Halloween is almost here, and while most kids are daydreaming about their candy haul, the landscape looks a lot different for plant-based kiddos. It’s likely a lot of houses won’t be offering up vegan treats — much less Fair Trade options.
Enter Humane Halloween, a campaign designed to spread the word about vegan eating and ethically-produced products. By handing out quick info cards and delicious vegan treats, plant-based eaters can help spread Halloween happiness — versus horror (because those Snickers bars = suffering).
“I am a parent of a vegan child who loves Halloween and I knew that there are other families like ours that want to participate in some of these holidays but without the negatives: animal exploitation and cruelty,” explains Marla Rose, the woman behind Humane Halloween and co-founder of Vegan Street and Chicago VeganMania.
Rose and her family were also inspired by Equal Exchange’s Reverse Trick-or-Treat program, designed to raise awareness about slavery chocolate. Basically, trick-or-treaters give a treat back to the houses they visit — fair trade chocolate, along with an informational brochure. Rose’s family participated in the program, and in 2013, decided to expand it to vegan offerings.
Basically, here’s how people can participate in Humane Halloween:
1. Print out cute cards that offer a quick lesson on cruelty-free, Fair Trade eating.
2. Tape a vegan treat to the back.
3. Give door-to-door on Halloween, or hand ’em out to trick-or-treaters.
“Halloween in particular is so appealing because it’s so much fun and there is so much room for creativity,” says Rose. “Vegan children can feel kind of isolated and I think we need to be supporting them by creating a spirit of fun, abundance, participation and creativity around our vegan values. Our messaging should not be one of denial or isolation if we want happy vegan kids who are great ambassadors.”
The Humane Halloween campaign even has its own Facebook group, where people can share thoughts and ideas. Rose hopes to see the concept grow, and eventually expand into every neighborhood.
So given her extensive experience, what candies does she recommend?
“I’m particularly partial to Fair Trade mini-chocolates because they come in a good size to fit on a card, they’re delicious and you can educate on two issues at once (Fair Trade and veganism). I love Sjaak’s, Equal Exchange [linked to above] and just about any vegan company listed on the Food Empowerment Project chocolate list. Aside from chocolate, don’t forget about Smartie’s, which is run by the third generation of a family, including a daughter who is an ethical vegan.”
People tend to appreciate the gesture, says Rose.
“I know from my own vantage point as a mom who trick-or-treats with my son, people are always delighted to get our little gift back when we go door-to-door. It’s novel and memorable.”
Here’s to winning hearts and minds on Halloween — and leaving the horror to Hollywood.