witch HalloweenThis witch knows what’s up with conventional candy.Photo: Brittany RandolphIs your candy scarier than your costume?

Not if you’re handing out local, organic apples, no. But if you’re handing out your average candy bar (the kind without a mask) this Halloween, watch out for trick-or-traders out to stab you in the back — with knowledge.

Thousands of little boys and ghouls are expected to be roaming the streets, handing Fair Trade candy back to houses they visit in a choc-and-awe campaign called “Reverse Trick-or-Treating.” Are the kids well-meaning? Yes. Will they grow up confused about how this holiday actually works? Well, if they bring me chocolate, then I’ll reserve judgment.

A group of nonprofits and Fair-Trade chocolate suppliers, led by human rights advocates at Global Exchange, are organizing this effort to spook up the truth about the truly frightening abuses of child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry. Along with tasty, guilt-free treats, the kids will be passing out cards with more information about why they’re the ones spilling the jelly beans on this holiday famous for its freebies. Part of the campaign focuses on booing chocolate mega-giant Hershey for not ending child labor in its supply chain and asking the corporation to raise the bar [PDF] by sourcing Fair Trade.

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The neat trick here is that adults get the treats.

To all the kids out there taking part: I’d be more than happy to let you practice your spiel at my house this Halloween. I’m located down the street from this organic, Fair-Trade chocolate-maker, if you need to stock up first.


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