Thursday is Halloween, and in most parts of Wallingford, that means hoards of trick-or-treaters sweeping up and down your steps to collect their goodies. Time to stock up!
If you haven’t already bought your goodies, I’d like to delicately suggest this article on Cocoa’s child laborers to you. If you can’t make it past the Washington Post’s paywall, I’ll summarize: despite pledges made almost two decades ago, Mars, Nestlé and Hershey still buy the cocoa for their chocolate from farms that use child labor.
One reason is that nearly 20 years after pledging to eradicate child labor, chocolate companies still cannot identify the farms where all their cocoa comes from, let alone whether child labor was used in producing it. Mars, maker of M&M’s and Milky Way, can trace only 24 percent of its cocoa back to farms; Hershey, the maker of Kisses and Reese’s, less than half; Nestlé can trace 49 percent of its global cocoa supply to farms.
“How old are you?” a Washington Post reporter asks one of the older-looking boys.
“Nineteen,” Abou Traore says in a hushed voice. Under Ivory Coast’s labor laws, that would make him legal. But as he talks, he casts nervous glances at the farmer who is overseeing his work from several steps away. When the farmer is distracted, Abou crouches and with his finger, writes a different answer in the gray sand: 15.
Then, to make sure he is understood, he also flashes 15 with his hands. He says, eventually, that he’s been working the cocoa farms in Ivory Coast since he was 10. The other four boys say they are young, too — one says he is 15, two are 14 and another, 13.
Abou says his back hurts, and he’s hungry.
“I came here to go to school,” Abou says. “I haven’t been to school for five years now.”
Crap, that doesn’t seem like it’s in the Halloween spirit.
Fortunately, there are a number of candy makers that produce their yummies with socially conscious practices. SlaveFreeChocolate.org has an extensive list of chocolatiers that only use ethically grown cocoa, and The Good Trade has a list of 10 Fair Trade Chocolate Companies For Your Conscious Cravings. Fremont’s own Theo Chocolate, which features a Halloween Treats selection, figures in that list
If spending $19 on a 12-pack of 1 oz Theo candy bars to hand away to already sugar ravaged toddlers doesn’t sound like wise spend, YumEarth sells bags of organic hard candy, or you could choose to go with Native Honey Sticks, made with nothing but 100% pure, United States wildflower honey. If you want to stick with chocolate, Tony’s Chocolonely Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel comes in individually wrapped, bite-sized pieces. Amazon will deliver to Prime customers with free delivery for you procrastinators (one-day for the first two, the third may take a couple days, but can also be picked up at Whole Goods.)
As long as I’m getting preachy about what candy you hand out, I may as well mention the Teal Pumpkin project, which suggests a list of non-food treats that may help the swelling cohort of kids with food allergies feel more included. We’ve given away super balls for the last seven or eight years, and I haven’t heard a complaint yet.