangering: ‘[T]hink
swinging a long machete when you haven’t had enough to eat, or
spraying pesticides without the proper protective gear,’ writes

These kids aren’t always there by their own or their family’s
will. Liza Featherstone, blogging on for The Nation’sThe Notion, cites the
Consumers Association
‘s statistic that 284,000 children in West
Africa ‘are working under dangerous conditions, or have been

There are ways to avoid supporting such practices. The fair
trade label guarantees that growers received a fair wage for their
product, and inspectors are employed to monitor child labor
practices. However, in the $60 billion chocolate industry, fair
trade chocolate doesn’t even make up one percent of sales. Both
Fisk and Featherstone assert that consumers could swing this
percentage up this Halloween with their purchasing power.

Now that you’ve thought about where candy comes from, consider
what it’s doing in the body. Childhood food allergies are popping
up in schools everywhere, and the folks at
Go Dairy
encourage people to stock up on vegan and allergen-free
treats this Halloween. They’ve included a list of
trick-or-treater-ready candy manufacturers
who make treats free of artificial flavors and many common
allergens, such as dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, and casein. Some
companies offer standard Halloween fare, like witch-shaped
chocolates, but others are a little more inventive, like
YummyEarth, who had the ingenuity to make
vegan pomegranate lollipops.

While buying socially responsible candy for Halloween might take
a bit more work, try looking in your local health food store or
online and you might be surprised how accessible these treats are.
Halloween is supposed to be scary; your candy is not.

Go there >>
The Sweet Lowdown

Go there too >>
Scary Halloween Treats
And there >>
No Tricks, Real Treats for a Non-Dairy and Vegan

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