Halloween - How bitter-sweet it can be...

Last week, I shared with you all about how we are re-thinking Halloween around here.  I wasn't worried about finding a costume for Hudson, but now all I have to do is decide between the three super-cute (and gently used) Halloween costumes that were given to us. Sweet! Thanks Cindy, Dan, and Rosemary for sharing the Halloween love!


So, that leads us to our next Halloween re-thinking:

Candy and The Bitter side of Chocolate

Those of you who read our family's first blog know that I have written about chocolate before and that  a little over a year ago our family started making some changes and embraced what we affectionately (and sometimes not so affectionately) call the Chocolate Challenge. I will actually be sharing more about my personal experiences with this later this week in my Confessions of a Chocolate Craving Activist. But today I am  going to just stick to the facts. It is no coincidence that I am sharing this post today, as it is actually National Blog Action Day and this year's theme is Human Rights.

You may be asking what do Halloween, Chocolate, and Human Rights have to do with each other? Well, let's find out...

The National Confectioners Association reports that Americans will buy more than 600 million pounds of candy this year for Halloween (about $2.4 billion).  The most popular Halloween candies contain chocolate.  Even though chocolate tastes so good going down, the production and harvesting of cocoa beans is not nearly as sweet, as you'll gather from some of the stats below.

 Most Chocolate is a product of child labor.

Photo from MindThis

~ West Africa produces around  75% of the world’s cocoa.

~ UNICEF estimates that nearly a half-million children work on farms across Ivory Coast.

~ According to the British Broadcasting Company hundreds of thousands of  these children are purchased or stolen from their parents by traffickers and brought to work as slaves in the cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast.

~ The International Labor Rights Forum, reports that these child slaves will endure hard manual labour, averaging about 80-100 hours of work per week.

"Cote d’Ivoire’s child laborers are robbed not only of their freedom but of the right to a basic education."

- International Labor Rights Forum

chocolate_slavery_main Urgh. The facts really are heart wrenching. If you have 45 minutes watch this documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vfbv6hNeng#action=share Beginning in 2001 there have been several national and international efforts to try to stop the use of child labor and slavery in the cocoa production but due to the scope of the problem and the complexity of implementation and regulation, these efforts have not seen much success and the problem persists. But that doesn't mean that we have to be part of the problem.  As consumers we have power and we can be part of the solution. We have the power to say - "Sorry Hershey,  but as long as you support child slavery we don't support you!"  Sooner or later they will start to listen.

So this Halloween we will be putting our money where our hearts are and only buying and consuming chocolates from companies that are selling ethically made chocolate.

Here are some examples of the awesome products available:

Halloween Treats

1 Mama Ganache Chocolate 2 Equal Exchange Halloween Kit 3 Divine Dark Chocolate 4 Endangered Species Chocolate 5 Newman's Own Chocolate 6 Sjaak's Halloween Bite Bag I will be the first to admit that the consumption part will be easier for us as H has never been Trick or Treating and doesn't know what he will be missing (but I will - oh how I love Twix bars!).  However, I am pretty sure that whatever Halloween activity we decide to take part in there will chocolate treats all around.  To help resist the temptation, I will definitely be bringing my chocolate treats with me! If you want for more information on chocolate, check out these links - CNN -The Freedom Project ,   Simple Mom - Chocolate - The Industry's hidden Truth, Food Empowerment Project - Chocolate,  World Cocoa Foundation,

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