How to: Socially-Conscious Halloween tips

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Happy Friday everyone! So, you’re probably aware of the holiday that is right around the corner, candy-crazed, spooky Halloween. In the Christian faith, Halloween is often a highly controversial topic. Some believe that the origins of Halloween are too dark and sinister to participate in the holiday while others think of it as a fun, harmless tradition.

If you are Halloween-ing this year, the 30 Hour Famine team wants to educate and equip you to have a socially conscious Halloween. Here are 2 ways you can enjoy the holiday, while keeping the environment, and others, in mind.

1. Re-think costumes. Recently, in Real Simple magazine there was a study showing that Halloween costumes in the US create 12,500 tons of landfill waste each year! Instead of spending $25 on a new costume for yourself and/or your children, get creative! Swap costumes with your friends and neighbors; go to the Goodwill and find a used costume or create your own; or dig through your grandparent’s vintage clothes and see what you find. Shock your friends with a totally unique (not to mention environmentally friendly) Halloween costume!

2. Chocolate isn’t always as sweet as you think. I think we can all agree that candy is a staple ingredient to a successful Halloween. However, the Chocolate you serve to the neighborhood kids could actually be harming other children around the world. Many find it surprising to learn that nearly 300,000 child laborers work on cocoa farms. Most of these farms are located in West Africa which supplies 80% of the world’s Chocolate. Many of these children are trafficked and coerced to work for up to 100 hours a week. They survive dangerous working and living conditions often with no education. Unfortunately, most chocolate (even Godiva and Ghirardelli) is slave-made.

Buying fair trade is often more expensive because it ensures that field workers are employed, not enslaved, and they receive a fair wage for their labor. With this money, they are able to provide for their family, send their children to school and are less vulnerable to disease. Instead of buying just any chocolate this year, look into fair trade brands (see below), or offer another socially-conscious treat!

How do I find fair trade chocolate? Fair trade chocolate is easy to find at your local health or organic food store. Chains such as Whole Foods or PCC always carry fair trade chocolate. Do a quick online search and find your nearest store. Common fair trade chocolate brands are: Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, Dagoba Chocolate and Divine Chocolate—my personal favorite!

Whether you’re dressing up, or manning the door for trick-or-treaters, have a great Halloween!