Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween (now with fewer slaves)

Halloween Trick-or-Treat 2011

Here’s what I’m giving out for Halloween this year. I decided that it was more important to take a stand against child slavery in West Africa than give out the most loved objects of Halloween, such as Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Hershey’s, Nestle and Mars have had more than 10 years to assure consumers that they’re not buying from growers that enslave children on their cacao plantations. When they have, then I’ll start giving it out to children.

So to avoid this issue completely I bought sugar candy - that is, candy made without chocolate.

Airheads - multiple flavors of chewy fruity flavors. Made in Kentucky, USA.
Chick-O-Stick Nuggets - peanut butter flaky goodness. Made in Texas, USA.
Annabelle’s Abba Zabba & Big Hunk - nutty nougat. Made in California, USA (by union labor).

What I lack in chocolate, I’ll likely make up for with quantity and variety. We usually only get between 25 and 40 visitors. With more than 300 pieces of candy, each kid gets a heaping adult-dispensed handful. And it won’t melt. (Yes, it’s still in the 80s here this week in Los Angeles.)

So what are you giving out for Halloween this year?

Related Candies

  1. Look! and Big Hunk
  2. Airheads
  3. Abba Zaba
  4. Chick-o-Stick

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:50 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyHalloweenHighlightFun Stuff

  1. I’m just giving out Rockets this year, or as Americans call them, Smarties. They’re my favorite Halloween candy and buying seven giant bags of them means I have at least two to eat myself.

    Comment by Tanie on 10/31/11 at 11:25 am #
  2. Thanks so much for this post! It’s inspiring to see folks take a stand against the labor abuses that big chocolate has failed to address. For those who are interested, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of ethical Halloween chocolate candy alternatives:

    Comment by Carla on 10/31/11 at 11:57 am #
  3. I’m giving out sour patch and sour straws.  It was, pretty much, what Walgreens had left last night and has the advantage of Not Being Something I Like.

    Comment by Cat Skyfire on 10/31/11 at 1:27 pm #
  4. I gave out slave chocolate. Deal with it.

    Comment by Brad on 10/31/11 at 2:19 pm #
  5. My husband went whole hog and we gave out full sized candy bars.  We had about 40 trick or treaters, so much fun.  I did not know about the slave labor though, we will be buying different candy next year.

    Comment by celia on 10/31/11 at 5:45 pm #
  6. Next year would you consider doing a reminder post in the week before?

    Comment by celia on 10/31/11 at 5:46 pm #
  7. Halloween got cancelled here (CT) because of the snowstorm.  Most people don’t have power yet and it was too dangerous to let the kids out in the dark with all of the snow, tree limbs down and power lines down still.

    Comment by lynn on 11/01/11 at 8:55 am #
  8. Slaves aren’t ok but artificial ingredients and processed chemicals are?

    Comment by esla on 11/01/11 at 10:29 am #
  9. oh for goodness’ sake, esla, i guess you should hand out home-made bread crusts for halloween.

    Comment by ruffy on 11/01/11 at 10:33 am #
  10. Cybele's avatar

    elsa - Yes, they are. For Halloween they are.

    celia - yes, I’ll try to do a better roundup of options for different ethical and dietary issues next year.

    Cat - I was surprised at how big a hit the Airheads were. (I was planning on picking up Sour Punch Straws, but couldn’t find them.)

    Tanie - Rockets are great, they were one of my favorites as a kid, and they’re low allergen. Except for those artificial things that elsa mentioned.

    Carla - I think one of the big issues with the fair trade chocolate items is that they’re not “candy” they’re usually formatted as adult chocolate. I think the market is wide open for more ethical candy that still has kid appeal.

    Comment by Cybele on 11/01/11 at 10:34 am #
  11. Hi Cybele,

    Agreed—a good portion of the fair trade chocolate items on the market are better suited for adult palates and tastes. However, the list that I’ve compiled actually offers fairly traded versions of popular Halloween candies (the items are comparable to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, York Peppermint Patties, Rolo Caramels, and Hershey’s Milk and Special Dark Bars). There are some excellent, kid friendly, Halloween appropriate alternatives out there. I even conducted an informal taste test survey with a group of kids and adults and we found some candies that were ranked superior to traditional Hershey’s brands. It was a blast!

    Take care,

    Comment by Carla on 11/01/11 at 10:46 am #
  12. Cybele's avatar

    Carla - yes I’ve tried all of them and reviewed most of them here.

    However, they’re not really formatted quite right for Halloween. (As you noted, the cups should be in singles.) And they’re really cost prohibitive - $2 per kid is just not doable for trick or treating.

    That’s why I thought maybe sugar candy, union made in America with mostly domestic ingredients (sugar and peanuts) and possibly all natural might be a more affordable way for households to participate without compromise. But as elsa pointed out, finding the trifecta of ingredients/price/ethics is tough.

    Comment by Cybele on 11/01/11 at 10:53 am #
  13. Sugar candy is a great way to go, absolutely. And I laughed when I read your point about candy melting because it’s in the 80s in LA—we just had a massive snowstorm and cold front here in the Northeast, so we’ve got the opposite problem!

    I still think that the fairly traded chocolate bite-size candies are also an appropriate and affordable option—many of them only cost cents a piece.

    It’s a bummer that the peanut butter, peppermint, and caramel cups cost $1.50-$2 and come in packages of multiples. Hopefully as these companies grow, they will move to offer different packaging options for the holidays.

    Comment by Carla on 11/01/11 at 11:26 am #
  14. I prefer non-chocolate candy anyway. When I was a kid, I always used to get a bazillion pieces of the standard candy. Hershey’s, Kit Kat Bars, Snickers, Reeses… But those almost never got eaten by me. I would search for the fruit flavored candy and gummies and unusual candies and then the rest would sit around until my parents got bored of looking at it and pitched it. About the only candy bar that I ever bothered eating was the Crunch bar.

    Comment by Rita on 11/01/11 at 12:31 pm #
  15. Thanks for this post—I had no idea that much candy was made in the USA (although we live not too far from Farrera Pan and Brach’s used to have a factory near us as well). We had pouches of fruit snacks but no trick or treaters. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people in our neighborhood gave out non-chocolate, including packets of pretzels. I don’t know if they were boycotting chocolate, or candy in general, or what but it’s nice. smile

    Comment by Brigid Barjaktarevic on 11/01/11 at 12:38 pm #
  16. You’ll buy Hersheys, Nestle, and Mars chocolate any other day of the year but decide to take a stand on Halloween?  It’s thoughtful, I suppose, but wouldn’t it make even more sense to boycott the brands all the time if you feel *that* strongly about it?

    Comment by Tia on 11/01/11 at 6:43 pm #
  17. Cybele's avatar

    Tia - for the blog, which is a kind of research project, I try to feature everything. But when it comes to what I’ll buy for personal consumption or give out, yeah, I have different standards.

    I’m not saying I’m consistent. But I made a challenge to myself and I shared that process with the readers.

    Comment by Cybele on 11/01/11 at 7:07 pm #
  18. I applaud you, Brad, for being so proud of being the smug jerk you are!

    And to Cybele, I extend sincere thanks for your consideration in the candies you chose to pass out, rather than embracing ignorance. It has made my day just a little better.

    Comment by Evelyn on 11/04/11 at 12:19 am #
  19. I just want to thank you and tell you this has had a lasting impact on me and that I come back to it every year,

    Comment by CelIa on 10/02/16 at 3:53 pm #
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