Reverse trick-or-treating: Get off my porch or thanks for the info?

This year for Halloween Annie and I sat on our front porch wearing masks. We stared straight ahead and didn’t move. (You’ve never seen a fiercer pregnant goblin than Annie, trust me.) Anyhow, we had a big ol’ dish of candy between us and we were enjoying the holiday, discussing how next year we’d have a little demon to dress up. More than one kid hesitated before approaching us. Some, in fact, skipped our house altogether, leaving more candy for us. Still, most came and took a couple of handfuls.

The evening was a success.

A couple of days later while making my internet rounds, I came across this post about fair trade chocolate. A lot of cocoa comes from Africa and is processed in less than great conditions. As someone who recently started to pay close attention to this kind of thing, I was thankful for the knowledge. But I wasn’t sure how I felt about the movement to spread it – reverse trick-or-treating.

When you reverse t-o-t instead of getting candy, you pass out fair trade chocolate, a flier about it, and give a little talk about why it’s important. This sounds simple enough, but I thought about Annie and I sitting on our porch, enjoying the holiday. What if a little Yoda came up to us, told us our Kit Kats were supporting slave-like conditions in the cocoa industry, did not accept our candy, and handed us a piece of free trade chocolate?

I suppose we’d be more open than most people to this, but I’m not sure we wouldn’t have been a little put off by the lecture. Such movements need to be a little more socially practical and a little less holier than thou.

Any thoughts?

Add a comment
Eva says:

Hmm, yeah, I see what they’re going for but holidays aren’t necessarily the best time for lectures. Especially not on-the-spot ones. People loves their traditions – they might do better having *grown-ups* (because using kids is always a pretty clear guilt trip) try to hand out info outside the stores where the bad chocolate is being sold in the first place.

I remember this kid Victor in my second-grade class, his dad was a dentist. Used to hand out dental floss and travel-size toothpaste on Halloween. Victor got beat up at school a lot.

Kelsey says:


Victor deserved to get beat up, the poor bastard! He didn’t have a chance. What is Victor doing now?

Eva says:

Kelsey, I haven’t heard from Victor since he went to the hospital after a punch to the junk on his birthday one year.

Hopefully, wherever he is, he’s got a good therapist.

Kelsey says:

Are you serious? A punch to the junk and a trip to the hospital? Man going to a school like, you must be pretty tough.

Eva says:

It was pretty quiet, actually, other than that. I guess the dental floss really riled kids up.

Let your voice be heard!