Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Somehow, the good people at Grandin Road decided I was a likely prospect to purchase items such as a $200 inflatable haunted house to go on our lawn, and so they sent me a catalog.

We don't have a lawn.  We have a sidewalk in front of our rowhouse.

Anyway, while I'm not about to buy something so dramatic - where we interested in decorating, it would be all cardboard cut-out tombstones and $5 worth of reusable cobweb - it did make me think that we haven't wrestled with what to do about my favorite holiday of the year.

Since I've been reading Diane's Big Green Purse, I'm well aware of the problems presented by major chocolate manufacturers.  In brief, beyond the obvious packaging, there's the real environmental impact of deforestation and the problems of child labor on cocoa farms.

All of a sudden, I can live without my Reese's peanut butter cups, thanks.

But what do I do about Trick'or'Treat?  Veggie Mom, my neighbor who tends to be so health-obsessed I fear her boy is going to rebel by sneaking out to McDonald's as a teenager, opts for pretzel packs.  I considered hitting Whole Foods to see if I could find fair trade organic chocolate in single-servings, but that clashes with my cheap gene.

The drugstore has bouncy balls that look like eyes and plastic spider rings - but is that stuff any higher up on the moral ladder than snack-sized Snickers?  After all, betcha those gew gaws were all Made in China under, ahem scrupulously monitored working conditions.

I've got a few weeks to wrestle with this one, but it does feel like there's no truly green way out, other than skipping the holiday entirely.  

And that is just NOT an option.


Rodney North said...


One thing that might help you cope with Halloween decisions is to check out

This is a grassroots education campaign created by the human rights group Global Exchange and the Fair Trade organization Equal Exchange (where I work).

It won't necessarily solve your "what to hand out" question, but I'm confident you'll find it interesting.

Fern Greene said...

Thanks, Rodney - that is SUCH a cool idea.

I read over the materials - since Freddie is not quite four, I don't think he'll cover enough ground to be a good participant. But we're keeping this in mind for future years and I'm mentioning this to all the parents I know with kids who actually will cover more than a block.

And I'll be back to your gift shop for the holidays!