Fair Trade Economy
“Halloween is the sweetest day of the year for most kids. But while we gobble up treats, the burden falls on children of West Africa, which exports 43 percent of the world’s chocolate. Almost half of the Ivory Coast cocoa farmers’ kids never go to school because their families need them to work.
Thankfully, companies like Dagoba (dagobachocolate.com), Equal Exchange (equalexchange.com), and Endangered Species Chocolate (chocolatebar.com) source ethically traded cocoa from small farmers who put profits back into their schools and communities. Better yet, they each sell individual pieces perfect for handing out on October 31st. Global Exchange (store.gxonlinestore.org) also makes a Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit with dark chocolate minis, handmade paper decorations, and postcards full of information.”
I started doing some research on some ideas for eco-friendly halloween costumes. Some of which I was not very impressed with. I remember wearing my plastic She-Ra mask and ridiculous plastic tunic with her painted armor on it, and think back to how much chemical process went into making it. Many costumes are worn once and tossed because for children it is cliche to wear the same costume again the next year.
This presents a waste problem. So what can we do?
1. Trade with friends and family or even freecycle. Why not see if someone else in the neighborhood would be willing to go as your child’s old costume? Swapping costumes would be a great way to prevent some of the waste being generated by new costumes every year.
2. Make costumes out of existing materials. One thing the Suite101 article does point out is using existing supplies to make costumes. My ex-husband used to joke about wrapping himself in a white sheet and putting a bucket on his head to go as a shoestring. He actually wasn’t that off base. Let your childrens imaginations go wild with some play clothes that are dressed up. And dont’ forget to enter the DIY Halloween Costume Contest for 2007!
3. Donate old costumes to children’s hospitals, women’s shelters, churches, or a charity organization such as Goodwill. Many of these places can put old costumes to good use for needy children and parents unable to afford costumes.
Bug Bites: small organic squares from Endangered Species Chocolates, www.chocolatebar.com, in milk or dark chocolate. Each square contains one of 48 different endangered species trading cards, and 10% of profits go to animal and conservation causes. Buy directly from Endangered Species website or find a store through their online retail directory.
Rapunzel Lady Bug Truffles: Rapunzel, www.rapunzel.com, offers small ladybugs, complete with legs, that contain hazelnut truffles. (Caution: some kids are allergic to nuts, so check before handing them out).
Hard Candies. The Candy Company, www.veganessentials.com, sells bags of organic Sour Fruits Hard Candies in cherry, lemon, pineapple, and orange. Website offers online purchasing.
Mints. Truly Organic, www.mothernature.com, sells packages of 12 individual boxes of organic mints (Peppermints, Spearmints, and Wintermints.) Website offers online purchasing.
Gummi Bears. Organic Candyâ€™s Gummi Bears, www.shopnatural.com, in Classic, Jelly, and Super Sour Mixed Fruit flavors. Offered in four individual packets per box. Website offers online store.
Eco-Friendly Tips for Halloween
1. Purchase locally grown pumpkins to support your local economy. Know where your pumpkins are coming from whether they are for eating or just for decoration.
2. Save fuel and get some exercise by walking instead of driving around to trick-or-treat. Turn trick-or-treating into a family outing knowing that you are taking a step towards a healthier environment for your little ghouls and goblins.