I freaking love Halloween.
When I was a kid, it was a lot of fun- last minute homemade costumes, the neighborhood party at our house with bobbing for apples and “eat the donut off the string.”
Watching my dad carve our jack-o-lanterns to our specifications – sometimes using pumpkins we grew ourselves. Trick or Treating in New England autumn in a nice safe neighborhood (give or take that one time my brother got mugged for his candy, but…). It was great.
I still love Halloween. The atmosphere, the candy, the jackolanterns. I love the idea of kids going around to their neighbors and getting candy just because they’re kids. It’s a great community thing, your block, your church (even if the call it something other than Halloween), the local businesses. I even remember kids trick or treating on campus at PC. The kids lucked out one year because I was so late getting candy, I ended up buying a case of real size bars at the bookstore or something.
But sometimes, these days,I think of Halloween and our major food holidays from a slightly different perspective. I see all the candy in the stores left over. Why is so much extra made to begin with? Is this a good use of food? Or our money? Is it wasteful? And actually, there were tons of pumpkins left over too. I was picking out my pumpkins and thinking “Man, people could probably eat these for weeks.” But they won’t. They’ll probably just rot.
BUT, I don’t mean to be a killjoy over Halloween. I think instead it’s a time to have even more perspective. How can I turn these questions into something proactive. Well, maybe instead of just spending money on stuff I want but don’t need – candy for the kids, the $15 I just spent on tiny pumpkins (they’re so cute) – I can make a matching donation to a food charity. Maybe I can buy up some leftover candy and ship it to soliders overseas in care packages (the lollipops or the gum, not the chocolate; it melts) or send it to a food bank or save it and freeze it and use it later. Maybe I can put little notes on the candy with the website address for unicef. Maybe I can look up some pumpkin pie recipes and save a few pumpkins.
In other words, stop whining, start doing!
Speaking of doing something, how awesome is this:
I was all set to write a Halloween entry about how the chocolate industry is unsavory. The big companies like Mars and Nestle and Cadbury don’t pay African farmers , particularly in western Africa a fair wage and worse- they buy from farms that use child laborers trafficked in from different places to do the harvesting.
This has been one of those (many) things I have only a surface level knowledge about, but I always think of it on all the major candy holidays. Not that it’s kept me from eating chocolate…Well, thankfully, some people did do something about it. And the pressure was significant enough that Cadbury, one of the major chocolate companies in the world, has gone “Fair Trade”! This made me almost cry it was so cool. Basically, this guaruntees that farmers will get a fair price and the labor will be monitored. This is a video on it here.
This is a huge step. Encourage Cadbury to make their American chocolate fair trade, too! Right now it’s just in the UK. Buy those cream eggs!
And here it is – your moment of twin: