When I was a kid, people used to give out apples and home made treats on Halloween – until I was about 8, when an urban legend about razor blades in apples came along. It wasn’t true. But the story succeeded in getting us not to trust our neighbors, but instead to trust Hershey’s, Nestle’s, et al. Turns out individually wrapped mass produced chocolate is not safe for children after all. Unlike razor blades in apples, child slave labor on cocoa farms is no myth.
Kristen Howerton offers an overview of the problem with chocolate (and offers alternatives) in this article on her blog Rage Against the Minivan.
But fair trade chocolate is not the only option this Halloween. Maybe we need to start getting to know our neighbors once again – we need to learn to trust one another not to commit random and anonymous acts of violence against our children. I’ve already bought a big bag of fair trade lollipops this year – but I think next year, we might be handing out fresh pumpkin bread and apples.