Many Halloweens ago, I was living with a Halloween Grinch. (I may still be living with this Grinch, who has happily reformed). Me, on the other hand, is more of a Who once Halloween comes around. As a former actor and fan of the children’s TV show Mr. Dressup, I have no shortage of ideas for how to celebrate, come October 31. And not once have those ideas included being a cat.
I digress. Every year may be different when it comes to costume choices (and even costume mates, should I wish to give my Grinch the night off). One thing that does not shift, however, is my attitude towards the “treat” part of trick or treat. For the last five years or so, I have wondered: how could I, in good conscience, take away from children in one country, just to give to children who already have more than enough?
Most people aren’t knowingly doing this when they shell out the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (be still my heart). But buying fair trade is the best way to assure cocoa farmers are given their due and that your money is not going in the direction of child slavery, which many mainstream chocolate companies contribute to. Thankfully, some companies are starting to see the light. Nestle is one of them – stating their commitment to fair trade sugar, cocoa and vanilla for its trademark Kit Kat bar (but check the packaging to be sure – it isn’t the case for all sizes).
Companies with Fair Trade in Mind
- Camino has Halloween minis ready for you; it is a Canadian organic and fair trade product. Camino supports more than 36,000 farms in 9 countries. It is also freaking delicious.
- Divine chocolate is fair trade, 100 per cent pure cocoa butter, and grown by family farmers in Ghana. Cocoa farmers themselves own the largest share of Divine Chocolate. You can get an 18 pack of their snack bars in flavours like Caramel Milk Chocolate or just grab a bag of their minis in milk or dark chocolate. This is one of those times when you might be pleased when you have a low turnout of Trick or Treaters.
- Alter Eco is a socially just and environmentally responsible company. You can buy a bundle to try varying flavours, and in the meantime, they will plant a tree in your honour. With flavours like Salt and Malt and Brown Butter, this is an extremely enticing way to do good.
- Green and Blacks Fine organic chocolate and ethically sourced, Green and Blacks has bars with mint, toffee, ginger and other add-ins that perk up a basic white, milk or dark chocolate. The dark chocolate is heavy on the cocoa (over 70 per cent!) and might be best saved for the adults. Like you wanted to share all the chocolate, anyway.
- Dairy Milk Cadbury was the first major confectionery brand to offer fair trade chocolate, meaning kids will likely not have a look of disappointment when they grab a piece. This has been the case for some time (since 2009)! Cadbury’s chief executive has been in Ghana to keep abreast the importance of improved living standards for farmers. Cadbury has invested over $80 million over the last ten years to secure the sustainable socio-economic future of cocoa farming.
Sugar in excess might not be great for the kids, but at least you can rest assured that making these kinds of choices will be better for the world at large.
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